When less is more

“For sale: baby shoes, never worn.”

– Ernest Hemingway


Hemingway’s 6-word story talks about selling a pair of shoes but it has a deep emotional subtext.


In this example, Hemingway was able to evoke intense emotion in his readers while demonstrating you don’t need a lot of words to tell a powerful story. You just need to say the right things.


The more we read online, the more important it is to write with the same brevity (and hopefully power) as Hemingway.


Here’s why.


Reason 1:  Our online reading speed drops by 50%

Do you remember what you were reading when you were 8 or 9? It was probably a children’s book with lots of images and short sentences. It’s these short, simple sentences that prompted us to continue reading and helped us understand the story. Now as adults, that’s how we read online.


If you are promoting your business in any online format (e.g. pdf brochure, blog or website), you need to keep your sentences short with a simple structure to ensure your message is easily understood.


Research has shown our online reading speed drops by 50%. To compensate for this drop in speed, we are more likely to scan online content than read it. Scanning information affects our reading comprehension levels. As a result, it’s recommended each online sentence should contain less than 25 words.


Reason 2:  You have a global audience

People from across the globe could visit your website or read your blog. Many of them will be fluent in English but equally, a lot will have English as their second language.


When writing online, you need to be aware of this and appeal to your audience as a whole. Otherwise, you risk losing potential customers simply because your content is difficult to understand.


Reason 3:  Australia is multi-cultural

Even if your website or blog only attracts Australian visitors, we are a multi-cultural country with a large range of English reading skills. So for the best results, you need to speak to everyone without talking down to potential customers.


Need help writing your online marketing collateral?

Consider It Done Australia specialises in Writing Words that Sell for small and medium sized businesses. To discover if we can help you, visit our website or contact Karen at enquiries@consideritdoneaustralia.com.au

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