Lean content is a term used to describe content that is created with the intention of being both quickly produced and usable. It is the concept of creating content that is of high quality and gets to the point quickly, without wasting time or energy on needless details or excess material.
At its core, the purpose of lean content is to enable the swift and efficient delivery of concise and valuable information that meets users’ needs. The content should answer a user’s question in the fastest yet most helpful and meaningful way. Content should be strategically created for specific situations, with the purpose of providing information and helping the user to achieve their goal.
For example, if a user is looking for a particular piece of information, such as a date or time, or instructions on how to build something, or a definition of a word, then lean content could provide them with a short and simple answer to their query within a few seconds.
The defining character of lean content is that it should be “short, sweet and to the point”; it should be free of any details that are unnecessary, convoluted language and sentences, or redundant information. Its purpose is to cut out anything that does not directly answer the user’s question.
Here are some general guidelines and best practices for lean content:
1. Always focus on the reader’s needs. Eliminate any content that does not directly address their queries.
2. Keep sentences and paragraphs concise - a maximum of three sentences per paragraph and twenty words or less per sentence;
3. Use an active voice instead of a passive voice and avoid long sentences, adjectives and adverbs;
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4. Use precise words that carry a specific meaning so that the user can easily understand your message;
5. Structuring the content in an orderly manner helps the user to digest the information;
6. Use storytelling to engage the user and to make your content interesting. You can do this by using real-life examples, or by adding a personal touch;
7. Use visuals like images, charts, and videos to break up the text and to help the user visualise your content;
8. Avoid academic jargon and keep the language simple. Use words that all users can understand;
9. Use short and to the point keywords throughout the content to help users find the answers they are looking for more quickly.
These are the principles that can be applied when creating lean content. The goal of lean content is to get the user the information they need in the most direct and efficient way possible, without wasting the user’s time or energy. Content should be created for specific situations and should be kept concise and focused on providing exactly what is needed by the user. Visuals should be used to break up the text, and storytelling should be employed to keep the content interesting.
Finally, precise words should be used, and any unnecessary detail should be avoided. With these guidelines and best practices in mind, you can create lean content that is of high quality, and useful to the reader.