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Readability in Copywriting

When you set out to write your copy make sure that, you are addressing the mind of your prospect and understand that you are speaking to their emotional side. We all make our purchasing decisions from an emotional stance. We are looking to solve some pain or increase some pleasure. Isn’t it really the little boy who is living out a childhood fantasy when he buys that high performance BMW fully loaded with all the lights whistles and gadgets?

You may be selling to professionals that you think have awesome sophisticated vocabularies. That may indeed be true in their professional lives. However, when selling a product you are really selling to the emotional mind and that can be the mindset of a ninth grader or below.

I know it sounds somewhat crass, but when you are creating your copy, you really want to write at a ninth grade level or below. Once upon a time, I worked in a place where the COO instructed all his staff to write memos to the professional staff that an elementary school kid could understand.

When I heard that that is what they were doing, I was a little insulted. But when I really think about it from an educated stance, I can see that the best way to communicate to a bunch of professionals who are often overwhelmed in a world that includes a lot of high stress and responsibility is to talk to their inner child in a much simpler style. After all, what do most of us do when we get home from work? Engage in some intense academic pursuit or kickback, watch some TV and relax.

It is that relaxed, chilled out prospect that you want to attract and it will be easier for you to do that if you are using simple understandable language.

You might be asking yourself how it is that you would know at what level a ninth grader reads. If you use Microsoft word, then you probably have a great tool readily available. It is called the Readability Index and you can set it to tell you at what level you are writing.

First, open your Microsoft word program. Go to tools then to options then to spelling and grammar. Check the box that says, “Show readability Statistics.” Then, when you are ready, have spell check run through your piece, correct or change what you think you want and when you are done you will get a little pop up screen that will give you all the statistics about that piece including the readability scale. Oddly enough, this blog post has a readability scale for the ninth grader.

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