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Simple vs Complex

What do Reading Grade differences actually look like?

Knowing how readability is calculated can help tailor your content to the grade you want. Making the consideration of grade much easier to achieve. If you’re interested in the scientific backing, you can see the formula behind the scoring here. Using the Flesch-Kincaid score, we’ve determined the education level needed to read a section of text. And since we know that grade alone doesn’t really show you what’s changed, we’ve adapted the same piece of text to different reading grades. By influencing sentence and word length, we demonstrate what different reading grades look like. But first, we look at how you can amend your readability to increase the quality of content used in your email marketing.

Keep sentences short

An easy way to ensure that the information you present is easy to absorb. You want to maintain the readers flow throughout your text. Making your sentences overly complex will mean your audience may need to stop and consider what you’re trying to say. Ruining the reading flow in the process.

Reduce word length

The more syllables your words have, the more difficult they are to read. That’s why readability grades take into consideration word length in their formulas. Use clear and simple language to convey your message. Don’t use a word with 4 syllables when a word with two will do the job.

Make it simple

Use well-known words to make sure your readers will understand your text. If you do need to use more complicated language, include an explanation. That way, everyone will still be able to follow your content.

Break up your text

In the same way that long words and sentences can disrupt readability, so can overly convoluted paragraphs. Use punctuation to separate ideas. And use headings and subheadings to organise your text. It will also give your reader an idea, at first glance, of what you’re going to cover.

Write for your audience

You may have industry-specific words or phrases which those in the same profession will understand. But if your text is going to be read by a wider audience, consider using more explanative words which everyone will know.

Comparison of readability

We took a paragraph from our website and adapted it to demonstrate the differences in readability grades. The Flesch-Kincaid scores indicate the education level needed to easily understand the text.

Where we started; grade: 9

Readability is important when it comes to B2B marketing. Make every word vital with content analysis tools that translate how your content will be engaged with. If it is complicated and confusing, not only will your readers swiftly switch off, it will imply that your business works the same way.

First, we decreased the score; grade: 6 (-3)

Readability is important for B2B marketing. Make every word count with content tools that hint at how your content will be engaged with. If it is complex and hard to follow, your readers will swiftly switch off. It will also suggest that your business works in the same way.

Did you notice the difference? Here’s what we did: we shortened and simplified words to ones more commonly used in day-to-day conversations. We also shortened sentences. Reducing the number of words in each to make them short and punchy.

Then we did the opposite and increased the score; grade: 13 (+4)

Readability is imperative for all aspects of B2B marketing. Make every word significant with content analysis tools that will translate the engagement rate of your written content, as your content is a true reflector of your organisation. If it is complicated and convoluted, not only will your readers rapidly disengage with it, it will imply that your business operates in the same way.

How we changed the content: we shorted increased the number of syllables in words, making them longer and more complicated. We also did the same with the sentences. Using punctuation to lengthen the sentences and increase their complexity.

It may seem simple in theory, but it’s also easy to implement in practice. Once you know what factors influence your readability grade, you can use them to your advantage. Craft content your readers will enjoy reading. Because if it’s not readable, your audience may not even try. Make your writing a happy medium which your audience will engage with. We recommend a range from about grade 7-10, depending on the type of text being written. Each reading grade has its place in the marketing world, but identifying when each is applicable can make your interactions with leads far smoother. For a more detailed breakdown of content types and the ideal reading grade, see our infographic here.