Communicate clearly when you cut the word clutter

By
Services for Real Estate Pros with Marte Cliff Copywriting

For powerful marketing messages: Cut the Word Clutterscissors cut unnecessary words

You cut the clutter in your home and office for efficiency's sake. Do the same for your marketing messages.

The reason for writing is communication, and clutter, like a misused word, is its enemy.

So what is word clutter?

It's rambling, repetition, and the most common – unnecessary words and redundancies. Most of us are guilty of using both.

Unnecessary words include:
that
("That" is a word that you can often do without. Change to: "That" is a word you can often do without.)

just
(We're just waiting for… Change to: We're waiting for…

of the
(One of the easy methods of… Change to: One easy method of…)

These are words that add nothing but clutter. Removing them tightens the copy, gives you more clarity, and doesn't change the meaning. We all use them, but our messages would be more effective if we took time to find and remove them.

See… I did it myself, even while thinking about it. I first wrote "took the time." Do we need that "the?" Nope.

Redundancies:

These abound in both speech and writing. At the least they garble the message. At the worst they make the writer/speaker look silly. For instance, take this message machine statement: "I'm sorry, we're currently closed at the present time. Our office hours are…"

Redundant expressions are called pleonasms – a fact that I did not know until today. Websites list hundreds of examples.

Here's a sample from the About Education site, with redundant words in parentheses.  How many of these do YOU use?

  • 8 a.m. (in the morning)
  • (Twelve o'clock) noon
  • (Free) gift
  • (Roughly) estimated
  • (Pair of) twins
  • Surrounded (on all sides)
  • (Absolutely) necessary
  • Alternative (choice)
  • Cash (money)
  • (Completely) eliminate
  • (Current) incumbent
  • (Desirable) benefits
  • Estimated (at about)
  • (exact) same
  • (final) outcome
  • (favorable) approval
  • (joint) collaboration
  • Made (out) of

If you visit the About Education site you'll notice that a few of the expressions would not be redundant when used in the proper context.

"New construction," for instance. You and your clients know what that means. If you said you sold construction, some might think you wanted to work as a builder.

A caution: Don't edit while you write.

 

Trying to edit as you go along stifles creativity, so write first – edit second. Then proofread!

 

Image courtesy of digitalart at FreeDigitalPhotos.net
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Re-Blogged 1 time:

Re-Blogged By Re-Blogged At
  1. Praful Thakkar 08/27/2016 07:03 PM
Topic:
Real Estate Sales and Marketing
Groups:
Real Estate Rookie
EXPRESS WITH WORDS AT ACTIVERAIN
Addicted to Active Rain
Bananatude
Wordsmith
Tags:
real estate marketing
communication in real estate
real estate grammar

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Rainmaker
241,364
Christi Farrington
Dagny's Real Estate - Wilton, CT
~ Your representative in Fairfield County, CT

Marte, this is Awesome!!! Less is always More!  

What a terrific post! Bookmarked!! 

Thank you and have an awesome day!

Jun 17, 2015 08:53 AM #59
Rainmaker
1,532,032
Marte Cliff
Marte Cliff Copywriting - Priest River, ID
Your real estate writer

Thanks Christi Farrington I wish you an awesome day too!

Jun 17, 2015 09:13 AM #60
Rainmaker
1,431,210
Gene Riemenschneider
Home Point Real Estate - Brentwood, CA
Turning Houses into Homes

I am getting better at writing but I can be verbouse and know I make some of those mistakes.  A Pair of Twins would be 4 people. (or puppies or what ever!)

 

Jun 18, 2015 05:56 AM #61
Rainmaker
1,532,032
Marte Cliff
Marte Cliff Copywriting - Priest River, ID
Your real estate writer

Gene Riemenschneider You caught something I missed... yes a pair of twins would be 4, not 2.

Jun 18, 2015 06:07 AM #62
Rainmaker
1,059,812
Sharon Parisi
United Real Estate Dallas - Dallas, TX
Dallas Homes

Marte, your tips are always on target.  You have me rereading everything several times!

Jun 18, 2015 03:00 PM #63
Rainmaker
1,137,960
Joyce Marsh
Regal | Christie's International Real Estate - Orlando, FL
Regional Manager Regal Christie's Int'l Realty

Ok Marte Cliff Now I'm thinking, I need to go back and edit previous posts!  

Jun 18, 2015 07:32 PM #64
Rainer
16,125
Nurit Praeger
Nurit's Naturals - Briarcliff Manor, NY

Have you read "Elements of Style" by Strunk?

Jun 19, 2015 01:08 AM #65
Rainmaker
1,532,032
Marte Cliff
Marte Cliff Copywriting - Priest River, ID
Your real estate writer

Sharon Parisi Re-reading is a good thing!

Joyce Marsh Everything we write can be improved upon - but don't overdo it!

Nurit Praeger Yes, but not recently. I have a copy on one of these bookshelves that line my office. 

Jun 19, 2015 06:06 AM #66
Rainmaker
3,247,604
Lou Ludwig
Ludwig & Associates - Boca Raton, FL
Designations Earned CRB, CRS, CIPS, GRI, SRES, TRC

Marte

Your post is very informative . . . . and offers great information.

Good luck and success.

Lou Ludwig

Jun 19, 2015 12:26 PM #67
Rainmaker
1,532,032
Marte Cliff
Marte Cliff Copywriting - Priest River, ID
Your real estate writer

Thank you Lou Ludwig. I appreciate the goodwill. 

Much success to you as well. 

Jun 19, 2015 12:57 PM #68
Ambassador
2,299,090
Robert Vegas Bob Swetz
Realty ONE Group - Las Vegas, NV
Las Vegas Henderson Homes for Sale

Hello Marte ... "WOW" what a complex post full of big words 

Congrats on the feature and your post has also been featured to the group:

EXPRESS WITH WORDS AT ACTIVERAIN

Jun 20, 2015 06:36 AM #69
Rainmaker
1,532,032
Marte Cliff
Marte Cliff Copywriting - Priest River, ID
Your real estate writer

Robert (Vegas Bob) Swetz After I found that word: pleonasms, I tried to tell someone else that I'd learned a new word, but I already couldn't remember it! 

Thanks, as always for your support! 

Jun 20, 2015 07:17 AM #70
Ambassador
2,299,090
Robert Vegas Bob Swetz
Realty ONE Group - Las Vegas, NV
Las Vegas Henderson Homes for Sale

Your very welcome Marte and I have never heard that word ;o)

Jun 20, 2015 11:13 AM #71
Rainmaker
596,993
Claude Labbe
Real Living | At Home - Washington, DC
Realty for Your Busy Life

I've noticed that people speak to way.

At the end of the day, it is what it is, you know.

<gets my teeth grinding>

Jun 21, 2015 03:32 PM #72
Rainmaker
1,163,712
Jane Peters
Home Jane Realty - Los Angeles, CA
Los Angeles real estate concierge services

I love these, Marte. I cringe when I see some of these superfluous expressions, like 8:00 a.m. in the morning. But I am sometimes guilty. You have inspired me to pay attention.

Jun 26, 2015 05:27 AM #73
Rainmaker
1,532,032
Marte Cliff
Marte Cliff Copywriting - Priest River, ID
Your real estate writer

Robert (Vegas Bob) Swetz You never know what you'll find when you start searching on line!

Claude Labbe Sometimes it's a wonder that we have teeth left!

Jane Peters "8 a.m. in the morning" bothers me, but not as much as the neighbor who insists on saying "O eight hundred." I want to scream at him that he hasn't been in the military for 50 years, so knock it off! 

Jun 26, 2015 06:05 AM #74
Ambassador
3,085,237
Chris Ann Cleland
Long and Foster REALTORS®, Gainesville, VA - Bristow, VA
Associate Broker, Bristow, VA

I did this with an email the other night.  It started as a novel and ended as a succinct message.

Jun 26, 2015 08:37 AM #75
Rainmaker
1,532,032
Marte Cliff
Marte Cliff Copywriting - Priest River, ID
Your real estate writer

Chris Ann Cleland Perhaps Mark Twain was looking over your shoulder, guiding your efforts. 

Jun 26, 2015 08:57 AM #76
Rainmaker
1,670,876
Lise Howe
Keller Williams Capital Properties - Washington, DC
Assoc. Broker and Attorney Licensed in DC, MD, VA,

What a great post. Your words ring true for all posts and particularly true for marketing pieces like postcards which need to be short and sweet

Aug 27, 2016 08:51 PM #77
Rainmaker
1,532,032
Marte Cliff
Marte Cliff Copywriting - Priest River, ID
Your real estate writer

Yes Lise Howe -  the necessity for "short and sweet" is why it sometimes takes longer to write a postcard than a letter. I think it was Mark Twain who wrote to a friend and apologized for the long letter, saying he didn't have time to write a shorter one. 

Aug 28, 2016 01:12 AM #78
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