Researchers at the Nielsen Norman Group recently did a study on how to make ads and messages more readable to readers of all levels. In her latest “Writing with Wylie” column in PRSA Tactics, Ann Wylie discusses the implications of this study for us communicators. Unsurprisingly, the low-literacy group was outperformed by the highly literate group. In the study, those who read the ads faster had a better understanding of what was in the ad then those who took longer to read it.

None of the participants in the study enjoyed reading the ads, but particularly the lower-literacy group. However, if an ad was easier to read, all of the participants enjoyed it more. The researchers rewrote the ad, using shorter, clearer words and sentences. That resulted in both groups better understanding the message.

Once the messages were more concise, both groups were able to read and understand the ads with more ease. According to Wylie, “When you make your messages easier to read, everyone wins.” This is a good reminder that media relations and advertising professionals need to put the work in to make our messages concise, direct and clear, so everyone wins. With this new information, how will it change the way you write?

Stay tuned…