October 2, 2014

How to Make Your Online Content “Twang” with Mark Twain

With so much content being published on a daily basis, it’s no wonder that content creators and marketers are always looking for ways to make their online content twang. Not the annoying type of twang, though. Think more along the lines of a guitar – content that resonates and sticks with you like a good, catchy song.

Though he never wrote for the Internet, Mark Twain’s writings have the twang of Southern charm and timelessness. Ask anyone what the Great American Novel is and I bet they’re going to answer “Adventures of Huckleberry Finn” by Mark Twain.

Collective wit and power is what made Twain’s writing so memorable. By incorporating some of his techniques into your content creation, you’ll be on your way to making your content resonate with readers.

Mark Twain suggests, “The time to begin writing an article is when you have finished it to your satisfaction. By that time you begin to clearly and logically perceive what it is that you really want to say.”

In other words, sometimes it takes you writing a piece to completion before you realize the point or meat of it. Once you know your point, you can revise the piece to focus on that point clearly from the get-go. Keep in mind that revision doesn’t mean that you have to re-write the whole thing. Some online content needs to be tweaked while other content will require a total over-haul. Either way, you won’t know until you’ve “finished.”

“I don’t have time to write a short letter, so I wrote a long one instead.”

When writing online content, it can be tempting to keyword stuff or focus on SEO practices. However, focusing on true value and meaning for your readers is what will make your content successful – and oftentimes shorter. Practicing good word economy is difficult. It’s easier to write 400 words of fluff than 200 words of meaningful content, but the latter is what drives subscriptions and repeat readers. And that’s what we all want.

“To get the right word in the right place is a rare achievement…Anybody can have ideas – the difficulty is to express them without squandering a quire of paper on an idea that ought to be reduced to one glittering paragraph.”

Mark Twain is absolutely right on this. Remember, the Internet is shifting toward short form online content, folks. Writing that is clean and crisp is much more effective. It also gives your brand a distinguished voice that readers will appreciate. Better yet, instead of a “glittering paragraph,” glittering one-liners make incredible social media fodder.

By taking Mark Twain’s advice into account, online content creators will have a better shot at garnering a loyal online readership. Tweak your online content like Twain.

online content

9 Comments ▼

Amie Marse


Amie Marse Amie Marse is the founder of Content Equals Money, a small content generation firm based in Lexington, KY. She’s been a passionate freelance writer turned business owner for over 7 years. Her philosophy is that the essentials of content marketing do not change from the small business to the Fortune 500 level, and that creativity trumps budget every time.

9 Reactions

  1. Any post littered with Mark Twain quotes is a great one in my eyes. And “I don’t have time to write a short letter, so I wrote a long one instead.” is very true.

  2. With PPC ads, where you have very limited character counts, word economy is very important. I can’t count how many times I’ve had to rework a line over and over again so it is less than 35 characters of text.

  3. He also said, “Regarding the adjective: when in doubt, strike it out.” Or something like that. I am breaking his rules, above, by paraphrasing him. Such is the lightning bug.

  4. Keith Gilstrap

    Many of our aspiring youth have the brains and the tools – but not the “raisins” to embark on the adventure of literary genius. I hope that some of them slow down to look back up the river and follow Twain’s trail.

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