We’ve been having a little fun this week at Davis & Company by posting silly lists all around our office. It’s hard to tell how it started—perhaps when someone posted a list of Disney princesses (Belle, Ariel, Rapunzel . . .)—but next thing we knew, there were dozens of lists taped up everywhere. My favorites include:
- New England Patriots, Sam Smith, Brian Williams (cheaters!)
- To do, grocery, bucket, check, naughty or nice, black (types of list)
- Avocados, cilantro, lime, red onion, garlic . . . (guacamole ingredients)
- Stop thief, Trouble, Sorry, Perfection, Simon . . . (games)
- Babbling brook, bird calls, breeze through trees, crunch of dirt road . . . (sounds of hiking)
- David Yurman, Ippolita, Stephen Dweck, Judith Ripka . . . (jewelry designers)
You might be inspired to create a few lists of your own, but that’s not my main reason for sharing this with you. If you’re looking for a way to make newsletters and intranet home pages more appealing to employees, I recommend you begin by making your content less flabby and more fun.
Stop writing long narrative paragraphs and instead chunk your content into easily digestible snacks. There are lots of ways to do so—including numbered or bulleted lists, sidebars, callouts, charts and tables—and you obviously need to choose the technique that best fits your content.
The idea is to make content more approachable, so employees aren’t put off by the prospect of doing a lot of reading. Instead, they see instantly they can easily skim the piece to absorb the information they need.
Need to lighten up content? Here’s your to-do list:
- Eliminate long sentences
- Make paragraphs short and skinny
- Chunk content into numbered or bulleted lists
- Use subheads to break up copy and summarize sections
- Segment supportive copy into sidebars or calllouts
- Cut the number of words (see how low you can go)