July 26, 2020 at 9:29 am #3567SARubin
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When it comes to writing persuasive sales copy, “simple” beats “complex” 99 out of 100 times.
In some academic circles, pompous complexity might outshine simplicity. But 99% of the time, simple clarity wins the day!
So how do we know if our copy is simple enough for the average reader?
Persuasive Copywriting Technique #3
The Flesch-Kincaid Score
Based on things like the number of syllables in a word compared to the ratio of complex words in an entire written piece, Flesch-Kincaid basically scores how hard it is to read your copy.
For instance, an FK score of 80 is easily understood by the average 6th grader, and is much easier to read than a score of 20 which takes a college graduate to understand.
So why does any of this matter?
Because, If our copy becomes tedious or confusing at any point, and our reader has to think about the meaning of a single word, it breaks the flow of the entire message. And if that happens we can lose our customers faster than the speed of a thought.
That’s why we want to make it as quick, and easy as possible, for readers to consume our message.
Of course we never want to talk down to people, but unless we’re selling to academics we always want our copy to be easily understood by the average person.
And the average person has normal conversations at, or around, a high school level.
Even many “Wall Street Journal” articles are written at a high school level. Not because executives and CEO’s are slow readers, but because they’re busy people who need to absorb the info quick, so they can get back to work.
So what’s the best FK score for sales copy?
Well, obviously it depends on your target market. And you’ll need to test this out with your own sales copy to be sure.
But after 25 years in this game I’ve discovered that my best performing copy always seems to have an FK score of around 70 (fairly easy to read for an 8th or 9th grader).
Naturally, I’m always interested to know what works for others, and I’d be very interested to know what works for you…
Thought for the day?
P.S. Just in case you’re curious… This post has an FK score around 67. So if this were sales copy I’d probably go back and lose a few of those 4 syllable words 😉0
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