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Repetition in Writing Done Well

Repetition in writing isn’t always a bad thing. Sometimes it can make a truly positive impact on the reader.

Like right there. Those two sentences essentially said the same thing. If something isn’t always bad, the logical assumption is that it can be good. Ipso facto, the second sentence hasn’t added anything overtly constructive to the presentation.

But it has much more subtly done its job, reinforcing the first statement to make it seem more natural. More reasonable. Something readers can take for granted as gospel truth and move on to the next line of information.

Obviously, that kind of repetition in writing can be grossly misused. So handle this power carefully.

In fact, handle all authorial powers carefully. And not just because they can blow up in society’s face, causing chaos we shouldn’t want to court. There’s also the much more self-interested consideration that it can blow up in our own authorial faces like we’re mad scientists with green goo everywhere.

But we already discussed how boring and unconvincing repetition in writing can be. That was last Thursday’s topic, not today’s. So enough about that for now. We’re focusing on the positive.

For example, repetition in writing is fairly necessary these days for any small or mid-sized businesses that operate online. And let’s face it: Most of us do.

Whether we’re talking about a company website or blog, we’re going to be focused on a specific topic, a specific study, a specific group, etc. Yet it’s almost never specific enough. There are no doubt a couple thousand, hundred thousand or million other matches out there.




“Gain followers on Instagram,” for example, has 76,100,000 hits on Bing. (Judge if you want. I like the pretty pictures.)

“Manuscript editor” has a surprisingly tame 178,000 sites purporting to address it in some way, shape or form.

And “repetition in writing” comes in with a solid 10,500,000 results.

10.5 million. That's a lot.

One way to get found in all that is to use the same keywords or, preferably, keyphrases multiple times throughout your copy. That boosts you above competitors who only use it once, which is exactly why I’ve mentioned “repetition in writing” a total of six times in this blog post. So far.

Two cautions with this form of marketing though:

  1. Google, Bing and other search engines run on very specific and ever-changing algorithms. These online overlords are designed to frustrate authors who overdo it on the whole repetition in writing tactic. So don’t go throwing your keywords or keyphrases around five times in the first sentence or some such thing.

  2. Even if that weren’t the case, you might get a lot of hits overloading on specific vocabulary choices but you’re not going to get a lot of followers. So your sales will be questionable at best.

Ultimately, you want your writing to come across as naturally as possible. So be repetitive when it flows well, when it makes sense, or when it helps readers see your side of the argument more clearly.

This allows you a limited amount of repetition in writing, yes. But that’s exactly the way it should be.

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