back to home
Published on Dec 10, 2023
Last updated on Jan 23, 2024

The science in content artistry

I’ve always believed that any piece of work comes close to its peak when it takes on the essence of art. Content writing is similar in that way––it’s the art of shaping words to communicate. And the scientific/technical aspects behind making this art come to life is what makes it all possible.

Tinkering with marketing and content for a few years, I have learnt a few things that can make writing more effective. While appreciating any form of art remains subjective, my aim with this article is to share the facets that help with effective writing.

Let’s start understanding the science of content writing with a mental framework. 👇

Preliminary work

A strong base helps us build something beautiful. When starting to write, ask yourself the following questions.

What is the core message of the content piece I want to write?

What are you trying to convey, and do you understand the concept enough to be writing about it? A concept can appear to be pretty messy in your head initially. Try to make sense of it by zeroing down on what the particular piece of content should be saying. Then repeat this exercise for every paragraph you write. If you’re confused, ask someone or ask a search engine. Do not start without knowing what you’re even talking about. Once you know, the next step is to understand your audience and write in words they’d easily understand.

Who am I writing for?

You could be writing for a large set of people. If the nature of the content allows for it, you could be generic. But if you want to be specific, narrow down on a subset of those people. For eg. I could be writing this post for startup teams, marketers, and college students. But, each set is unique. If I narrow down to the marketing audience, it helps me make my content more centered and qualitative. While the other sets of people can still derive value from this post, talking to just one type of audience improves my quality of content, and brings some sanity into this process.

Secondly, put yourself in the shoes of the reader while writing. Try to understand their psychology, and what they could possibly gain from your content. Empathy lies at the heart of effective writing.

What is the nature of the content?

Is it educational, is it factual, or is it promotional? It could be anything. However, only the structuring and word count usually gets affected by this. Your style of writing, as an individual or as a brand, should mostly be consistent.

Where is it going?

Get some clarity on where your piece of content will get published – blog, social media, email, forum, landing page? Every medium is different and even your readers expect a certain kind of value from each of the mediums. If your answer is that your content needs to be published everywhere, then do remember to make some edits to your content to make it relevant for every platform, before posting it.

How to write?

Next comes the style of writing. Here are some guidelines I try to follow.

Write like you’re talking to ONE person.

Think about it: When you read something, you’re more receptive to content that’s directly talking to you. You don’t care that the same piece of content is written for thousands of people. So when you’re writing, write like you’re addressing one person. This way, you’ll still be addressing all of those thousands, but in a more personal way.

Keep it conversational.

People talk to people every day. Our brains are habituated to understand stuff faster and better when they’re in a conversational format. So, avoid ‘marketing fluff’. Write like you’re talking to a friend. This will make your job as a writer simpler, and improve the results massively.

Do remember that the type of your audience takes precedence over this guideline. For eg. If you are writing for a highly technical audience, or writing in a setup where a lot of “professional” writing (like, in legal firms) is expected, you’ll need to adapt this guideline accordingly.

Keep it simple.

You could ply your piece of content with a choice of resplendent words such as the ones used in this sentence and think that you sound eloquent while not being of assistance to anyone whatsoever. Or, you could use simple words that everybody would understand (remember our motives here). The choice is yours.

Avoid fluff. Get to the point.

The hard truth is that nobody’s got the time and patience to go through the fluff. Get to the point; if your reader wanted to pass the time, they’d rather be on Netflix. It is very easy to fall into the trap of writing fluff because it gives you a false sense of accomplishing your task. Avoid it at all costs if you want to deliver the highest qualities of content. But do remember to use relevant transitions when switching context or jumping to a subsequent paragraph.

Also, write click-worthy titles, not click-baity.

But, you can put in a little humor.

Everybody likes to laugh. There’s no reason you shouldn’t add humor to your writing, that’s meant in good faith. The only rule you should take care of: try not to force it. Natural humor is good humor.

Be human––Coz you are.

Real people, real words, real customers. Help and educate your audience. That can’t be done by sounding like a corporation using fancy words. Building a connection through your writing is essential, and you can do that much easily by talking like a human.

A checklist to follow

Internalizing good content writing practices will inevitably happen, if you keep at it. Eventually, it’ll become second nature for you. Meanwhile, make use of the following checklist. 🙂

  • Distribute paragraphs

  • Use exciting and helpful subheadings

  • Use whitespace

  • Use bullet points

  • Bold the stuff you want to draw attention to.

  • Use sentence cases more – it is more readable than capital cases.

  • Write in active voice as much as possible, it’s much easier to grasp. Avoid passive voice.

  • Avoid jargon. Don’t make your readers’ lives complicated.

  • Avoid slang.

  • Develop a flow. Each line should be a reason for the reader to read further.

  • Use bullet points for points such as, well, this list. Use H2/H3/H4 when you have an entire paragraph to write under subheadings; do not format them as bullet points.

  • Avoid one-line or one-sentence paragraphs.

  • Avoid redundant sentences.

  • Write short sentences. Rule of thumb: More full stops, fewer commas.

  • Create a hierarchy of information.

  • Avoid vague language.

  • Use examples if relevant.

  • Use positive language. Nobody likes negativity.

  • Use proper names for other organizations. Check for their proper names and capitalisation.

  • Be honest.

  • Take care of grammar. Get yourself a Grammarly account, if it helps you.

  • Em Dash, En Dash and hyphen are three different things. Learn about them and use them accordingly.


It can seem daunting to follow so many guidelines. However, you don’t have to learn it all in one go, or even in a hundred goes. The best teacher is practice, and the motivation to keep getting better everyday. I am still learning. :)