Writing Tips: Maximizing Readability
Maximizing readability consists of helping your readers find and comprehend information efficiently. Whether writing blogs or responding to bids, it is crucial to keep your readers in mind and adjust accordingly.
General Readability Tips
For all content, there are general rules to follow, including:
- Vary your sentence lengths (max 14-20 words).
- Stick to three to eight sentences per paragraph.
- Aim for an 8th to 12th-grade reading level, depending on your audience.
- Guide your reader using headings and subheadings.
- Use active voice and keep passive sentences to less than 5%.
Proposal Readability Tips
Proposal readability varies depending on three factors:
- Technical level.
When it comes to content, specificity is crucial. To back up claims and demonstrate competence, use statistics as needed.
For every bid, your audience informs your writing. In government bidding, the proposal evaluators may not be industry experts. In this case, or if you don’t know who your reader is, write for the uninformed.
For other cases, such as responding to an IT services RFP, the content gets very technical. These instances necessitate industry terms. So, while writing these technical bids, use words and phrases found in the RFP.
Speaking the client’s language shows that you have read and analyzed the bid document. Additionally, using these terms correctly will demonstrate your industry knowledge.
Finally, the shorter and sweeter, the better. Proposal evaluators often have stacks of proposals to dig through. Make their job easier by including only necessary information. In particular, keep your explanations tight and respect page limits set forth by the RFP.
Website & Blog Readability Tips
When writing website content, the three factors from above still apply. However, you cannot always predict your audience. Sure, you might have a general idea of who visits your site, but you will never know for sure.
Consequently, it’s best to be conservative. To achieve this, keep your sentences short but varied and use easy-to-understand words. Shoot for a Flesch-Kincaid reading ease score of 60-70% and an eighth-grade reading level.
Keep a conversational tone. Avoid overusing industry-specific terms and statistics unless necessary. However, when using industry terminology or statistics, be sure to explain their meanings. Assume your audience is just learning about the topic, and don’t overload them with information.
Additionally, use transition words frequently. Transition words and phrases (e.g., furthermore, however, so, in that case, and more) act as a guide for your reader, leading them from one concept to another. In other words, transitions help your reader understand how each topic connects.
Finally, consider your content’s length. The jury is still out on the ideal blog length, but a 300-word minimum seems to be universal. However, some sources aim for 500-600 words while others swear by 2,000+. We like to aim for shorter content and break longer content into several parts. Adding a descriptive title to each part allows the reader to find the content they are looking for without wading through a long blog.
Readability varies based on many factors, including form, content, and audience. However, whether you write blogs or technical proposals, readability always matters. Creating easily digestible content increases win rates and enhance accessibility to any document.
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