Focusing on Readability Increases Your Content Value

As a content creator, you put tons of effort into writing posts for your blog and your social media platforms. But are you doing everything you can to make that content easy for the reader to consume? What have you done to improve your readability?

Readability is the critical element missing from a lot of content I’ve read. Most authors need to devote at least another draft to improve the readability of their online content before posting. This effort will improve the quality of your LinkedIn article or blog post. It also shows that you value your reader and respect their time.

Here’s a list of tips you can use to improve the readability of your content:

  1. Before you write a single word, ask yourself “Who is my audience?” Once you have that question answered, ask yourself what would be important to them? What do they need to know? Use that information to guide your writing.
  2. Write to be understood. The purpose of communicating is to be understood, not to show off your vocabulary.
  3. Realize that writing is a process requiring multiple drafts. Make peace with that. Few authors get it right the first time.
  4. Write how you talk, but leave out all the “umms,” “ahhhs” and “you knows.” I’ve seen a ton of online content written in a very formal tone. It’s as if the person was writing to Queen Elizabeth. That level of formality will alienate your reader. Write as if you were talking to a good friend.
  5. Try to limit your sentence length to approximately 15-17 words. Studies on reading comprehension show that it drops off dramatically after 17 words.
  6. Use plain language. For example, instead of “illustrate,” say “show.” Instead of “utilize,” say “use.” These regular words have the same meaning and are less taxing on the reader.
  7. Leave your draft for a day and then come back to it. You will be surprised by the corrections you need to make.
  8. Use spell check. Most people have Microsoft Word on their computers. Run your document through spell check at least once. I believe there’s no excuse for spelling mistakes. They show a lack of attention to detail.

This extra effort is worthwhile. Improving the readability of your content increases its value to your reader and shows respect for the time they took to read your post.