Chapter 2 - Writing

What to Write – Concrete Content

Shareable content is concrete. It is filled with strong, supporting details that add substance, relevancy, and specificity.

Concrete: existing in a material or physical form; real or solid

Concrete details incorporate cues that help readers visualize concepts. Many times, writers focus too heavily on abstract ideas, leaving readers without a way to conceptualize the topic.

The paragraph above is an example of delivering an abstract idea.

Abstract: existing in thought or as an idea, but not having a physical or concrete existence

The bold paragraph above is hard to understand because it doesn’t give the reader a way to visualize the point of the paragraph.

This concrete paragraph below does.

Readers absorb abstract concepts the way the Peanuts hear adults talking. The words sound like senseless murmurs. The readers can’t connect the dots and understand the point of the message. Readers absorb concrete concepts the way viewers watch the Peanuts cartoons. They see real examples and visuals of the world the Peanuts characters live in.

Ideas are abstract. Examples are concrete.

You can’t only tell the reader something. You have to show them. 

Simply telling you that abstract concepts are hard to understand didn’t give you a reference image in your mind. But saying “abstract concepts are like hearing adults talk in Peanuts cartoons” gave you a way to visualize the concept in your mind. You can see it.

Creating concrete mental images is important for two reasons:

  1. Visual concepts are easier to understand
  2. Visual concepts are easier to remember

How To Create Concrete Content

Connect to something people already understand. Find a common ground people unfamiliar with your topics can relate to. Use metaphors and comparisons to tie what the reader already knows to new or unrelated concepts.

Keep the reader’s previous knowledge in your mind. Don’t use fancy, abstract language and get trapped in the “Curse of Knowledge.” Find a universal language everyone can speak fluently.

Develop your topic to its highest value and potential. Perform extra research on the topic. Don’t only use the research provided to you. Don’t stop at the surface of the idea. Break the topic down into more specific details. Don’t provide only the obvious material.

Give the reader proof of what you’re saying by adding strong supporting details.

Show, don’t tell. Use examples whenever possible.

Whether you have been given or have created a topic, you are responsible for taking that idea and building it into a stronger concept by adding supportive, concrete concepts that add value and substance to your content.

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