By Tony Vidler
As our clients and prospects get bombarded with more and more stuff each day, we have to work that much harder to make our valuable content stand out and get noticed. It is a challenge when we never set out to be journalists, or professional writers, or whatever.
There is a lot of good science and knowledge available to us now about how the typical consumer absorbs and processes information. For example; I had no idea 20years ago that people automatically divide written content into “thought units” in their minds. But I learned it a few years ago and am mindful of it now when writing or presenting. Essentially the “thought unit” process means that people find it easier to digest little “chunks” of information than big long sentences and paragraphs, such as this one has become soon…
….I have known, and frequently use the technique, of creating “thought units” artificially through the use of an ellipsis. That is one of these things “…” and it helps readers break information into chunks they can digest easily. That is smarter, not harder, when it comes to getting information across.
Here is a new thing I just learned which I think will be really helpful to any professional wanting to communicate with their audience more effectively, and it is similar to the ellipsis technique, but far more clever. Too clever for me to have worked out by myself.
The average reader sees 29 letter spaces.
But only sees 17 clearly.
So how can we use this in our marketing and client communications to help cut through the market noise and confusion, and get key messages across quickly? Two things stand out:
We will often see headlines such as the following in professional services newsletters, press releases, blogs and so on:
That is clearly wider than the normal eye span comprehension of 17 characters…and is wider than the 29 characters which are seen but not entirely comprehended. So we need to trim that down to the core message, and then craft it to fit to Focal Point width. We might end up with something like this instead after doing so:
Breaking the message down into two focal points, on 2 lines, makes comprehension substantially easier without losing the core message. As an added bonus we had to work hard to get rid of some jargon, and that makes it even easier for prospects and clients to comprehend. If they can comprehend it quickly then you are far more likely to have their attention and generate interest.
And that was the point of writing anything wasn’t it?
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