What do you advise to write texts

Workshop: writing good texts

In her first workshop, the speaker, Petra Lahnstein, devoted herself to the topic of “Writing good web texts”. However, we want to do without the small syllable "web" for now and only concentrate on good texts in general. Because: “Writing for online media is first and foremost: more than just writing!” You will find out exactly what makes good website texts in the next part, which is linked at the end of this article.

What basically makes a text a good text?

A good text is one that is read. That may sound banal or obvious at first glance. In concrete terms, however, this means that the text must captivate the reader and add value. Whether this added value is information or just entertainment depends on the type of text. However, there are some general criteria that apply to each of these types of text.

1. Comprehensibility

The top priority in writing an informative, good text is the so-called short and clear rule. Sentences of good texts are short enough to remain understandable and “crisp”, but long enough not to sink into monotony or banality. A sentence length of 15 to 20 words is optimal, so you should rather avoid box sentences and filler words (like times, well, simple, but). Instead, formulate precisely and without foreign words, use auxiliary verbs sparingly and use concrete language, strong verbs and affirmative sentence constructions. Make sure to vary the structure of the sentence. Because if you keep the same order of the parts of the sentence, it quickly becomes tiring. With all comprehensibility, the reader should not feel bored or under-challenged.

Tip from the Textbroker editorial team:

Are you looking for more information on the subject of “writing clearly”? Then take a look at the exercise book of the Federal Ministry for the Interior. You will find practical advice and exercises in it. Easy click here and download!

2. Readership

A reader-friendly text is free of errors in grammar, spelling, sentence structure and comma rules. You make reading easier, for example, by avoiding the nominal style: “Making a delivery” tends to sound more artificial and stilted than simply “delivering”. Depending on the target group, unnecessary anglicisms and foreign words can turn out to be stumbling blocks. If the article contains too many of them, it may seem too complicated - and that puts you off. If a reader doesn't understand these words, he stops.

A dynamic style is also part of the reader-friendliness: formulate your sentences actively and avoid passive constructions if possible. This will make your text look more lively. With punctuation marks you bring additional variation into your text, because they have an influence on the sentence melody and a dramaturgical function. Varied sentences, a uniform style and neutral, constructive criticism without the notorious "mallet method" ensure a pleasant reading experience.

3. The AIDA principle (Attention - Interest - Desire - Action)

Attract attention, arouse interest, increase desire and get people to act - that is the idea behind the AIDA principle, which is primarily for Product descriptions plays an important role. But how does it work? If you take the emotional route and captivate your readers with creative headlines and exciting introductions, you arouse their curiosity. A good text should stimulate the reader's imagination or their desires. Aha experiences and stories in the text generate emotions in them just as much as visual language (comparisons, metaphors, examples) that sets the mental cinema in motion. Surprise the reader with Unique content Without empty phrases: Write the text differently than anyone would write it - and make it your text.

4. The common thread

Your reader will be able to understand and absorb the content of your text better if he is based on a well thought-out structure is directed. The longer the article, the more important the structure is so that the reader does not fall by the wayside after too many content-related jumps. Therefore, before you start writing, you should create an outline that lists your chains of thought in a way that is easy to understand. This way you can see early on where you have to put subheadings, how you structure paragraphs logically and where you may still have to research. This gives your text visual and content clarity.

Your text should answer as many questions as possible that the reader might have on the topic. The greatest help here: the W questions.


5. First things first: the W questions

The author's task is to separate the essential from the inessential when researching, whereby the most important always comes first - especially with web texts. Therefore, the first paragraph should already contain the most important, central information and arouse the reader's curiosity. They'll tell you what they are 7 Ws of journalism: Who? What? Where? When? How? Why? Where from (source)?

6. The best comes last

Of course, a good text doesn't just end, but concludes with a conclusion that summarizes the most important content-related points. You may also end the article with an outlook or a thought that resonates with the reader and leads them to pursue the topic further. For example, it is a good idea to “drop” an anchor at the beginning of the text that you can refer to at the end. If you succeed, the chance that the text and its contents will stay in the reader's mind is much higher.

Illustrative writing exercises

Would you like to practice the more vivid, lively writing described above? Just take a card from the well-known game Tabu as a template for a short text. It doesn't have to be long, three to five sentences are sufficient for the purpose of the exercise. As in the real game, the specified words must not be mentioned in it. So you have to try to describe the term you are looking for only through paraphrases, comparisons and associations. Then read the finished text to a person of your choice and let them guess what it is. The faster the person guessed the term, the better you did it.
If you like it a little more creative, tools like the so-called story cubes are the right thing for you. Each cube in a set shows a different image, including objects, locations, people and animals. The sequence of images that you create with it can be used, for example, as a basis for a story, a travelogue or a report. If you also imagine a target person who does not know or cannot see the pictures, you inevitably write more pictorially.
Or do you want it to be a more practical exercise? Then take a recent advertisement or product description and write your own text based on the information you find there. Change the style, headline, outline - whatever you want. A few sentences are enough here too. The main thing is that you write the text that you would like to read there.
Are you curious? There are a few more successors to this workshop: In the next post you will find out what good web texts differs from classic texts and what you have to pay attention to when writing.
The third part of the series gives you practical tips on how to write good texts quickly - especially if you have to cope with a larger workload.
In our last post you can find out what the Different types of text.
Finally, we have a few more book tips for you:

  • "German for connoisseurs" and "German for professionals" by Wolf Schneider
  • "Get to the point !: The rhetoric book with the anti-babble formula" and "30 minutes for good writing" by Thilo Baum
  • “Handbuch des Journalismus” by Wolf Schneider and Paul-Josef Raue

Do you want to put your newly acquired knowledge into practice? Simply register as an author with Textbroker!
This way to registration

Do you have any feedback on this article or an open question? Then just leave us a comment below this post. We're looking forward to your response!
  • 26.04.2012
  • 17.07.2020

  • Textbroker editorial team
  • For authors, tips and tools, tutorials