Are you writing in Go-Away-Green?

go away greenFirst let me explain what Go Away Green means. It’s the color Disney uses in its theme parks for any object or building they don’t want people to look at.

Garbage bins, fences, administrative buildings…stuff like that. They want your eyes focused on the rides, stores and scenery, not on the infrastructure.

The idea of Go Away Green is that it’s such a boring and unattractive color, your eyes just pass over it until they latch on to something more interesting.

The concept of Go Away Green is important to grasp when creating anything that is a combination of attraction + structure.

This certainly applies to web design and yes, also to writing and copywriting.

The “attraction” in what you write is the story you tell, the core of your message and the supporting information that surrounds it.

The “structure” of your writing represents all the words and sentences you use to set up the opening, create transitions throughout and wrap things up at the end.

Every piece of writing requires some structure to hold it together. That’s OK. But when a page of writing includes too much structure or scaffolding, then you have a problem.

To get an idea of what I mean, think back to the last post or article you read where you found yourself skipping over a few lines. Or you found your mind wandering as you tried to stay focused. Or where you felt you had come to the end of the piece, but there were still ten more lines to go. Or it felt like the writer was trying to lead you through the text like a dog on a leash – “Think this now, and think this now.”

That’s writing in Go Away Green. Too much structure in proportion to the content. The readers’ eyes and attention are likely to slide away.

In a theme park you are there for the day. The Go Away Green simply moves your attention over to the next attraction. On a web page, you don’t have the same kind of hold on your readers. They are not there for the day. Your hold on their attention is tenuous to say the least. So if they hit too large a patch of Go Away Green in your writing they are likely to do just that…go away.

The internal structure of a piece of writing should be invisible, or as close as you can get. Cut away as much of the structure of the writing as possible.

If you find this hard, and find yourself over-explaining in the opening or writing too many transitions from one point to the next, it may be that you are trying to cover too many topics within a single article or post.

Try sticking to one topic per page of content. That’s any easy way to minimize the need for structure.

Keep it simple, and stay away from green.

Related ebooks I have written about writing for the web:

Popcorn Content – the craft of writing short-form content for social media

Killer Headlines for Web Content

101 Web Content Ideas, Tips and Resources

Writing Kick-Ass Sales Copy…

About the author: Nick Usborne is an online writer, copywriter, author and coach.

Writing for the Web

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