I recently re-read William Strunk, Jr. and E.B. White’s must-keep-close-by-at-all-times guide, The Elements of Style. The experience left me—and I think, will leave you—with two main thoughts:
- Wow, I need to remember this stuff.
- Wow, this book has a lot of personality.
These takeaways may not seem profound.
But my reaction is the same one that we, as marketers, strive to elicit from our readers, prospects, and customers. This little book simultaneously educates and entertains. It’s clear, concise, and packed with personality.
As E.B. White notes in the introduction, written for the 1979 edition of the book:
“Will Strunk loved the clear, the brief, the bold, and his book is clear, brief, bold…He scorned the vague, the tame, the colorless, the irresolute. He felt it worse to be irresolute than to be wrong.”
Bold, definite assertions appear throughout The Elements of Style. (“That was Will all over,” writes White.) And like any content geek, I discovered them gleefully.
If someone asked me for a perfect piece of content, I’d point to The Elements of Style. 80 years since its original publication in 1935, it continues to help writers of all specialties create better content.
To honor this brilliant and bold work, and to provide writers and editors with a quick reference to Strunk and White’s must-follow lessons, check out the cheat sheet below.