Readability: be more Obama than Shakespeare

Much as we believe video is the future, much of the expertise on Zapnito networks is still shared in written posts. If expertise is to be useful, it must be readable. Thankfully, there’s a fun tool that can help you ensure that others can benefit from your writing...
Readability: be more Obama than Shakespeare

I love The Writer’s readability checker. I copy and paste most of my posts into it. It instantly gives me a readability score for my work. This is based on three standards: Flesch-Kincaid, Gunning Fog and SMOG (‘Simple Measure of Gobbledygook’).

The Writer’s readability checker also uses my three standard scores to rank my work on its own writing style scale. This spans from this very readable sign to Harvard Law Review.

The Writer’s readability rank

  • This sign – reading age, 9-10
  • Most comic books
  • Harry Potter
  • Large chunks of The Writer’s website
  • Many of Obama’s speeches
  • BBC News website
  • The Financial Times
  • Most of William Shakespeare
  • Harvard Law Review – reading age, university

I ranked alongside The Financial Times before I started using the checker. This meant that readers of my posts would need to be starting college to understand them. Appropriate for my audience, but indicating that I might be making you work too hard.

Given you’re likely to be scanning my posts in your spare time, they need to be quick to read. Given I am sharing information that I hope will help you, they need to be easy to understand. I want them to have the readability of The Writer’s own website. Or at the very least, Barack Obama’s speeches.

This checker has helped me bring my scores down to Obama level. And this post has made it to The Writer’s level! (My first draft was more BBC News.)

But why does this matter? Like you, your network participants are likely to be cramming their reading into a busy day. They will be between meetings, on the move or at home. They don’t want to have to work to read your writing, no matter how useful the information you provide. Make sure your writing is readable to ensure readers can benefit from your expertise.

I’d love to know about your readability rank. Are you Obama or Shakespeare?