The math of writing: Why logic matters

Sound logic has always been fundamental to good writing: it’s what carries readers to the point of an argument. With the volume of information people consume today, getting to that point quickly and clearly is crucial. In marketing communications, there’s no time for drifting along a river of thought toward some eventual conclusion. Logic in the content age needs to be as direct and explicit as the copy itself.

Keys to strong logic in writing:

Think first.
Logic gives structure to the flow of ideas in writing. The smoother the flow, the greater the impact. Good flow requires deliberate engineering* — mapping out the ideas and how they connect before committing words to paper. Remember Grade 10, when the teacher made everyone underline their thesis statements before writing essays on Animal Farm and Brave New World? It’s basically the same principle at work.

Stick to the point.
In well-engineered writing, every point reinforces the previous and sets up the next. Those connections forge the logic of the piece. A good way to keep the connections clear is to make sure the article, web page, case study, etc., isn’t overloaded with points: when there are too many, it’s harder for any one or two to stand out, and readers could come away unsure of what they’re supposed to think.

Substantiate your case.
The best way to reinforce the logic of an argument is by substantiating it with facts. These days, readers tend to ignore hyperbolic declarations like “It’s the greatest solution ever!” Being clear about the thesis and structure of the argument makes it easy to choose the best, most relevant facts to make the case.

Express it artfully.
Even the best constructed argument isn’t going to persuade readers on its own: the writing needs to engage them and hold their attention from start to finish. Once you’ve ‘done the math’ — mapping out a clear, logical structure — the task of writing begins, giving the thoughts tone and style.

*Apologies to all our engineer friends for taking artistic licence with their terminology.