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How to Turn Bland Text into Sparkling Online Content

You’re smart. You know your stuff. And you have a sparkle in your eyes when you talk about your favorite subject.

But your writing doesn’t sound like you. At all.

No matter how hard you try, you struggle to find the right words.

You swap one word for another — now your sentence sounds lame. You try yet another word.

That’s even worse.

You’re not a boring old fogie, so why do dull sentences sneak into your content?

It may seem difficult to write content that’s engaging and seductive. But it really doesn’t need to be so hard.

In tomorrow's post +Henneke Duistermaat will show you how to turn your boring yawn posts into sparkling content. 

Update: The post is now live:
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These are great tips. Always important to remember to keep it simple, interesting, readable, and engaging. I really like the idea of thinking about choosing words that "help paint a vivid picture" and turning text into "vibrant and energetic" content. 
excellent points, especially on the vocabulary.  I get in trouble here a lot with my cavalier wordsmithing ;)
is this aimed at writers writing or business owners writing?
+Marla Miller I think +Henneke Duistermaat would agree that it's aimed at both. 

It's easy to see how it's aimed for "writers writing" because we think of "writers" as using sparkling language anyway.

But there is no reason for a business owner's writing to be full of "corporatese" and devoid of personality or the tone of conversation. The key is to learn how to write about topics that may seem staid or bland in a way that actually engages people. And it presents a great opportunity because people expect corporate or business websites to be bland ... so when you flip those expectations, people take notice.
Yes, +Marla Miller, I agree with +Jerod Morris. The web is full of bland content written by writers, marketers, and business owners. We can all improve our our writing, make our voice more dynamic, engage our readers, and become more persuasive.
"And never address your friend as part of a crowd — because she hates that" - excellent advice! Avatars are just that, but they're not people - unless you really-really did your market/niche research. (PS. ref the "Journalism/Journalist" G+conversation following Demian's post yesterday). Also, I'd say don't go - or don't try to go - from bland to super-duper sparkle in one day. Instead invest 15 minutes a day (on a bland piece) and, if my experience is anything to go by, one day, KABLOOIE! But I'm getting into how the subconscious works, so let me stop right here. Great post, thank you & have a great day.
Beat, I so agree. I started reading Copyblogger last year. Now I notice the writing in the articles I read as well as the content. New words and phrases are showing up in my writing. Progress!
Good advice. I try to read my piece out loud after I write it & get rid of anything that sounds like a straight jacket.
I struggle with this - the detailed info that I think they need without being too dry and long winded. Going to try the tips, thanks!
Picture words. . .and sparkling content. 
Reading Ann Voskamp's words I saw the sparkle! 
 "The haunting "C" word, the one with the gluttonous belly and serrated teeth and the voracious appetite to divide and dominate.  Cancer.  It's a slam to the gut.  I green."  From One Thousand Gifts
A word with serrated teeth.  

I read my last post and it's like Baby food--- bland and homogeneous.
Just what the Internet needs, another lazy blogger who can't be bothered by nuance and tone.
My daughter tells the kids,  "use your words!!!"
Aiming for better words.
Needed this reminder not to settle for less.
Talk about coincidences! Fantastic blog post, thank you! Last night I read an article in a trade magazine that left me utterly exhausted and a bit cranky. Well ok, more than a bit cranky, I was quite disgusted really. It was a fine example of what not to do, based on the advice you shared with us.

The title grabbed me and I was really looking forward to reading the article. The very first sentence stumped me however, with a misspelled word. It went down hill from there. It was a long-winded and pompous piece of writing, every sentence filled with Latin jargon, which took great effort to absorb. It left me feeing un-inspired and frankly, quite cranky. I imagined this author was so intent on impressing the reader with sophisticated language, I could just see her sitting there with a thesaurus and converting any word that appeared plain, to a longer and more impressive word.

It made me feel angry, and at first I could not understand why. On reflection, I felt the writing style was disrespectful, I felt I was being talked at, rather than talked to. If I could not keep up with the terminology, then I was not as educated or sophisticated as the author.

The irony is, I learned nothing new from this article, common knowledge was re-written in an academic tone to make it appear more impressive, to promote the brand. In the end, it made me feel like the author was lacking confidence in her abilities as she was trying so desperately to impress with her fine words. 
+Jana Elston Yep, I'm with you. I once read that people who use erudite language sound less intelligent than people who use simple language. I've been trying to find that article again, but unfortunately haven't been able to. The reader is the hero, not the writer. :)
+Copyblogger [Demian] oooh, I see how this works. All my sadness from yesterday has been mitigated. Very slick call-to-action at the bottom of the post. I'm a HUGE Google Plus fan. So it's great to see my Copyblogger addiction meshing with The Plus.
+Henneke Duistermaat I knew it was you before I saw the byline! Your voice is always fresh and sparkling, just like your ideas & tips. And your entertaining ways should not obfuscate muddle the fact that you know your stuff. I keep telling everyone over in the +Authority Mastermind to buy your books. They are like the delightful crib-sheet version of all things Copyblogger & +Jon Morrow...only with CARTOONS! How cool is that? Best practices AND FUN! Thanks for all your hard work making business writing NOT be boring. 
+Copyblogger This was such a useful read! I'm sharing it with all of my colleagues. I edit a lot of copy and what I find is that contributors always try to make their writing sound more fancy with long winded sentences and inappropriate words that don't make sense. The sentiment of this piece is perfect! I read George Orwell's essay, Politics and the English Language, in my first term at university and it completely changed the way I write - 'never use a long word when a short word will do' is my mantra!  
I really loved this piece. Found the tips in it very useful. Personally I love writing with short sentences. I feel readers easily drift off when sentences are too long. As a law student, we were discouraged from using big words when simpler words would convey what we are trying to say better. That has really helped me as a content writer.  I'm going to play around with mixing the length of my sentences though. Thank you once again!
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