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BUSINESS BROCHURE WRITING: Why It's Important That a 5th Grader Understands Your Brochure

Why It's Important That a 5th Grader Understands Your Brochure
No matter what’s your business or service, you need to write your brochure at a level that even a 5th grader can understand.

Now I hear you saying . . .”But I don’t know of any 5th grader in the market for single premium immediate annuities.”

That’s probably true. And, if there were, it undoubtedly is a very, very niche market – of 1 or 2, maybe.

So you definitely can’t build your business on selling single premium immediate annuities to 5th graders.

But neither can you afford to talk to your ideal prospect as though he or she is an actuary with a Ph.D.

And even if he or she was that actuary with a Ph.D, chances are your ideal prospect would appreciate simple, clear communication.

And certainly not because your prospect is a bale short of a full load. Its because your prospect – like all of us these days – is avalanched with information. And needs to live life at warp speed, just to keep up with the day-to-day.

So the clearer, the simpler, your brochure copy, the easier — and quicker — it is for your prospect to grasp how you can solve his or her problem. And the easier – and quicker – it is that you’ll make that sale.

And 5th grade level is where it’s at. It’s about where the average newspaper’s reading level is these days.

Ok. So it all sounds good in theory. How can you make it happen? I’ll be glad to help you.


The Flesch-Kincaid Test


According to the Wikipedia, the Flesch/Flesch-Kincaid Readability Tests are designed to show how difficult a reading passage is to understand.

There are two tests, the Flesch Reading Ease and the Flesch-Kincaid Grade Level. Both these systems were designed by Rudolph Flesch, an author, readability expert and writing consultant who was among the first champions of using plain English. One of his more popular books was “Why Johnny Can’t Read.” You, too, can apply the Flesch system to your own writing. (And you don’t have to be a reading expert versed in scientific testing to do so.)

All you need to do is to use Microsoft Word.

And here’s what you do:

After you’ve written the final draft of your brochure copy, go to your drop-down menu under “Tools” and click on: “Spelling and Grammar.” Let it run through its paces. (Caution: Don’t make this the only way you proof your brochure.)

After its gone through your copy, a box will pop up with all sorts of information. At the very bottom is your Flesch-Kincaid readability score. It shows it according to grade level.

If your score is higher than 5th – or 6th, at the highest – then you need to rework your sentences into shorter, clearer sentences,shorter paragraphs, more basic English.

This little feature in Word is very, very useful for keeping your copy as understandable as possible.


The 5th Grader Test


Another good test is “The 5th Grader Test.” (Yes, actual 5th Graders were used in this process. However, none were harmed during the testing.)

If you know of someone’s child or grandchild who fits the bill, why not ask them to read your brochure copy? Ask them: “Do you understand what my business about?” “Do you know what I sell, do?”“If you were my customer, would you buy what I have? Why or why not? “If you were my customer, what do I want you to do after you read the brochure?”

This 5th grader’s answers to these questions will be very insightful for you. They’ll give you a sense if you told your story clearly, particularly what your business is all about, and tell you if you were clear in your call to action. These parts are some of the most vital in your brochure.

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