Simplicity vs Complexity: How to Hit the Right Note With Your Content

 

It’s the eternal battle, far more iconic than Superman vs Batman: do you simplify your content or not? Current trends veer towards minimalism, and yet, is there a risk in keeping things too bland, too safe, too simple, that you are… well, not saying much at all of value really?

Why minimalism isn’t the only option

Talk to many a marketing and sales guru about your copy and you will witness an exercise in incision. Take my blog title for example:

“Simplicity vs Complexity: How to Hit the Right Note With Your Content”

In their hands it’d become “Hit the Right Note”, likely with the picture of someone playing the piano accompanying it (here’s one I prepared earlier):

The positives of that reduction are:

  • It’s punchy and grabs attention
  • It’s something you can build a brand around (music-themed titles, posts, images, etc)

The negatives are:

  • It’s vague. What notes? Why are we hitting anything? How are we hitting them?
  • It’s going to do sod all when it comes to SEO
  • It sounds like about 50 million other people’s content

I’m not saying that my title is perfect by any means, it kinda mixes metaphors which is a cardinal sin, but at least you get an idea of what my blog will be about from it.

My example above might be a blog title, but it applies to all sorts of content. If you leave a landing page without a clue what that company does other than “Synergy”, then that company has failed.

You might be able to get away with this as a B2C company if your product is self-explanatory with a visual alone. However, according to Forrester, 90% of B2B buyers start their B2B purchases with search – you need to balance minimalism with easy access to further information.

90% of B2B buyers start their B2B purchases with search – you need to balance minimalism with easy access to further information Click To Tweet

Simplicity with a dash of personality?

As Ann Hadley famously said, “No one will complain that you made something too simple to understand”.

Tools like the Hemingway App are popular when it comes to highlighting which sentences are too long and too complex. It eradicates the passive voice, culls adverbs, and looks upon your adjectives sternly.

So many B2B blogs and articles tend to be dense creatures that this can only be great, right?

Yes, and no.

Yes, many pieces of writing can benefit from being simplified. The whole point of creating any kind of content is to communicate, and for this, you need to be understood.

The whole point of creating any kind of content is to communicate, and for this, you need to be understood. Click To Tweet

However, as always, don’t let this go to an extreme. Keep some of your salt and pepper handy to sprinkle on your piece.

Why?

It adds personality and interest to your piece. If you are trying to create content regularly and build a community around it then bland content, however practical, will make that process harder.

It’s ok to:

  • give a topic your unique twist
  • to sprinkle your copy with unusual adjectives
  • to use humour
  • to break the rules sometimes and create long lush sentences

Next time you find yourself wondering if your piece is clear enough, follow these steps:

  1. Write a piece of content full of personality
  2. Paste it into Hemingway App
  3. Heed half of its suggestions

Simple, right?

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Claire Trevien

B2B Content Marketer
Freelance B2B Content Marketer and Multimedia Poet. If you want me to geek out, ask me about digital tools and writing prompts!

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