I recently wrote a blog about how short, simple sentences can lead to more sales and more conversions (at the expense of playfully bashing school and academic writing). Now, I’m not knocking school. When I wasn’t swimming in stress from having 10 essays due with a midterm exam right around the corner, college was a fun and unforgettable experience. But there’s a reason why I was going HAM on academic writing, and I’ll go more into it later in this blog…
For now, you should know that short, simple words and sentences are the way to go. But wait: How do you know that your sales letter is easier to read? You may think your ad flows well, but it maybe a totally different experience for your ideal prospects…in a bad way.
Well, no worries. Because I’ve got just the thing to ensure that your ad reads faster and easier than ever before: The Flesch Reading Formula.
Using this special formula, you will be able to determine how easily readable your copy is in 5 simple steps.
The Flesch Reading Formula
So what is the Flesch Reading Formula?
Dr. Rudolf Flesch explains this magical formula in his book, The Art of Plain Talk, where he undergoes what makes writing easier or difficult to read.
According to his formula, the higher your reading score, the easier it is to read.
So, without further adieu, here are the 5 steps to making sure your copy is meeting the highest rankings.
Step 1: Count the Words
Count every word in your ad. This includes single words contradictions acronyms and abbreviations, hyphenated words, and combinations of symbols ( like 24/7 or PG-13. They count as words, too).
Step 2: Count the Syllables
Count all syllables in the words. Count all abbreviations, symbols, and combinations of figures as one-syllable words.
Step 3: Count The Sentences
Count all sentences. Any sentence separated by a period, question mark, semicolon, exclamation point dash counts as a sentence. However, ignore any sentence or paragraph breaks within the same sentence.
Step 4: Determine The Average Number Of Syllables Per Word
Simply divide the number of syllables by the number of words.
Step 5: Figure The Average Number Of Words Per Sentence
Then divide the number of words by the number of sentences.
The Higher The Score, The Better
Now that you’ve calculated your number, let’s see where it stands on the Flesch Grading Chart.
0 – 30 → College Graduate (YIKES!!)
30 – 50 → College (BAD)
50 – 60 → 10th – 12th Grade (UH-OH…)
60 – 70 → 8th – 9th Grade (NOPE)
70 – 80 → 7th Grade (EH…)
80 – 90 → 6th Grade (SAFE)
90 – 100 → 5th Grade (PERFECT)
When your score is too low, you start to sound like a school text book. That may as well be a synonym for BORING! When you’re a 30 or lower, chances are you’re using big, confusing words that belong in a philosophy book. And your sentences are probably extra long. This is an ALL BAD zone for your readers and for your conversions.
See why I was poking fun at academic writing?
BUT, if you have a high score, you’re right on the money when it comes to simple words and short sentences. Your message will come out much more clear, your copy will be easier to read, and you’ll get more people to take action!
If you want an A+ on your ad, sales letter, or VSL script, make sure you stay within the 90 – 100 bracket (dope metaphor usage, huh? LOL).
For more tips on writing smoother, higher converting copy, check out the JD Blog at JDCopywritingINC.com.