Or should I say…bro?
I bet you’ve seen blog posts, articles, or social media captions written in this way.
Every sentence sitting all by its lonesome on a single line.
One sentence after another after another.
Did you know that this writing style actually has a name?
Yep, we didn’t either.
Now we’re gonna shelve the broetry to explain where broetry came from, why it’s such a popular writing style, and why, quite honestly, we’re tired of seeing it.
Where broems came from
How can you spot a broem?
They often start with personal, heartfelt stories. Someone overcomes something difficult to reach their goal. There’s a problem, a struggle, and then triumph. A broem tries to be inspiring and profound, but usually ends up sounding cliché.
We’ll admit that we don’t actually know where broetry originated. Neither does anyone else, apparently. A communications manager at Facebook noticed the trend in late 2017, calling it a “monstrous form of LinkedIn corporate essay-poetry” in this fantastic tweet. Another person replied to the tweet and coined the term “broetry.”
BuzzFeed talked about the phenomenon a month after those tweets, even reaching out to LinkedIn to ask them why broetry posts are so damn popular. LinkedIn declined to say why, of course.
However, a popular broetry writer on LinkedIn (is that a thing?) said that he uses this style because it’s “spoonfeeding people exactly what they want.” If his reason for writing broetry made you feel gross and icky, well, you’re not alone.
Dumbing down content
The broetry author also offered up this tip for using the style successfully: “Don’t overestimate your readers’ intelligence. Be known for one or two adverbs.”
Even more gross and icky, right? That’s one of the problems with broetry. It assumes that your audience is too stupid to read longer paragraphs. You put each sentence on its own line and boom, problem solved.
We’re all for writing scannable, easily digestible content in short paragraphs. Attentions spans are short, and we like to make reading text on mobile and desktop easy.
That does not mean you should dumb down your content and provide the bare minimum with broetry.
Look, we’re not afraid to share opinions and be confident in our copy and content abilities. But one thing we can’t stand and never want to do is act like we’re better than our audience. Not every broetry writer does this, but there’s enough of them out there to make us steer clear of the style.
Broetry is boring and unoriginal
When broetry first appeared on the scene, it probably grew popular because it was a fresh, interesting new style. Now it’s overused and tiresome.
You know why? Writing is always more interesting when there’s variety.
This doesn’t just apply to broetry. Think of easy children’s books that teach little ones how to read with sentences like, “This is Jack. He likes to run. Here is a dog. They are outside.” Great for teaching reading skills, but not super exciting to read.
That’s because all the sentences are roughly the same length and structure. They sound the same, whether you’re reading out loud or in your head.
Broetry suffers from the same thing, even though the sentences may all be different lengths. But because each sentence is formatted on its own line, you pause after every sentence. Your natural rhythm is interrupted. It gets monotonous and almost painful to read. Reading broetry is almost as bad as reading a huge block of text with no breaks — the very thing it seeks to avoid.
To be memorable, to have an impact, to truly get your point across, your writing needs variety. Use a mix of short and long sentences. Vary your paragraph lengths. Choose your words carefully.
Oh, and be yourself. You can spot a broem because it sounds like a pseudo-inspirational personal success story. You’ll connect with your readers better if you tell genuine, honest stories from the heart.
Need help ditching the broetry? We are currently booked until April 2021, but you can join our waitlist by emailing us at firstname.lastname@example.org!