Content vs. Style – Which is most important?


One of the biggest struggles for many writers is determining which is most important to focus on during the writing process: content or style. The answer is actually both. If you think about it, the content is only as strong as the style that you use to convey your message to the reader.

The key to being a successful writer is being able to determine and maintain an understandable style while also including important content. Doing this can be extremely difficult; however, there are a few questions that you can ask yourself throughout the writing process to help.


  • Am I using terms that my reader understands? Naturally, while writing, you use terms and abbreviations that you and those in your field understand. This can be an issue because writing is reader-based and content can get lost when the writer uses jargon that others may not understand.
  • Am I maintaining a clear tone? In addition to using appropriate terminology, writers should also maintain the same tone throughout the writing. Sometimes the actual content isn’t as important as how it’s conveyed. Thus, using a consistent tone will help the reader understand the content and may decrease possible confusion.
  • Will my reader fully understand the purpose of the writing? After you’ve completed the document, read back through the content from the perspective of your reader. Doing this can help to ensure that others will understand the purpose of your writing

Following correct writing procedures and asking yourself these questions can help you throughout the process and improve your overall writing skills . Remember that our writing should be reader-, not writer-centered, meaning that without a clear style, the content may be useless. Please visit our Resource Center for further information and writing tips.