January 24, 2018
Do not be fooled by the notion of create engaging and simple-to-read articles. Such articles do not have to be written for a high school student, nor do they have to use simplistic content. An engaging and simple-reading article can be just as full of complex phrases, personality, and edification as any other article. There are several tricks you can use to make even the most sophisticated text become something that any lay person can understand without having to “Dumb It Down.”
1 – Explain Words You Use More Than Once
The fact is that humans are capable of comprehending text even if they do not understand every single word within the text. However, if you are using a word that is not typically uttered in everyday speech, and if you are using that word more than once, then you should explain it with parenthesis.
This should always be the case if you are using abbreviations more than once, such as SEO (Search Engine Optimization). And, you should use your best judgment if you are using other words more than once. For example, if you are writing about how to open a foreign bank account, then you may use the word “Expat” more than once. In such a case, the first time you write “Expats” you should write it as, “…expats (people residing in a country other than that of their citizenship),…”
2 – Explain Concepts With More Than Just Text
There are times when simplifying text is very difficult. For example, if you have ever tried to put together a professional bow, you will know how tricky it is following text-based instructions. If you were writing an article on putting together a professional bow, you should also explain the concept with numerous images and a video in order to make your content as useful and easy-to-understand as possible.
Infographics became popular in the early 2010s because they were a welcome change from the heavy-text-based content that people were used to seeing on the internet. Infographics offered a shorter and more visually pleasing way of conveying information. Nobody is suggesting that you add a bunch of Infographics to your website, but even a picture or two may help you explain a concept. This is especially true if your visualization is some sort of chart or mind map that explains how concepts are linked better than text could explain it.
3 – Do Not Assume That Your Reader Is Dumb
Simple-to-read articles are not written for dumb people. If you write with the assumption that your reader is dumb, then you will create dull, lifeless, and difficult-to-read content. Think of it this way, which would be more difficult to listen to, a story over the radio spoken for adults, or a story read very slowly with each word sounded out with inflection? Do not confuse simple-to-read with dumbing it down.
Simple-to-read means removing the elements of your text that typically make it difficult to read. This doesn’t mean you are dumbing it down. Do you remember old VCR instruction manuals? There were poorly translated nightmares full of incomprehensible text. Simple-to-read content is the opposite of that.
One of the problems with content that is dumbed down is that it tends to lose its personality, and personality is a difficult thing to recover from when you are dealing with text as your medium. This is not true in the movies. For example, the Wayne’s World movie scripts were intentionally lackluster and personality-free. This left space so that the actors could add all of the required personality. Sadly, this is not something you can do with text unless you are getting somebody with a lovable voice to read out your text as part of an audio book.
4 – How You Engage Depends Upon How You Target Your Audience
You cannot please all people at all times. The more you try to please everybody, the more your text becomes stale, dull, boring or useless. How engaging your content is will depend upon your target audience. For example, rushmyessay.co.uk write essays for students, but even though their essays are academically accurate, they are not engaging for anybody outside of that academic setting. Nobody is rushing home at night to read Jimmy’s book report on Moby Dick.
It is better to whisper to a small group of interested people than it is to shout your ideas out with a megaphone to a crowd. The writers who create the most engaging content are the ones who do their research in person. They are the writers who try to walk a mile in their reader’s shoes. They are the writers who empathize with their readers and who understand their problems and their desires.
5 – Give Examples And Show Them Within Your Content If Possible
Examples are a great way of explaining a concept. This is especially true if you can weave a narrative into your example. People learn better from stories than they do from raw facts. In addition, if you can demonstrate your example within your own text, then that is great too.
For example, if you are giving advice on how to write engaging content and you suggest that writers should add a funny line to the end of each paragraph, then you can demonstrate this technique yourself by adding a funny line to the bottom of your paragraphs.
Point number six explains how headers make writing easier to read, and point six is demonstrated in this very article because this article has used headers. In addition, remember that examples need not be text based. You may be able to use images to explain your examples.
6 – Use Headers Like How We Used Them Here
You should use headers in the same way that we have used headers in this article. They break up the content and make it easier to read. Plus, they add white space/negative space, which makes text less strenuous to read. Note how the text is comfortably broken up by headers in this article so that reading it doesn’t feel like work. Learn a little more about white space because on the one hand it can make reading less strenuous, but if you overuse the idea, then it makes a page look vapid and useless. White space allows the reader to concentrate on what is in front of him or her without being overwhelmed or distracted by other page elements.
Written by Brandon Stanley.