When writing it is so tempting to want to add more, but there are times when this is completely the wrong thing to do. People are busy. I’m sure you are. Do you really want your audience to disengage early on and skim through your text, missing most of the key details? Of course not.
People are reading what you write for a reason, usually because you are answering a question or solving a problem for them – so get on with it. Consider a few of the most basic questions we are asked all the time – What? Where? When? How easy is it to answer these? Just change the first letter – That! There! Then!
Putting yourself in the shoes of your audience is vital here, you know what you are trying to say, go through your text and check that your message comes across. Anticipate the questions that people will ask and answer them in your text – don’t make them do any additional work.
So, if you are drafting a press release the first paragraph needs to cover what you are doing, or have done, why, when and where. Spell it out, but briefly. Add more detail after, but hook people right from the off by letting them know exactly what you are going to talk to them about.
If you are raising money for charity by doing something outrageous make sure you tell people how to donate or get involved if your story has inspired them. Sharing details of an event? Make it as easy as possible for people to attend, let them know how to get there, what facilities there are, how accessible the building is – those little details you assume everyone knows and don’t include could well make the difference between people choosing to come or deciding to stay at home.
In short, be direct. Get straight to the point, if you have the solution to their problem don’t leave them wading through waffle – tell them exactly how to solve it.