Content Simplicity

By | August 29, 2016

Content simplicity can mean a number of things.  Firstly there’s the plain English element, using simple and elegant language which is easy to understand.  Shorter sentences.  Fewer idioms, colloquialisms and acronyms.

Then there is the broader content structure which, of course, should respect the rules of language, tone of voice and brand guidelines, but what about the context of that content?  What is your reader looking to achieve and how can you help them to attain that goal? If you want your readers to respond by taking an action as a result of reading your content, you should clearly explain not only the features but also the benefits:

  • Features are what a service/product can offer
  • Benefits explain how those features are useful and relevant to the user

So what?

To ensure that your content is aligned with the perceived benefits to the reader carry out the ‘so what?’ test. Take any piece of content that makes a claim. If your audience can respond with ‘so what?’ they’re not buying-in to the benefit. The content needs to engage the reader and include the benefits, right up the point where a connection is made and ‘so what?’ has been addressed.

Copy which is feature-led is one-sided and rarely engages the reader as it is business-centric and not inclusive. To create a benefit-led statement, flip the content. Surface the benefits first and follow-up with the features. This is fundamental to engaging the customer so it’s worth putting in the effort and making it plain to your readers. Go for it.

Surface the why

Why should a customer engage with your business? Why should they choose your product or service over that of a competitor? How can you make your content more intuitive?

  • Elevate the message – what is the core message you need to get across? Move it up the page. Remove the need for your customers to scan the content to find what they are looking for.
  • Allow people to find out more – pique your readers’ interest. Enable them to move from benefits to features and to make an informed decision.
  • Allow customers to carry out a task – you’ve got them hooked; what now? Encourage them to move seamlessly on to the next stage in the process and guide them to perform an activity.

Benefits are the key to appealing to the reader. And if that means writing longer copy to get those benefits across, this is the time to do it.