Make it concrete.

October 23, 2017


Creating content that will make a lasting impression is hard. It is, in fact, one of the biggest challenges in the creative field. When you are doing the same job that thousands of others are doing, how do you stand out in a crowd? How do you create content that won't be scrolled over? It isn't simple, but one important concept to remember is concreteness. In the book Made to Stick by the Heath brothers, which I briefly mentioned in a previous post, the reader learns a myriad of guidelines of how to make ideas stick. In this post we are going to talk about chapter four, concreteness,


On page 104, the Heath brothers state, "Concrete language helps people, especially novices, understand new concepts. Abstraction is the luxury of the expert. If you've got to teach an idea to a room full of people, and you aren't certain what they know, concreteness is the only safe language." 


This is the basic concept around concrete language, it allows the consumers to learn through their own experiences. The other day I was listening to a podcast that interviewed a medium. The medium explained that she communicated with spirits through her realm of context. Spirits used images, feelings and visuals that the medium had experienced in her lifetime to communicate their message. With concrete writing, you want to be the spirit and the consumer the medium.


An example of a brand that uses concrete language successfully is Apple. When writing the description for their new face scanning technology in the iPhone X, Apple wrote: "A tiny space houses some of the most sophisticated technology we’ve ever developed, including the cameras and sensors that enable Face ID." We all know that it would be very easy to throw together a strand of long words that describe the brand new technology, but Apple also understands that without context that information means nothing. They use concrete language to emphasize big changes without losing the consumer amongst long, meaningless words.


How does this relate to social media? Well, you have a group of consumers with a short attention span and in some cases you have a word count. You need to keep your language concrete in order to get your point across in a memorable way. Concrete language does not mean dumbing it down, it means using universal language that provides context. When you've mastered this concept, you'll create content that is approachable to people of all walks of life.



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