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How plain English wins readers

Simple doesn't need to mean basic.

Writing in plain language doesn't have to be plain Jane. What's most important is that you are understood- without losing the tone and voice of your brand. Often this means that simple vocabulary, phrasing, and formatting are necessary.

There's a balance to be found between maintaining the voice of your business story and writing stories that are heard and comprehended.

But simple doesn't need to mean basic.

Plain English Writing Tips:

Vocabulary


Avoid jargon. While we don't believe in “dumbing down” language for fear of readers' ignorance, a big part of business marketing is offering something specific. When it comes to business stories, there are always industry-specific words that might fail to reach your prospects, no matter how well educated they are.

Tip: Make a list of jargon that is specific to your industry or business. Cross-check against it when you proofread your content. If you have used jargon, you could choose to replace it with plain English or give a simple explanation within your content.


Phrasing


Simplifying your sentences is a way to make writing simple but not basic. Examine the way you phrase things. Consider this short sentence. Then consider how much more difficult a sentence can be to digest, if it is long and complex – filled with many ideas – and contains a lot of punctuation. See the point?

Tip: Read your writing aloud and imagine you are conveying the ideas to a live audience. This process will bring awareness to how many ideas you are attempting to cram into a sentence. (Try it with the short and long example sentences above.) 

Where you have overloaded your sentences, identify the individual ideas. Separate the ideas into multiple sentences.


Formatting


Breaking up information makes online reading easier on the eye. Where digital content is concerned, today's readers tend to scan information for important points. This means we need to sort complex information into easily digestible portions.

Tip: Direct your reader’s eye to important information. Consider trying the following:
  • Use bullet points. 
  • Shorten or split up your paragraphs: 3 to 4 sentences is a good compact length. 
  • Write some one sentence paragraphs. 
  • Set important points in bold font. 
  • Ensure important points are covered early in your piece, and early in each paragraph.

Communicating ideas clearly should be your priority when writing for your business. People want to be able to understand you, which is why they’ve arrived at your content in the first place ….

Don’t lose them because you confused them.

Get your business story heard.



 

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