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How To Create Readable Ad Copy

Using simple words is the way to make ad copy readable. According to experts, to be easily read, copy should be written at a sixth to ninth grade level. (Writing to a sixth grade level means the words used could be easily recognized by someone with a sixth grade education.)

Readability studies have found well-known publications follow these guidelines. Here is a list of popular periodicals and the educational level they write for:

Wall Street Journal

11th Grade

Reader's Digest

9th Grade

People Magazine

7th Grade

National Enquirer

5th Grade

Source: Great Promo Pieces by Herman Holtz

If you are an agent who works with highly educated clients, you may think tyou need to write at a higher grade level to get and keep their interest in your ad. This is not true. Even highly educated consumers like simple wording because it takes less effort to read.

Don't use fancy words and jargon. Busy readers are likely to skip right over them. Simple words and the ability to get directly to the point will determine how many people read and respond to your advertising. Experts believe it's best to write using words an eighth grader understands.

Use these guidelines to make your ad copy easy to read:

  1. Most words should have five or fewer letters.
  2. Vary sentence length, but keep sentences short. Usually 15 words or less.
  3. Keep paragraphs short. Two or three sentence paragraphs work well. One sentence paragraphs are effective when you're trying to emphasize something important.

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