Concise v. Wordiness: The Debate Over “Long form” Blogs

Glenn E. Fleming, MD, MPH, Contributor, MarketHive

As a healthcare provider, I’ve been trained to read through an exuberant amount of information in order to glean what is important.  In a medical emergency, the physician usually has minutes to sift through a patient’s medical records (both past & current) to make quick decisions about how to care for an unstable patient.

This requires having the ability to quickly scan and find the most important points about a given patient who is critically ill.  This includes quickly determining the patient’s past medical history, current medications, social situation, current labs, diagnostic radiology, and physical exam all in minutes' time.

When it comes to reading about non-emergent matters (including blogs), I would prefer the writer to be short yet concise rather than long-winded and wordy.   Understandably, it takes skill to be concise just like it takes practice to get really great at reading for comprehension. 

Before writing your article or blog, answer & write down the following questions:

  • What is the topic or main idea of the article?
  • Title: Does my title reflect the content of the blog? Does it attract the reader?
  • What is the problem or issue being addressed and/or solved?
  • Why is this problem important and why should the reader care?
  • Does the article contain examples of the issue being discussed?
  • Is there a link to a specific article of reference?
  • Is there a photo (title or body) that reflects the blog topic?
  • What is the key message/lesson/points of the article?
  • What summarizes the above points? This typically comprises the last paragraph

Sometimes, a given blog topic requires a long explanation in order to illustrate all the points but there are ways to address this issue while still being concise and authoritative on the issue or topic.  This involves breaking up your topic into smaller topics that you write about in a series of blogs.  This will prevent the reader from getting lost or missing your overall points. 

A good example of conducting a “series” of blogs is the following:

I want to write about healthcare reform but it’s a huge category with lots of different topics and issues to discuss or write about.  Rather than submit a thesis-style article about all the various issues affecting healthcare, I submit a series of blogs on the topic of healthcare reform.

In other words:

Topics in Healthcare Reform (Heading)

            Subheading 1: Making PrEP available to all who are deemed “high risk” of acquiring HIV

            Subheading  2: Access to decent, affordable healthcare           

            Subheading  3: High Prescription drug costs

            Subheading 4: Making mental healthcare a priority

In the above, you are creating a series of topics in healthcare reform.  You have created four separate blogs about a different topic in healthcare reform rather than creating one long-winded article, which many would not want to read all at once.  By providing “chunks” of different topics within a series, your reader can read about one topic at a time while not missing key points.

In summary, before you start writing a blog, remember to essentially ask yourself the “who-what-when-where-why/how” questions while making sure your title reflects the content.  Also, if you think your topic is too broad or extensive, consider writing a “series” of blogs about your topic so that the reader gets just enough information that’s concise and will entice them to read more of your work.

L Basheer Hasan – Entrepreneur