Do you know your blog reading level?
Your blog reading level is the metric that tells you how easy or difficult your blog is to read. It can be increased or decreased by punctuation, wordiness, character count, and choice of words.
Writing at a simple blog reading level isn’t to insult anyone’s intelligence, it simply helps make your point quickly, efficiently, and effectively. In fact, an eighth grade reading level is recommended for most blogs. There’s room for style in writing, but substance is far more important.
Even the great Harvard Business Review finds itself in the junior high and high school zone for stretches of its website. Like you, the magazine is conveying big industry ideas and trends to the biggest possible audience. Meanwhile, genius-level blogs, according to Mental Floss, include Ars Technica and Damn Interesting!, but their audiences are far different than yours – they’re more for entertainment purposes.
Are you writing for CEOs? Engineers? Niche retail consumers who just can’t get enough of your kitchen gadgets? Your customer personas do matter tremendously, for many reasons. One of which is determining how complicated or uncomplicated your blog writing style will be.
A related reason, is attracting the right readers – and retaining them. If you lose visitors to your business blog before you can convert them into customers, your content marketing efforts have failed. You may end up doing just that if you write content at a reading level that doesn’t resonate with your ideal readers.
Again I ask, do you know at which reading level you should blog for?
For an executive, we recommend you write at or below high school level. Engineers, maybe closer to college. Most others? Well, believe it or not, about eighth grade!
Place your posts somewhere between an elevator pitch and an essay assignment in crisp language with minimal adverbs and passive voice. Write how you speak. Be concise. Don’t assume your reader knows everything you do. Your role is to inform.
Let’s look at some ways to measure your blog reading level – the tests and the principles behind them – and to improve the quality of your posts.