104 Reasons Content Matters: Reason #12: Content is Accessible

Writing Tips

In this series, I talk about why having quality content matters even in a world that is overly saturated with information, maybe especially in a world that is overly saturated with information. With so much free information, just a Google search away, how do you stand out from your competition? The answer—valuable, original content.

Reason #12: Content is Accessible

You’ve probably heard stuff like your website is your 24/7 sales team. It’s your digital business card. It represents your business and your brand at all times.

Yes to all of this!

In other words, content is accessible. While you’re fast asleep at 2am and your client is wide awake or halfway around the world thinking about business, your content is there.

That’s what I mean when I say content is accessible.

Note: I’m not talking about accessibility here in terms of your website content being accessible to people with disabilities. However, that is an important consideration. You can find website content accessibility guidelines online and I do know some lovely people who specialize in digital accessibility. I can put you in touch!

What I want to talk about is how the words you choose make your content more or less accessible to your target audience. Because your content is always available in a way that is impossible for you, you want your content to be as readable as possible. Honestly, the readability of our content can always be improved.

Tips to make your content more accessible:

  • Write plainly.
  • Use active voice.
  • Keep sentences short (no more than 25 words).
  • Avoid jargon, acronyms, and “insider” terminology.
  • Pay attention to the “readability” score on the Yoast plug-in (WordPress).

Mistakes that make content less accessible:

  • Skipping the proofreading and editing phase.
  • Creating content that’s inappropriate for the platform.
  • Cluttering up sentences with too many adjectives and adverbs.
  • Hiding behind style or design, rather than using substance as a differentiator.
  • Forgetting about structural elements, e.g., bullet points, numbered lists, headings, italics, and bold lettering.

One caveat: Take these writing tips with a grain of salt because your audience should ultimately dictate how much you follow any of the so-called “rules” of business. If your target market for a product or service is professionals in your industry, for instance, then jargon may be more than appropriate. In fact, it may be expected.

Confession: I tend to ignore “readability” scores for the most part. They are a blunt tool and don’t always give us the information we think we’re getting. The only readability score I really care about is positive feedback from clients. Many of the most popular blog posts I’ve written have low readability scores.

The type of content matters too. For example, I hardly ever watch videos online. So, if I’m part of your target market, you may be wasting time creating FB LIVE videos or webinars. I’m often in a place where I don’t want to or can’t listen to audio. Also, I read and comprehend information at a faster rate than most people talk, so I tend to lose patience quickly with video.

Generally speaking, I write the way I talk. When I’m writing for clients, I write the way they talk. This is a useful rule of thumb. Just some quick thoughts about what makes content accessible today. I hope you find them helpful!

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