November 19, 2017

Benchmark readability against the BBC

How does your clarity stack up?

The BBC covers the most serious news known to man — West Bank stabbings, friendly fire air strikes, Justin Bieber’s bad behavior — and does so in an average of 4.7-character words.

Benchmark your readability

News for you The BBC makes the most serious news easy to understand with highly readable copy. Does your organization do the same? Image by Poster Boy

How does your copy’s readability compare to that of the world’s largest broadcast organization?

Benchmark readability

One way to find out is to benchmark readability statistics. That’s a great way to convince bosses, clients and reviewers that extremely readable copy makes sense, even for serious messages.

We used Microsoft Word’s Readability Statistics to measure how the BBC’s readability stacks up. We reviewed every story (23, including the top 10 most read) on the BBC.com home page on July 27.

Here’s what we found out … and how you can improve readability of your own pieces.

Is your message as readable as the BBC’s?

Related stories

“Write for the expert, but write so the non-expert can understand.”
— Bernard Kilgore, celebrated Wall Street Journal editor

Cut Through the Clutter

Make every piece you write easier to read & understand

Is your copy easy to read? According to communication experts, that’s one of the two key questions people ask to determine whether to read a piece — or toss it.

Catch Your Readers

Numbers game Learn “the numbers” — proven-in-the-lab targets for paragraph, sentence and word length — you need to measurably improve your copy’s readability. Image by Kolleen Gladden

Fortunately, academics have tested and quantified what makes copy easy to read. Unfortunately, that research virtually never makes it out of the ivory tower and into the hands of writers who could actually apply it.

But you’ll leave Catch Your Readers — our two-day Writing That Sells master class on Nov. 16-17 in Kansas City — with “the numbers” you need to measurably improve your copy’s readability.

Specifically, you’ll learn how to:

  • Make every piece you write easier to read and understand with our 6-step system
  • Get proven-in-the-lab targets for readable paragraph, sentence and word lengths.
  • Measure, monitor and manage readability with a cool — free! — tool.
  • Increase reading by hitting one key on your keyboard more often.
  • Use the fastest, most effective approach for condensing your message dramatically.

This is our final Catch Your Readers workshop for 2017. Don’t miss out. Register now.

Save $100 — grab one of our early bird tickets by Aug. 30.

“I learned more about writing today than in four years of college and the decades since.”
— Paul Nonnenmacher, senior public relations strategist, Adams & Knight

Polish your skills at these Master Classes

Learn to Master the Art of the Storyteller, Catch Your Readers, Get Clicked, Cut Through the Clutter and more

Register for Cut Through the Clutter - Ann Wylie’s concise-writing workshop in San Francisco on Aug, 17-18, 2017

San Francisco | Aug. 17-18

Register for Master the Art of the Storyteller in New York: Ann Wylie’s creative-writing workshop in New York on Sept. 25-26, 2017

New York | Sept. 25-26

Register for Catch Your Readers in Kansas City: Ann Wylie’s persuasive-writing workshop in Kansas City on Nov. 16-17, 2017

Kansas City | Nov. 16-17

Register for Write For The Web and Mobile: Ann Wylie’s online-writing workshop in Miami on Dec. 11-12, 2017

Miami | Dec. 11-12

Rather bring Ann in to train your whole team?

Catch Ann on the road

Save when you book a workshop while I’m in your neighborhood

Ask about piggybacking on my upcoming engagements in:

  • Atlanta: Sept. 11-12
  • Boston: Oct. 9
  • Chicago: Nov. 13
  • Kansas City: Nov. 16-17
  • Memphis: Nov. 2
  • Miami: Dec. 11-12
  • New York: Sept. 25-26
  • Dallas, TX: Oct. 16-20
  • Roseville, CA: Oct. 24
  • San Francisco: Aug. 17-18

Keep up with my calendar.

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