Do you try to include all kinds of stats and facts in your writing, yet still receive reviews that encourage you to strengthen your work with “useful” details? What, exactly, makes a detail useful? What can you do differently to finally nail those 5-star reviews?
Details Should Be Relevant
When you learn a fun or interesting fact while researching a keyword, it’s tempting to want to include it in your article.
While your readers may love to know that Pope John Paul II was an honorary Harlem Globetrotter, they’ll be nothing short of aggravated by this information if they’re forced to learn it while researching how to install a basketball hoop in their driveway.
Do include fun tidbits of fact, but make sure that they’re on-topic. Here’s a better way to add detail to the above mentioned article:
In some parts of the country, such as Peoria, Illinois, it’s illegal to install a basketball hoop in your driveway, so check with your local ordinance before beginning your project.
Details Should Answer Questions
For each article you write, you should take a moment to pretend you are the person you’re writing for. Today, you’re an eco-friendly new homeowner who needs to replace your roof. You’re looking for an article that can explain your roofing options; the more information you can glean from this article, the more prepared you’ll be to make your decision when it comes time for shopping.
You find one article with sentences like this:
Recycled rubber shingles come in a variety of colors and styles, so they’re a great choice for any home.
The only information this sentence provides is that there is more to be learned than you’ll find in the article. It doesn’t provide any real answers.
You find another article with sentences like this:
Recycled rubber shingles come in red, blue, and green, and have various finishes to mimic the look of slate, ceramic, or cedar shake.
Which article are you going to read all the way through? You’ll read the second one because it answers all your questions. It provides the most information for the least amount of effort.
Details Should Explain
Don’t make your reader go to another website to get information that you failed to provide.
Are you writing an article about how to make a shower blast water instead of dribble it? Don’t just tell your reader to clean their showerhead of calcium buildup and remove its water regulator.
Explain to them that they can clean their shower head by tying a small plastic bag full of vinegar around it and letting it soak for two hours and that they can remove their water regulator by unscrewing their shower head where it connects to the hose and removing the black or red rubber ring.
Don’t tease your readers with surface-level instructions; give them all the information they need to get the job done.
Details Should Help Put Your Topic In Perspective
Help your reader understand the severity of an issue by providing specific details that build a clear image of your topic.
For example, consider the following sentence in relation to an article about waste management.
Millions of tons of plastic household waste are floating around in the world’s ocean system.
It’s an okay sentence, but your reader has probably never seen millions of tons of anything at once, so you can make the sentence stronger and more relatable by going a little deeper into detail.
The millions of tons of waste that make it to the ocean system form giant garbage islands — the largest one being twice the size of Texas and up to 90 feet deep!
Now that’s a useful sentence. It’s not only interesting, but it also allows the reader to form a more thorough understanding of the topic.
The next time you write an article, make sure your details are useful by asking yourself if they’re as specific as they could possibly be. Answer any questions your audience might have, explain instructions thoroughly, and help your reader paint a clear image of the idea you’re trying to convey.