It doesn’t take much to unnecessarily bog down your writing. You know the feeling—you’re practically erupting with passion about something and want to say everything about it to anyone who will listen.
Well-written copy can make or break it with your audience, and readability is the captain steering your ship.
Readability—or the ease with which a reader can understand text—has a tremendous impact on both reaching and engaging your audience. But it’s about so much more than just the words. Here are some tips to improve your readability game and propel you and your business leagues ahead of the competition.
1. Don’t bury the lead
If you wait until the third paragraph to drive home your message, you missed the proverbial boat. Hook the reader within the first few sentences. Make them understand why they should care, or they will move on.
2. Remember your (target) audience
We aren’t writing into a vacuum. So, who are you writing for? What are their pain points? Why should they spend the time reading your copy? What do they get out of it? Ensure you know the answers to these questions and keep your reader in mind throughout your writing process.
3. Shorten sentences and paragraphs
Using shorter sentences and simpler words will enhance readability. Creating white space on the page helps the reader to digest your message. While we may want to appear more intelligent by using jargon, acronyms, and complex words, we can alienate the reader. Write to the reader, not for yourself.
4. Grammar and spelling matter
Poor spelling and grammar can jeopardize your credibility, so pay special attention to both. Online tools such as Grammarly can help! Returning to point 2, if you know your audience is Canadian, you’ll likely consider using the Canadian (or UK) spelling of words and following Canadian Press (CP) Style.
5. Test your writing
Reading your piece aloud is a great way to catch tricky phrases. Or you can read just the first sentence of each paragraph – if they flow, so will your work. You can also double check your writing with a tool like the Hemingway app, which will grade your work. A note: lower grade levels and simple sentences may be recommended, but don’t simplify too much if your audience is rather smart. Last, ask a friend to read your article or post. If they pick up what you’re putting down, go ahead and publish!
The most important tip: publish your writing.
All this work will be for naught if you don’t hit publish on your post. A writer can feel terribly vulnerable putting their work out into the world (hello pot, this is kettle!). Whether you reassure yourself that no one is reading or you simply acknowledge that writing is a journey in which you learn from all parts, do it. Publish it. Share it. Do it.
These five easier-said-than-done tips will help you communicate your message in a clearer, more concise manner. That said, Prairie Telegraph can create your content for you – or proofread and edit your own writing. Let us know if you’d like to learn more!