Keep it Simple When Writing Your Marketing Copy
If you want your visitors to get the most out of your marketing copy, keep it easy to read and easy to scan. According to the American Marketing Association, as well as many other reputable marketing professionals, when writing content for a website, it’s best to keep it around an 8th-grade reading level. Why? Most visitors will only scan your copy, and many will have difficulty reading it.
Try to Maintain a Standard Reading Level of Eighth Grade
Maintaining a standard of readability as close to eighth grade as possible, will not only keep you from alienating a substantial number of internet users, but it will help you retain those that do visit your website. Not sure exactly how to do that? When writing copy for a website, the Flesch Reading Score or test can evaluate your copy and provide you with reading ease score. Because the test determines the difficulty level in real time, you can easily make changes to your marketing copy until it meets the suggested standard.
How do You Check Your Readability Score?
So how do you test your copy? There are numerous options to check existing articles so you can edit the copy, or you can test and edit articles you are planning to publish. You can easily check your copy as you write using Word, or while drafting an article or post on your blog.
Are You a WordPress User?
If you use WordPress for your website, there are multiple plugins available, Yoast SEO is among the most popular, that will grade your content based on the Flesch-Kincaid reading tests. As you write, the plugin will check your writing and display your score. If you would prefer a standalone option, or you don’t use WordPress, there are websites that will grade your content. While I’ve only listed two, there are many options available. While some will check your copy for free, others charge a fee for the service.
Websites Offering Readability Testing
Readable.io While not a free service, they do offer a free trial. Once your trial has ended, they offer plans starting at $2.04 per month. Readable offers an interesting graphic that compares the levels to common books. The graphic gives you some perspective on how the reading levels relate to known published books.
Readability Formulas The good news is, all of the options are free, and the site provides multiple options for scoring your copy. Readability also offers multiple other Free Readability Tools to test a wider variety of reading levels based on other grading algorithms. One option was originally developed for the United States Air Force to test their technical manuals.
Microsoft Office If you prefer to do your writing in Word, Microsoft offers a document checker within Word. Although you can find the information when visiting the link, here is a quick step by step explaining how to find this option using Microsoft Word for Mac, Office 365.
- While working in Word, Click Preferences.
- Click Spelling and Grammar in your preferences panel.
- Under Grammar, tick the box Show readability statistics.
Once you have enabled this feature, spell check the document as you normally would. Once Word has completed spell checking, it will display your counts, averages, and your readability. Word will display the Flesch Reading Ease score and Grade Level. Word also displays your percentage of passive sentences. We will save passive sentences for another article. The image below shows the actual information displayed by Word for this article.
Grades for This Article
I graded this article using the suggested links. The scores for each are displayed below. You can see that although they vary slightly, they all provided a similar grade level score.
Flesch-Kincaid Grade Level 8.3
Flesch Reading Ease 57.6
Based on 8 readability formulas, we have scored your text: Grade Level: 8
Flesch-Kincaid Grade Level: 8.4
Reading Level: standard/average.
Reader’s Age: 12-14 yrs. old (Seventh and Eighth graders)
I hope this helps you to write marketing content for your website, blog, or marketing material, that will grow your reader base and keep current visitors coming back for more.