Writing blog posts and short articles is an art-form but there is an easy formula that works almost every time.

Producing a regular column in the Guardian Guide I had 150 words to play with every fortnight. That’s three paragraphs. Three short paragraphs. By the time I’d explained the premise I was nearly out of space.

But, with ruthless trimming of any fat, it was just enough room to say:

  • here’s a topic (e.g. Sheffield)
  • here’s something you might not know about that topic (it has lots of great pubs)
  • and here’s what you should do next (go pub crawling in Sheffield).

That probably sounds obvious but you’d be surprised how few people know this trick and end up writing something pointless and panicked.

In commercial writing the third point is usually a pitch — buy my product, use my service, request a quote — and sometimes that’s fine. Personally, though, I like it when businesses conceal their teeth just a little and point people out into the world.

With that in mind here’s my Call to Action (as the jargon has it): try writing an email to a friend this way, or a Facebook status update, and see if it works for you.

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