According to Entrepreneur Magazine, 90% of B2B-focused organizations use con
tent marketing for sales growth. Although much of the content is video, infographics and other ways to engage visitors; the largest portion of content is in written form.
With the plethora of choices of what to read, it is critical that your content be created in a way that is engaging, easy-to-read and informative. Improving the quality of your writing can have immediate and profound effect on sales growth.
This series is designed to help you learn a few skills of a professional copywriter, or at least learn what to look for in any copywriter you hire.
Part 2 of the 5 Part Guide – Principals of Writing Effective Web Content
To impact sales growth, the goal is to make it really easy for the reader to consume your content. There are a ton of tools you can use to determine whether your writing is easy to read. My favorite is the Flesch-Kincaid tests. The tools can be installed directly into your MS Word program.
When you are competing for the attention of today’s information-overloaded reader, you want to keep the grade level score below the 8th grade. Last week’s post tested at 7.5 grade level and had a readability score of 65.2. If I spent a little more time on it, I could get the grade level even lower and the readability score higher. Content that is easily read takes a whole lot more effort to create.
My Clients Are More Sophisticated
I cannot tell you the number of times I have had clients tell me that their clients are too smart to read something written for middle-school reading levels. Believe me, content that is easy to read is NOT an insult to your client’s intelligence. Instead, easy reading respects their time-crunched schedules.
If your content is dense, full of facts, statistics and big words, your prospect will see reading your content as hard work. If the reader has to struggle reading your content, it will not lead to sales growth. Which would you rather have…?
1. Simple, easy to read…where you get the facts in bullet points?
2. Or, dense content that is supported with facts and figures?
Duh…simple will do for most content. If the reader wants more information, they can click on a link you provide or call you to get more information. This is particularly true when you are presenting deep, information-rich content like case studies and white papers. A well-written case study has text boxes, bulleted lists, headlines, sub-headlines and all the reader-friendly tactics of good copywriting.
How to Create White Space
The easiest way to create more white space is to create more paragraphs. Each time you begin a new paragraph; the reader gets a little break in concentration and can relax a bit. The reader is more receptive to your message if it is easy for them.
Another tactic is to insert images, text boxes, quotations, etc. We will talk about the science of eye movement in the 5th part of this series. For now, just trust that inserting something for the eye to consume other than just text increases the chance someone will read what you have to say.
When to Create Bulleted Lists
Anytime you have a series of statements, a bulleted list makes it easier to read. To demonstrate this principle, here is a paragraph from earlier in this post:
“If your content is dense, full of facts, statistics and big words, your prospect will see reading your content as hard work. Which would you rather have; simple, easy to read (content) where you get the facts in bullet points? Or, dense content that is supported with facts and figures?”
Even though it was only a two-item list, it becomes much easier to read when it is part of a numbered list. It also creates more white space.
Until you get used to creating content like a copywriter:
- Reread your first draft of any content you write
- Look for things that can be broken down into lists
- Pay particular attention to any action items that can be used as a checklist
- Vary your bullet points and numbered lists. In MS Word, you have the option of using at least 6 different bullet styles with the click of your mouse. When online, like in a blog, you may have fewer choices, but you can still mix it up.
We have now covered the first three components of good web writing. I put them first because they are, without a doubt, the most important to your sales growth goals. You must get these three things right or you are losing business. Your goal of creating content is sales growth…not a big yawn from your readers…or worse yet, a click away.
Don’t hesitate to ask questions. My contact information is right here on the Sales Growth Hub. I want to make your content a source of huge sales growth and increased bottom-line profit. That is why I am here.
BTW: Congratulate me. This time the post FK scores are 71.9 for readability and 6.7 in grade level. Did you feel insulted by the easy reading? I didn’t think so.