I wrote a book for writers called From Reads To Leads. It teaches you how to write great content. For content to be great, it needs to be engaging. To be engaging, it needs to be easy to read with ideas logically connected to one another. In this blog post, we’ll talk about how to improve your writing flow but make sure you also get the book for more insights. It's available on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and Yakaboo (if you live in Ukraine).
Flow and сohesion are about how you communicate ideas and the relationships between them. Building a clear, logical flow in writing is about creating a sense of sequence in which one sentence relates to the next and one paragraph to another.
Sometimes, you might think that the relationships between your sentences are clear. But are you sure your readers can follow your logic? Look at this example:
Any product is created for the end-user. Whether users like or dislike something defines the success of an application. Before the release of a product or service, it must be tested to make sure there are no bugs.
Brrrr… did you get it? Let’s see what’s wrong with this.
How does the first sentence (Any product is created for the end-user) relate to the second (Whether users like or dislike something defines the success of an application)? The writer was probably trying to say that if a product is created for end-users, it means the end users are supposed to like it. If they do, the product becomes successful. This logic, however, isn’t clear.
In the same paragraph, what is the logical connection between what users like and dislike in an application and the necessity of testing that application?
Whether users like or dislike something defines the success of an application. Before the release of a product or service, it must be tested to make sure there are no bugs.
It seems like the argument is missing. Let’s rewrite this paragraph to make it flow better:
Any application is created for the end-user, which means the user experience is key to an app’s success. Before releasing an app, you want to make sure everything works properly and there are no bugs. If you don’t, the user experience will suffer.
The user experience is the core idea that connects the point about an application being created for the end-user with the point about an app’s success and testing an app, and it helps the reader arrive at a logical conclusion: testing is important.
Here are a few tips on how to improve your flow.
Many writers tend to go off on a tangent. In other words, they get lost. In trying to cover everything and make their piece useful and informative, they end up moving away to distant places that have nothing to do with the topic they're talking about or the argument they're trying to make. When a writer goes astray, so does the reader.
Each piece of content should have a single clear idea. Everything else that’s running away from the main point is working against the text. It makes your writing cluttered and causes your readers to get lost trying to figure out what’s going on.
In content marketing, almost everything you write should persuade readers to think a certain way. To persuade, you need to include logical arguments. Very few writers can build persuasive arguments, mostly because they don't really understand what an argument is.
An argument consists of 3 elements: a set of claims, a conclusion, and reasons to believe that your claims are true. The Conclusion is the main claim in your argument. Words that often precede the conclusion include:
Other claims or premises supported by evidence are often indicated by these words:
To sum up, your argument should contain a conclusion, premises, and reasons to believe. And you need to present all that in a connected logical order.
Because, for example, let me explain why, and now comes the best part, not only that, to clarify – transition words help create a sense of continuity in your writing. They help you build a bridge between two sentences or paragraphs and encourage readers to read on.
I’ve created a list of transition words to help you out when you’re stuck, make sure you check them out.
To improve the flow of ideas, start your draft by outlining how your paragraphs relate to one another. As you’re working on your flow in the outline, ask yourself the following questions:
1. What is the purpose or main idea that I want to get across in a specific paragraph?
In this paragraph, I will discuss…
2. How does this paragraph relate to the one that comes immediately after?
In the previous paragraph, I discuss [purpose of paragraph 1]. This helps you better understand [purpose of paragraph 2] because...
3. What does this paragraph or idea have to do with the main purpose or argument of the article?
This paragraph supports my argument because...
4. Am I trying to help readers make a connection to something I said earlier in my article?
While I discussed [previous idea or concept] above, I will now talk about [new idea or concept] because...
This is a conscious approach to writing. And once you start thinking this way, your writing will become easy to read and easy to comprehend.
Watch it instead:
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Go to my website, click on Exercises in the menu and scroll down to Exercise 16: Improve the flow of ideas. Click on this exercise. You need to rewrite the following paragraph to improve the flow:
Booking a table at a restaurant can be a painful experience. Restaurant managers accept calls about reservations and cancel orders. Usually, this approach to table reservations doesn’t allow a manager to see how busy the night will be. There will either be numerous open tables or scheduling overlaps. With a restaurant reservation app, such misfortunes can be successfully avoided.
Write your answer in the comments sections.
Whether you're writing about current fashion trends or why every company needs to develop cross-functional capabilities, every article exists to put across a certain point. In other words, a good piece of content always makes an argument.
We try our best...We have highly qualified experts... We understand your business...We are small and flexible...We are global... And how many "We" do you have on your website? Read on to learn why self-centered copy ruins your marketing and how to write customer-centric copy that does the opposite.
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