When you sit down to write, what is your first thought? Is it the topic you’re writing about? Your audience? How often do you think about your level of writing?
PR practitioners are writers. As with many other authors, much of our focus is writing for our audience. So what reading level is optimal when writing?
How to assess your writing level
A variety of components go into measuring readability, including syllables, sentence length, and other proxies for vocabulary and concept complexity.
The Flesch-Kincaid Grade Level formula is one readability test that calculates a grade level based on sentence length and the amount of three-syllable words within a given text. Also, sites like Readability-Score.com are an easy tool you can use to measure the readability of your writing.
Readability or complexity?
Research says writing somewhere between a 4th to 8th grade level will allow you to reach the largest audience.
“Copy that’s 4th to 6th grade level is barrier-free and can be read quickly and comprehended well by all adult readers,” according to blogger Jeff Brooks.
For blogs, you can get away with writing at an 8th grade level.
Contently explains that by keeping your writing simple you have the opportunity for a larger reach. “The other lesson from this study is that we should aim to reduce complexity in our writing as much as possible. We won’t lose credibility by doing so. Our readers will comprehend and retain our ideas more reliably.”
Writing for your audience
In addition to making sure you simplify your writing, it’s also important to consider your audience. If your goal is to reach a large, diverse audience, you should aim for a lower level. If you’re developing a newsletter that will be distributed to a highly-educated audience, your writing can be more sophisticated.
To sum it up, write simply and keep your target audience in mind while writing in order to communicate most effectively.