What are readability levels?

From analyzing our database of content, we identified five levels of readability, that when maintained consistently through out your content, will help drive engagement.

Overview

One of the key elements that drives content performance is the complexity level of the language used in creating the content. At Atomic Reach, we measure this complexity via readability levels.

We label these five levels from simplest to most complicated: General, Knowledgeable, Specialist, Academic, and Genius.

What is important to keep in mind is that the readability level is not a measure of the complexity level of your topic, but the complexity of your writing style. For example, content written with longer sentences and elaborate flourishes leans towards Genius, while content written with shorter sentences in a straight-forward fashion leans towards General.

A few things that affect readability are: the density of syllables to words and words to sentences, length of sentences, length of paragraphs. Managing these carefully will help you achieve a consistent writing style.

Many of our clients write about subjects that can be difficult to understand such as medical procedures or technology, often their target audience is not necessarily their colleagues but the average person. This means that the writing style they use to deliver their content needs to be simpler to be effective.

An Example

Here is an example of the same phrase talking about content marketers written at each of the readability levels.

  • General:
    As a group of content marketers we talk a lot about creating engagement and getting in touch with our reader on a human level.
  • Knowledgeable:
    As a group of content marketers we talk a lot about rising engagement and connecting with our audience on a human level.
  • Specialist:
    As a community of content marketers we often talk about creating engagement and connecting with our audience on a human level.
  • Academic:
    As a community of content marketers we often talk about generating engagement and connecting with our audience on a human level.
  • Genius:
    As a community of content marketers we often converse about generating engagement and establishing connections with our audience on a human level.

Notice that while all of the sentences convey the exact same meaning, the style each sentence is written in is distinctively different. The General sentence is a much simpler sentence to read than the Genius one even with just a few words changed.

In general, most users will find that their audience prefers one readability level over the others, and usually experience the greatest success when they write to that specific readability level.

Questions?

If you have any questions, feature requests, or would like a demo of our Atomic Content module, please reach out to support@atomicreach.com.