Ann Wylie never disappoints.
Her presentation at this year’s IABC World Conference featured her latest tips on writing for readability.
As always, they were based on research by the likes of API, Jakob Nielsen, and even the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development.
Ann’s presentations are always dense with recommendations for B2B copywriters. There’s a hundred I could discuss, each more valuable than the last. But I’ll pick just one to share today.
StoryToolz is an amazing online tool. It helps copywriters understand just how readable — or unreadable — their copy is.
StoryToolz lets you paste up to 5,000 words of text into a handy-dandy online box. Then, you sit back and watch StoryToolz slice and dice your readability.
- Check reading levels. Flesch-Kincaid Grade Level, LIX Formula, or Coleman-Liau. It’s your choice.
- Evaluate sentences. StoryToolz measures the readability of sentences in variety of ways — words per sentence, number of short versus long sentences, and sentences per paragraph, for example.
- Expose awkwardness. StoryToolz even reveals the clunkiness in your text. It measures, for example, the number of “to be” verbs, the number of auxiliary verbs, and the number of nominalizations. (Nominalizations, BTW, are those delightful noun phrases such as “offshore financial investment strategy managers.”)
- Start right. For the truly hard core, StoryToolz even helps you analyze how you begin sentences. If you tend to start sentences with draggy subordinating conjunctions such as “In order to,” or “As long as,” for example, StoryToolz will tell you.
StoryToolz was just one of the many resources that Ann shared. Her sessions are always valuable, so if you didn’t catch her at #iabc12, check out her calendar. Find a session near you.
If you’re a business writer, I promise you won’t regret it.
Samantha Enslen runs Dragonfly Editorial. She considers Ann Wylie a mentor.