Is your web content smarter than a fifth grader? One of the biggest pitfalls business professionals run in to when writing articles and blogs for their business is that they speak in their own industry language and forget that they’re trying to appeal to potential clients.
We know this as “jargon” and unless your target audience speaks the same technical language you do, you could be writing off potential customers just by writing too smart!
Consider the Readability of Your Web Content
The level of readability for your business articles should reflect directly upon the educational level of your target audience. If you’re a librarian writing a blog on how reading over the summer is cool and your target audience is teenagers, you’ll want to tailor your word choices and blog length to appeal to a 13-17 year old demographic. Likewise, an attorney writing a business article about estate planning can use more mature vocabulary and complex paragraph structure since their target audience would be more in the 45-70 year old range.
There is an actual science to determining the readability of material, known as the Flesch Reading Ease test. A mathematical formula is used to determine the Flesch Reading Ease Score (FRES) of a piece of web content:
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206.835 – 1.015(total words / total sentences) – 84.6(total syllables / total words)
The higher the score, the more easily read the piece of content will be. Generally, web content that scores between 60 to 100 is considered easily read by middle and high school students.
Making Your Web Content Readable to Your Audience
It’s not just SEO for article writing that you have to optimize for – you should also consider the readability of your content before publishing. First, you need to identify the educational level of your average clients. Do most of them at least carry a high school diploma? Are they mainly doctors or lawyers? The average level of education and knowledge is a major determining factor in how advanced your writing should be.
One way to determine how complex your writing should be is to evaluate the kind of content your target audience regularly consumes. Social media is a great way to see what level of content your audience responds to – the insights of your business page can show what other content pages your followers like and interact with.
Jargon is again another thing to watch for no matter how educated and involved your target audience is in regards to your topics. If you run a mechanic shop, you may want to drop the technical terms for certain car parts and explain common vehicle troubles in more general terms if your clientele are everyday drivers. However, if you cater to the racing industry and provide services for professional drivers, you can typically include the normal vocabulary for your industry.
When improving readability, it’s also important to watch that you’re using the same words that are relevant to your audience. In some industries there may be different terms for the same item depending on the region. A sandwich may be called a sub in one area and a hoagie in another – same item, different names.
A final thought on the readability of your content is length. Easily read content is short, to the point, and free of run-on or complex sentences. Remember that not all readers are on the same type of device, have the same time to invest in reading, or have the same attention span. If you take the time to learn how your audience interacts with your web content, you’ll have a good idea of how to best capture and keep their attention with appropriately written content!