Content is no longer king. What is your readability score?
Marketers have been claiming that content is king for too long. Rather than creating lots of content, focus on the readability score of your content. That’s what the smart money is doing now.
Content marketing is not new.
The first evidence of a brand using content to reach its customers was in 1895. John Deere, the tractor manufacturers, decided to communicate with their audience in the form of a magazine. The magazine they created, The Furrow, is distributed in 40 different countries. Now that’s a content success story!
In recent years, content marketing has made a comeback after years of advertising being the preferred method of communication between brands and customers.
This is a good development. Humans like stories more than they like adverts. Brands that use content effectively to speak to their customers tell stories.
Content marketing needs a makeover
However, content marketing has become filled with cliché and lost sight of the audience content is being created for.
For too long, content is king has been the phrase every marketer believes is an absolute truth. This has contributed to masses of content being created purely for the sake of being created, with no attention paid to the customers’ needs.
In other words, content that people don’t read. And, more worryingly, content that costs brands money.
Content is no longer king. There’s a new monarch in town.
What is readability?
Readability measures how easy it is for a person to read a piece of content. A readability score will let you know what grade of education someone needs to understand the content you’re creating.
Elements that will result in a poor readability score are:
- Too much jargon
- Passive voice
- Long sentences
- Excessive use of adverbs
People often have lower reading ages than expected. Poor readability means they will search for other content that is easier to read.
Readability is how you show your readers love
Neil Patel, columnist for Forbes, Inc, Entrepreneur and online influencer, has stated that “content that people love and content that people can read is almost the same thing”.
It makes perfect sense.
Yet, a lot of content being created is not the stuff people love. Or read.
The average bounce rate is between 41% and 50%. In plainer English, this means that half of the people landing on websites click off of them immediately. More readable content is just a click away and your customers will find it.
In 2008, Jakob Nielsen, the highly regarded researcher, ran a study that showed most users read only 20% of a website page. In 2017, with up to 1,440 blogs published every sixty seconds, we can only imagine what percentage of a web page is read now.
If your content is not engaging, you’ll lose your customers in the noise.
If you don’t ensure that your content is readable, you won’t inspire your audience to take action.
Guess what? Spiders love readability too
The content you create should always be for your readers first.
However, it’s a smart move to keep the search spiders happy too. Thankfully readability serves both readers and search spiders.
Prior to the Panda algorithm update on Google, a few SEO optimized posts on your website were able to keep you ranking highly. The rest of your content could be junk, but you’d still rank well for organic searches.
Panda put a stop to that (and not a moment too soon).
Low-quality content was penalized and search rankings dropped as Google Panda came into effect. Marketers that were trying to game the system by keyword stuffing and creating huge amounts of poor quality found their website traffic fall off of a cliff.
If you’d been paying attention to the relevancy and quality of the content you’d been creating all the time, Panda would not have made any difference to you.
Now, one of the best ways to ensure that your website is optimized is by creating readable content.
How do you know the readability score for your content?
Creating content in plain English is a good way to create readable content.
You can also use a tool like VisibleThread’s Readability to find out the readability score of your content. This tool will show you what areas you need to change and suggestions to increase the readability of your content.
When you create more readable content you’ll find your engagement levels rise.
Once you’ve enjoyed the benefit of increased engagement levels, you’ll understand that readability is the new king in content marketing.