The beauty of copywriting is that it’s written in such a way as to speak to almost any level reader, taking complex products, services, features and benefits, and breaking them down in such a manner they become understandable to everyone. The copy becomes relevant to the reader because it’s written for the reader.
How might that help you in writing your content? Anything that helps you break down information and transform it into something useful for your reader, whether it’s an association member or an employee taking training, is valuable. Here are some tips to do just that.
Write at an 8th Grade Level or Less
Being able to communicate as a layman to a wide audience is critical when you need to reach a large body of people. While most folks probably won’t understand content written that’s written at a college level, they usually will understand something written at an 8th grade level.
There are some publications that write below that, even as low as a 5th grade level. This is done not to dumb down the material, but to improve reading comprehension of the information being given.
Think short, easy to understand words as opposed to that newest zinger you yourself first had to use a dictionary to look up. A good rule of thumb is the less syllables per word the better. Shoot for short sentences as well, and keep your paragraphs limited to 5 or 6 lines. Yes you may have to break a few grammatical rules, but if your audience can’t understand what you mean, the information you’re giving them is useless.
Consider the Art of Storytelling
Copywriters are great at using the art of storytelling to resonate with a reader. Why? Because stories sell. They connect with people, they draw a reader in, they invest them in the information. When done right, the reader wants to keep reading to find out the end to the story.
This technique can be used when creating lessons and courses as well. A learner is much more likely to become engaged in the material when they can relate to it, and centering the material around a story helps that information become relatable.
Just make sure your stories are relevant and support the lesson, and include elements of all good stories. Good characters, great conflict, words that paint a mental picture… these are important to telling a good story.
You also want to watch your length, and stick to what’s important. If the story doesn’t support your material and serve a purpose, it’s time to rethink your story.
Don’t Forget You’re Talking to Your Reader
Readers like to feel as though you are speaking directly to them. Doesn’t it feel good when you know I’m speaking to you? If most of your content is heavy with “we, us, and I” you may need to revise it, or risk losing your connection. People don’t want to be talked at they want to be talked to.
Keeping your content “you” driven, speaking directly to your reader helps you connect with them, investing them in what you have to say. A good way to do this is to make up someone you write your content to. Be specific, and only write to that one person. Keep the tone conversational, friendly, and direct. It sounds simple, but it works.
Formatting and Organization is Your Friend
Many readers begin something first by scanning it to see if it’s relevant to them and let’s be honest… to get the highlights. Using things like subheads, bullet points, and making sure to organize your information in the order you want your reader to consume it is a powerful way to help your content sink in and take root.
Not only that, but when something is neatly formatted and readable, it makes it more enjoyable to consume. Plenty of white space, relevant subheads that give an idea of what each section is about, bullets that help nail a point home… all these things serve to make for a more enjoyable reading experience.
Remember that not everyone is a naturally gifted reader. Some people struggle with reading, and for still others, it’s downright painful. Do your best to make your content easy to consume, engaging, and useful, and you will stand a much better chance of that content doing it’s job and educating your reader. We all like to learn new things when the learning is enjoyable.
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