This is the second post in a series on blog writing. These posts are based on ideas from a great little book called The Elements of Business Writing, by Gary Blake & Robert Bly. Iâ€™ve taken some of these ideas about business writing and adapted them for blogging with my own spin.
Avoid Hedging Words
“In my opinion…” “I think…” “Probably…”
“Likely…” “Practically…” “Hopefully…”
“As I understand it…”
These are hedging words and phrases that suck all the authority and confidence from your writing. Other than separating fact from opinion, avoid them. Hedging makes your writing seem dishonest, as though you can’t fully commit to what you’re saying. Hedging does not inspire trust. Note the difference between this:
You should probably learn about SEO and possibly social media to somewhat succeed as a blogger.
Learn SEO and social media to succeed as a blogger.
You Can’t Have it Both Ways
You cannot expect to be viewed as an authority on a subject if you try to take back what you’re saying as you say it. The effects of hedging language are subtly devastating to the response of your readers to your writing–if you can grow much of an audience in the first place writing like that.
The problem is we do this instinctively, because we don’t like to be called out for being wrong. We don’t want to be blamed for being incorrect. If you want to succeed in blogging, you have to be willing to put your head on the chopping block. You have to be willing to be wrong.
Before you hit that Publish button, go back over your posts and remove these hedging words. Stand by your own words and let them speak for you in an authoritative, confident voice.
The next post in the series is: Donâ€™t Get Mad, Get Persuasive. If you donâ€™t want to miss it, youâ€™d better subscribe!