Simple copy isn't for dummies


Pretty much every new project I work on with a new client includes the same conversation.

It goes something like this.

Me: “The message we write for our prospects must be simple, concise and to the point.”

Client: “Our customer base is very educated so we expect you to use language that reflects this. Plus, we want to sound intelligent and experts in our field so please put back the jargon and marketing-speak that you’ve taken out from our feedback.”

Me: “No. The education level of your audience has no bearing on the copy. The message must be simple to comprehend.”

It tends to be a circular discussion.

Eventually I manage to get them to see sense, and this is why.

Why simple wins every time

All persuasive writing is built on the same foundation.

Simple writing and simple language.

That’s not to say your copywriter is dumbing down your message because they don’t think your audience is very intelligent.

On the contrary, some of them will be very smart (and some not so), but the language used has no bearing on assumed intelligence (or lack of).

The point is when people look at your article, website, email, advert or brochure they’re usually thinking about 101 other things too. That means it doesn’t get their full attention or intelligence. They don’t study it carefully, which is why your content must be as simple as possible.

Then, at the end of your simple message you must include a call to action.

At times clients also question this, usually those who take the line that “our readers aren’t stupid, they know what to do next.”

Yes, they probably do, but with lots of other things competing for their attention they won’t necessarily instantly understand that they have to click here.

If you want your reader to take action you have to spell it out to them in highly specific language that gives clear details about what to do. So don’t be afraid to be too obvious.

You see simple content isn’t giving the message to your readership that you think they are dumb or uneducated. Instead, it’s showing them that you understand that they lead busy lives and are distracted, which is why you’ve created content that’s simple to comprehend and quick and easy to act on.

As a result, they’ll see you as an efficient company that puts it readers first.

So remember, keep your message simple, use simple language and include a strong and specific call to action.

Your audience will than you for it and you will get the results you want.