Discover top guides, trends, tips and expertise from AIO Writers

How to Cut Fluff: 7 AIO Editing Tips for Concise AI Content

Julia McCoy
Monday, 13th Feb 2023

Do you cringe when reading articles you wrote early in your web writing career? When I read mine, I’m shocked that I got paid for them. 

My early articles rambled, were wordy and full of cliches, and didn’t consider the reading level of my audience. They were full of fluff.

Fluffy writing drowns your message and turns readers off. But how do you identify which words are unnecessary? 

This article discusses how to cut fluff, the first step of the CRAFT framework for perfecting AI-generated articles. It shares 7 tips for removing fluff and shows how that can improve readability and concision.

Let’s get started.

Note: This article covers the first step in the AIO process for perfecting AI-generated content that we developed here at Content At Scale. It is the first of five articles on my unique C-R-A-F-T framework that defines the AIO process. This one touches C, aka cut the fluff.

aio craft

Want to learn every step involved in our C.R.A.F.T. framework? You’re in the right place. To learn more about AIO and C.R.A.F.T, read our individual guides:

Additionally, subscribe to our blog, watch our C.R.A.F.T. and AIO tutorials on our YouTube channel, and read this blog to understand the AIO model.

Free Resources to Train Your Writers into AIO

I’ve been personally training agency owners and teams and helping them convert to the AIO way. Want these? You’re in luck – we’re giving them away.

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First, I wrote a full guide – a writer’s worksprint, links to our best tutorials and training, and even a job description template if you want to find an AIO writer.

Want this incredible resource? It’s called the AIO Writer’s Worksprint. Download now for free.

Free Step-by-Step AIO CRAFT Writer’s Training Course

Additionally, after months of putting AIO and C.R.A.F.T. into action (over 40M words are produced each month by our users at Content at Scale, and our Done-for-You client side is another 500,000 words/month! Talk about AIO at scale 🤯 ) – we put together a step-by-step AIO C.R.A.F.T. tutorial.

Ideal for you, your writers, and any content creator ready to adapt to the CRAFT methodology and the AIO way.

Enjoy!

New to the idea of AIO and CRAFT? Read this to understand the innovation behind AIO. 

Want a written guide that has all the CRAFT steps from the YouTube video? Your wish is our content command. Step-by-step AIO writing tutorial, blog version.

What is Fluff in Written Content?

Fluff refers to words, phrases, or sentences that don’t add value to the overall message of the piece. It’s often used as filler material or simply as a way of making an article appear longer than necessary.

What Does Fluff Look Like?

Fluff usually takes on one of two forms:

1. Redundant Language 

Redundant language includes phrases like “in order to” and “due to the fact that”. These words don’t add anything new or interesting. They just take up space. 

2. Irrelevant Information

This is information that doesn’t contribute directly toward the main point of an article. Examples are anecdotes, tangents, and personal opinions not related to the topic at hand.

Another type of fluff is overusing adjectives and adverbs. Here’s an example:

Fluffy: “He ran extremely quickly across the field” 

Concise: “He sprinted across the field” 

Another example:

Fluffy: “The dog barked loudly

Concise: “The dog barked”

And another: 

Fluffy: “She was as graceful as a swan gliding through water

Concise: “She moved gracefully”

The bolded words can be removed without any effect on the clarity or meaning of the sentence. 

Expletives, adverbs, adjectives, and other cutesy language have their place in writing, but they must be used in moderation when writing web content.

Why is It Important to Remove Fluff from Your Articles?

Removing fluff makes your writing more concise and easier for readers to digest. It helps ensure accuracy since facts are not lost among irrelevant details.

Besides obscuring facts, fluff makes it difficult for readers to maintain interest and engage with the content.

Key Takeaway: Removing fluff from your writing helps make it more concise and easier to read. To avoid fluff, ask yourself if each sentence adds value, read aloud for clarity and accuracy, and cite only relevant sources.

7 Tips for Cutting Fluff in Long-Form Blog Articles

The best way to avoid writing fluff is by being aware of what content adds value and what doesn’t. Before adding any sentence to your work, ask yourself whether it adds something meaningful or it only pads the piece.

Here are some more tips for cutting fluff in long-form blog articles:

how to cut fluff

1. Start with an Outline

It is harder to go off-topic if you write with the guide of an outline. An outline will help organize your thoughts and keep you focused on your article’s main points.

The Content At Scale AI writer takes the pain out of writing blog post outlines. All you need is the keyword you want your article to rank for and a few lines of text to give the AI additional context.

After opening your project in the CAS app, you will see this screen:

Enter your keyword and additional context. The additional context now gives you 500 characters to work with, enough to tell the AI the main points you want the article to cover.

The main points will typically form the outline, which you may only need to tweak by moving a few items around.

After you have entered your text for additional context, hit the Customize button. The AI will generate your article’s outline, to which you can add more subheads if you feel important points were missed.

With those additional points, you also have the option of giving the AI additional context so it knows exactly what the sub-section should discuss.

When you are satisfied with the outline, hit the Create Content Now button. You will be told to check back in a few minutes, after which your article will be ready for you to polish and optimize, the first step of which is what this article covers.

2. Get to the Point, FAST

You don’t need five long paragraphs to introduce your topic. Long introductions risk boring readers before they get to the information they are after. So get to the meat of the matter, FAST, using short sentences and paragraphs.

Your introduction needs to quickly tell readers what questions you will be answering in the piece. Of course, you may want to do this in a way that encourages readers to read on but don’t take too long with it.

3. Cut Out Unnecessary Words

Take a look at each sentence and ask yourself if all the words are necessary for conveying the intended meaning. If not, cut them out. 

This will help streamline your writing and make the information more accessible. Those unnecessary, redundant details and irrelevant information distract readers from understanding what you’re trying to say.

Look for areas where you have used intensifiers, adverbs, and adjectives. These words are often unnecessary. Words like really, somewhat, fairly, rather, quite, and very rarely improve a sentence. 

4. Replace Jargon with Simple, Everyday Words

When you sit down to write an article, your goal should not be to sound knowledgeable and sophisticated. It should be to convey your message as simply as possible so that it is easily understood. 

The best way to do this is to avoid jargon and use simple, direct language. Unless you are addressing a professional audience, like doctors, engineers, architects, or lawyers, avoid jargon. 

5. Chop Big Words and Long Phrases

Jargon has the same effect on your content as big words. Don’t use a big word if there is a small, simpler one. Here are 20 commonly used big words that could be replaced with smaller/simpler ones:

  1. Utilize -> use
  2. Ameliorate -> improve/help
  3. Alleviate -> ease/reduce
  4. Approximately -> about
  5. Attempt -> try
  6. Commence -> start
  7. Detrimental -> damaging/harmful
  8. Disseminate -> spread
  9. Emphasize -> stress
  10. Expeditiously -> quickly
  11. Objective -> aim/goal
  12. Proportion -> part
  13. Reimburse -> repay/pay back
  14. Residence -> home
  15. Substantial -> large/great
  16. Sufficient -> enough
  17. Ultimately -> finally
  18. Visualize -> see
  19. Unoccupied -> empty
  20. Notwithstanding -> despite/still/yet

While big words don’t add to the word count, they make the information harder to understand. What pads the article are long phrases that can be replaced with one word or two.

AIO writers bible - 50 fluff words to eliminate

Here are a few other examples: 

  1. To the extent that -> if/when
  2. That being the case -> if so
  3. A large number of -> many/most (or just state the number)
  4. On numerous occasions -> often
  5. On the grounds that -> because
  6. Of the opinion -> think
  7. With the minimum of delay -> quickly
  8. With reference to -> about
  9. The question as to -> whether
  10. On behalf of -> for

If a reader does not understand the meaning of a word, it’s meaningless to them. This means if your piece is laden with jargon and big words, the whole article is unintelligible to your audience.

6. Check Your Grammar and Punctuation

Bad grammar and misspellings reflect badly on you and take attention away from the information you are sharing, while poor punctuation makes your article harder to read and understand.

Good punctuation makes your writing clearer and more precise. It saves words as you won’t need to expand a point with an extra sentence or two to get it across.

7. Read Aloud When Proofreading

Reading aloud helps to catch typos and other small errors you may have missed. It focuses your attention on the work you are proofing, which helps to identify areas where sentences might be wordy or difficult for readers to understand. 

Key Takeaway: Cutting back on fluff in AI content is essential for readability and comprehension. 

After trimming all that fluff, your article should now be ready for the next step in the CRAFT framework – reviewing grammar and on-page SEO. 

Before you leave the editor, remember to save the changes you have made. See the image above for how it’s done.

Improve Reader Experience with Concise, More Readable AIO Content

AI content suffers from the same issues of wordiness and fluff that you get with human-written content. That’s why the AIO model we developed at Content At Scale treats that first draft the AI writer generates as a baseline. While it’s good content, especially if written by the Content At Scale AI, it can be improved.

Lean, fluff-free content is easier to read and understand –  both of which are the aims of the AIO process. Where possible, use fewer words to get your point across. Avoid repetition, cutesy language, and other tricks that only serve to pad your articles.

Join 1,000’s of other writers and publishers who are using the ContentAt Scale long-form AI writer to produce nearly ready-to-publish articles, saving you thousands of dollars and up to 10X production time. Streamline your content production and save money and time with Content At Scale today.

Written by Julia McCoy

See more from Julia McCoy
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