How to write a pithy blog post and engage readers


Tina Dubinsky

To write a pithy blog post takes practice. If you dare to learn, your writing will engage more readers. While pithy describes a writing style and voice, it also characterizes language choices.

But are you aware of its relation to the orange?

Citrus fruit and other plants contain pith. It’s the white springy tissue under the orange skin. Because it’s bitter, some people peel it off. But pith has nutritional value that many people overlook.

Likewise, pithy writing has similarities to the pith of an orange. Pithy writing is:

  • Concise (thin).
  • Meaningful (full of goodness).
  • Curt (tangy).

As a result, a pithy blog post has a succinct style of writing. And focusing on lean writing attunes a writer to their text’s readability.

Big orange on a tree. The words "Reveal the pith write lean" cover the orange.

So, how can you develop a pithy writing style? Here’s what I found:

Peel away verbose writing

Take the knife to big words and long sentences as you edit your article. Too much text overwhelms. So use white space and transition words to break up text and simplify meaning.

  • Use bullet points and lists.
  • Limit paragraphs to three or four lines.
  • Start sentences with and, but and because.
  • If one word can replace a phrase, use it.
  • Write in active voice instead of passive.

And while too many monosyllabic words make reading dull, your writing needs tang. Remove flowery phrases and simplify descriptions. Limit chains of adjectives to one or two.

Prune needless material

Most people who read on the web don’t have a lot of time. This is where meaning applies to pithy. Readers seek answers. So get straight to the point with your writing.

But how does this work with pithy?

You write light but layer it with meaning.

  • Plan your writing with a clear structure.
  • Provide context.
  • Select a handful of key points to discuss.
  • Use headings and subheadings to draw the reader’s attention.
  • Stick to the topic.

Does your mind wander to other topics when you write?

If it’s your first draft, let the thoughts spill on to the page.  But when you revise your blog post stick to your chosen topic.

Woman on laptop with a juice and a sign saying readers want answers.

Move additional material to your writer’s journal for future articles.

Bite into a journalistic style of writing

Have you noticed how journalists write news articles?

Hard news stories begin with the conclusion. That’s because it’s the most interesting part of the story. If I was to rewrite this article, I would start with ‘Bloggers who write a pithy blog post online use a succinct writing style.’

On the other hand, feature stories begin with a delayed introduction. A delayed intro catches the reader’s attention and creates tension. The hard stuff, the who, what, when, why, where and how follows.

While you may not want to use the inverted pyramid structure for your blog posts, pithy article writing benefits from a strong summary lead. A lead:

  • Captivates.
  • Gets straight to the point.
  • Contains the who, what, when, why, where and how.
  • Is concise.

And a pithy lead hooks the reader.

Why write a pithy blog post?

A pithy blog post suits topics based around why and how questions. When writing a pithy post, keep the reader in mind. What question does the reader want answered?

While search engines may favour longer posts, pithy posts are short, not much more than 600 words. A pithy style also suits microblogging and microposts. But your blog may contain other styles, such as:

While it’s a good idea to mix a blog up with different types of posts, practicing pithy writing places quality before quantity.

A pithy blog post adds quality. Put quality before quantity. Keyboard and mouse in background


Embrace pithy writing

Pithy writing is lean writing. To write a pithy blog post keep these ten points in mind.

  1. Write an engaging lead.
  2. Get straight to the point.
  3. Use short sentences.
  4. Lean towards one or two-syllable words.
  5. Employ transition words.
  6. Remove unnecessary words.
  7. Write in active voice.
  8. Stay on topic.
  9. Add value.
  10. Keep it compact.

If you can hone the art of pithy writing, you’ll engage your reader. Above all, you’ll find it easier to publish posts and write more often.

What type of writing style do you lean towards? Do you mix it up or stick with the same style for your blog?

Comments, thoughts?