Is your content readable enough?

Posted on March 21, 2018

 

It’s commonly accepted that it’s vital to avoid spelling and grammatical mistakes in content marketing, but have you ever considered the readability of material? How do you define this anyway?

Reading actually places a big cognitive load on the brain. This means you’re more likely to lose people’s attention if they have to mentally unpick complex sentences.

So, how do you measure readability? In the 1950s, Rudolf Flesch created a reading ease index based on the average number of syllables in words and the proportion of long sentences. The US Navy later applied a derivative to their manuals, so they could be sure their personnel would understand them. There are also other readability indexes.

To see how this translates into success, look at the readability scores for popular newspapers. Someone once tested random stories from popular UK newspapers. He found that all of them had Flesch reading ease scores of around 70. This means the average 13-year-old student should be able to read them easily.

These popular newspapers are not “dumbing down” their content either. They are simply conveying stories in a clear and easy-to-read manner. This is why people like reading these newspapers.

Your own content should therefore avoid long sentences when possible. Using the active voice is also helpful, because it’s typically more engaging than its passive counterpart. Making your content easier to consume means more people will consume it, which is a basic requirement of content marketing.

This all means that not only do you need website content writers that can write correctly, but also they also need to write in a clear manner. If you source your content through a news writing service, however, you may fare better. These services often have editors check the work of their writers, so obscure sentences can be corrected.

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