People skip long paragraphs Readers take measure of — and make decisions about — your copy based on how it looks. One of the most important visual cues is paragraph length. If your message looks too hard to read, people won't read it. So hit Return more often: It's one of the easiest ways to make your message more readable. How often should you hit … [Read more...] about Hit Return more often
Cut Through the Clutter
Just 2% of adults globally perform at the top literacy level Read it and weep: After decades of reporting five levels of literacy, the largest adult literacy study in the world has dropped Level 5, the top level, for lack of participation. The reason: Just 2 percent of adults worldwide performed at Level 5, so researchers combined it with Level 4 in their most recent … [Read more...] about A world of pain
Try a bikini lead instead Some folks write "suitcase leads": They try to cram all of the story elements into the top. Instead, make yours a bikini lead, and cover just the most interesting essentials. Remember: It's not the job of the first paragraph to tell the whole story. It's the job of the first paragraph to get people to read the second paragraph. So target … [Read more...] about Avoid the suitcase lead
They make journalists cry 'hype' and more "Atticus told me to delete the adjectives and I'd have the facts." — Harper Lee in To Kill a Mockingbird Why cut adjectives and adverbs from your copy? Because modifiers: 1. Strike journalists as hype Writing media relations pieces? Journalists hate hype and fluff … and modifiers are hype-y and fluffy. "Be fair," … [Read more...] about Why minimize modifiers?
Cut a word, increase comprehension Here's the problem with long sentences: Every time you add a word, you reduce comprehension. Let your sentences sprawl, and the subject, verb and object get too far away from each other. Your readers have to fly to JFK to pick up the subject, Uber to Chelsea to grab the verb and hightail it to the Upper East Side to find the object. … [Read more...] about Three ways to streamline sentences