How To Write Like A Pro

Writing good copy is always tricky. You can spend hours agonising over your message. Write it, rewrite it and end up starting over again because it just isn’t right.

You can read up on tips and tricks but still feel none the wiser. The best way to improve your writing is to practice.

There’s a shortcut!

Fortunately, there’s a simple trick to making any piece of copy more engaging.

You’re probably aware of Microsoft Word’s Spellcheck. It may help you pick up those occasional mistakes and the odd grammatical error, but are you using its readability feature?

If not you’re missing out on one of Word’s best feature’s.

How To Find It

First, put a spelling error in your document. Now open the Spelling and Grammar check window. It’s under Review on Windows and Tools on Mac.

Make sure Check grammar has a tick next to it.

Click Options and a new window will open.

Make sure the box next to Check grammar with spelling has a tick.

Then check the box next to Show readability statistics and click OK.

Complete the Spelling and Grammar check window and we’ll get the window we’ve been after Readability Statistics.

How To Use It

Generally the lower the better for better readability for stats under Counts and Averages.

Here’s a quick breakdown of what we’re looking at.

Counts

You have the number of Words, Characters, Paragraphs and Sentences. This gives you accurate figures for the length of your copy.

Averages

Sentences per Paragraph 3 or below and you’re doing well.

Words per Sentence aim for around 20, if you’re going over 25 try to shorten your sentences.

Characters per Word isn’t quite as useful. The simpler your language the easier your copy is to read, however, if you’re writing for the specialist audience you’ll want to use the proper jargon. Use your own discretion with word length, choosing the best language for your audience.

Readability

Passive Sentences gives you the percentage of sentences written with a passive voice.

A passive sentence will have the subject receiving the action, whereas in an active one they are performing it.

Passive –The dog was being washed by the girl.

Active – The girl was washing the dog.

Active sentences are better for pushing your point across and will keep your word count down. Try to keep this under 15{cae46e7993c4999f200af9814ce4e65a37fd1ff57f0d8a6946b53fc261028869}.

Flesch Reading Ease is something you maybe a little less familiar with. This is a scale from 0 to 100 that uses the statistics above to calculate how easy your copy is to read.

The higher the better here, this may vary though like Characters per Word depending on your audience. For an average audience if you score around 60 or 70 you’ve done pretty well.

Flesch-Kincaid Grade Level comes from the American education system. It’s used to roughly judge the age and ability needed to understand your writing. If you aren’t familiar with the American grade system simply add 5 to get the average age instead.

Checking your Readability Statistics while you’re writing (or after you’ve finished) is an easy way to improve your writing. With no bias in the results and very little time spent tweaking your copy, there’s no reason not to. The changes you make may seem small but they’ll have a significant impact on your audience.

Do you check your copy’s readability? Let me know what works best for you. As always if you need help with your marketing projects get in touch and I’ll give you a helping hand.