Th3 Core

Why We Are Here => Web Development => Topic started by: ukgimp on October 20, 2018, 08:02:07 AM

Title: Increase Your Share Rate
Post by: ukgimp on October 20, 2018, 08:02:07 AM
Next time you get some writing done think about these. Suspect it would work across platforms.

https://medium.com/the-mission/after-10-000-data-points-we-figured-out-how-to-write-a-perfect-medium-post-58c41c314f6a
Title: Re: Increase Your Share Rate
Post by: buckworks on October 20, 2018, 09:12:04 AM
Highly recommended reading: Writing with Precision: How to Write So That You Cannot Possibly Be Misunderstood by Jefferson D. Bates

It's an oldie but goodie. Bates used to write for NASA.

Some people take umbrage at the suggestion to write for a middle-school reading level, because they equate "using simpler language" with "dumbing down". Those are not synonymous!

Years ago I studied a number of Winston Churchill's war-time speeches and among other things I found that they usually scored around the fifth to seventh grade level according to Rudolph Flesch's reading ease test. Churchill was writing speeches long before Flesch developed his analyses, but his instincts as an orator took him to the same place.
Title: Re: Increase Your Share Rate
Post by: ergophobe on October 21, 2018, 02:08:25 AM
Some people take umbrage at the suggestion to write for a middle-school reading level
...
Winston Churchill's war-time speeches and among other things I found that they usually scored around the fifth to seventh grade level

Grapes of Wrath is reputedly written at a fifth-grade level. I just grabbed a multi-page extract and it got a Flesch-Kindcaid score of 4.9, AKA, fifth-grade.
Title: Re: Increase Your Share Rate
Post by: ergophobe on October 21, 2018, 02:09:32 AM
PS... it's harder than it might sound though. I find my tendency is long, convoluted sentences. Simplifying it takes serious effort.

If I recall, it was direct response copywriter Ted Nicholas who said to never go beyond the 8th grade level. He found that sales letters written to a max of 8th grade had better sales even when the mailing was going out exclusively to lawyers or groups with PhDs.

This surprises me though:

Quote
On Medium those articles using sentence case performed better than title case, averaging 20% more recommends.
Title: Re: Increase Your Share Rate
Post by: martinibuster on October 21, 2018, 03:33:52 AM
Hey Tom, weren't you the one that was talking about the Hemingway App? It's a great tool for identifying words and phrases that lift the grade level score.

I've been using it for a few years now.

The way I figure, if it makes it easy to understand then it must make it easy for Google, too. Less ambiguity, etc.

There are other apps that can word-cloud a page for you and that can help spot words that might not be suitable.
Title: Re: Increase Your Share Rate
Post by: ergophobe on October 21, 2018, 03:44:17 AM
Yes, I use the Hemingway App. Not as a standard editor, but from time to time.

It's a great exercise to write "Hemingway Compliant" text (which, by the way, Ernest Hemingway does not do).

It can be constraining, but I also notice that my writing can have a lot more energy.
Title: Re: Increase Your Share Rate
Post by: buckworks on October 21, 2018, 04:10:36 AM
Quote
  I find my tendency is long, convoluted sentences. Simplifying it takes serious effort.

You don't have to forgo complex sentences and specialized vocabulary if they are truly best for the job sometimes. Just be sure to balance them with plain words and simple sentences in the surrounding prose so the overall mix has a good balance.

I used to tell my technical writing classes that using big words and long sentences was like adding pepper to a recipe. Judicious use can make the dish more appealing but too much will make it indigestible.
Title: Re: Increase Your Share Rate
Post by: martinibuster on October 21, 2018, 06:36:14 AM
Quote
...but too much will make it indigestible.

Everything Nick Cave wrote.   :P



Another consideration is paragraph length.

The standard is three to four sentences per paragraph.

But that's for paper.

Less for desktop.

Ridiculously out of step for mobile.

 I don't have proof or citations that this is in any algorithm or study. It's just obvious. Not seemingly obvious. Obvious.
Title: Re: Increase Your Share Rate
Post by: ergophobe on October 21, 2018, 03:15:09 PM
You don't have to forgo complex sentences and specialized vocabulary

You do if you try writing with Hemingway!

But when I refer to my convoluted sentences, I don't mean well-written complex sentences. I mean sentences where I'm thinking as a write and pack multiple ideas into a single sentence, when the reader would be better served with a mental resting point between ideas.
Title: Re: Increase Your Share Rate
Post by: martinibuster on November 15, 2018, 12:37:57 AM
Your long and convoluted sentence did not go unnoticed.   ;D
Title: Re: Increase Your Share Rate
Post by: ergophobe on November 15, 2018, 01:33:06 AM
Sentence? In the singular? How did you pick just one ;-)