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Test your e-newsletter’s readability

How do your subscribers read your e-newsletter? They don’t–they scan it. You can improve the effectiveness of your newsletter by increasing its readability, and scanability. If you’re unsure how your content measures up, use the Flesch–Kincaid tool in Microsoft Word.

The Flesch-Kincaid Reading Ease score indicates how easy a text is to read. A high score implies an easy text. To give you a point of reference, here are some examples of readability scores:

Reader’s Digest: about 65
Average 11 years old written assignment: 60–70
Time magazine: about 52
The Harvard Law Review: generally the low 30s

Follow the steps below to score your text:

  • On the Tools menu, click Options.
  • Click the Spelling & Grammar tab.
  • Select ‘Check Grammar With Spelling’ check box.
  • Select the ‘Show Readability Statistics’ check box and click OK.
  • Click ‘Spelling and Grammar’ on the Standard toolbar.

When Word finishes the spelling and grammar check it display the score.

Keeping your newsletter’s readability index around 60 to 80 will ensure that even if you’re readers are scanning they’ll still get something out of your newsletter.

PS–Since I’m sure you’re wondering, I’ll just tell you. This post has a readability index of 60.1.

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