The left-wing media delights in telling us that Donald Trump speaks at a fourth grade (10 year old) level. They see this as evidence that many of his supporters are stupid and poorly-educated.
But the truth is, it’s the journalists that are dumb.
For three reasons …
First, 90% of Americans read at a grade seven level or lower. That’s a lot of votes. (And a lot of people who are below Hillary Clinton’s eighth grade speaking level.)
Second, direct marketers know that high reading levels (above grade 8) reduce response. And that’s true even when writing to highly-educated professionals.
That’s because, when someone is reading your sales message, they’re probably not giving it 100% of their attention – at least, not at first.
Maybe they’re also watching TV, listening to their spouse, telling their kids to stop fighting…
Whatever they’re doing, odds are, they’re multi-tasking. And, as researchers at the University of London discovered, multitasking makes people dumb. In fact, when you’re multitasking, your IQ drops more than if you were smoking dope.
That’s who you’re writing to. Basically, dopeheads.
What a low grade level really means
Third, a low reading score isn’t a reflection of dumbed down communication, it’s a reflection of CLEAR communication. And, in particular, a clear message.
In a linkedin post, I talked about David Ogilvy’s Rolls-Royce ad. That ad has a 3rd grade reading level.
But Ogilvy wasn’t writing to little kids. Nor was he writing to toothless hillbillies. Instead, he was writing to people who could afford to buy a brand new Rolls-Royce.
OK, so let’s get to today’s tip: if your sales copy – that includes web pages, emails, sales letters etc. – is above a reading level of 8, it’s costing you money and you need to re-write it.
And how do you know when it’s above 8? This website will tell you:
And, it’ll even tell you which sentences are the problem.
All the best,
PS This post reads at a 6th grade level. It was easy to follow, wasn’t it?