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Posts Tagged ‘continuous improvement’

Flesch-Kincaid, that is. I don’t remember when I first heard of the idea of “metrics” for copywriting. When I was younger I don’t believe I would have ever put the two concepts together. Of course, back then I didn’t consider myself a copywriter, but A WRITER, as in my (unfinished) novel or my (almost but not quite) optioned screenplay.

Sigh.

Anyway, however I discovered The Flesch-Kincaid Index, I have definitely embraced it. I don’t understand how it works, but it has become standard tool for me. It’s a benchmark I can point to, either for my own edification or to reassure the client.

If there’s one thing Japanese Continuous Improvement has taught me (more about that in a future post) it’s the importance of baseline measurement. So I write the first draft. Then, I hit F7 (spelling and grammar) and take the baseline. 12th grade level? 29% readability? Yikes! Then I go looking for the culprits. Sometimes they are evident. When they aren’t, I will run the tool on individual paragraphs or even sentences to narrow it down.

The same goes for client-supplied copy, and this may be where it really comes into play. Sometimes the client, who totally had to be sold on the idea of an outside copywriter in the first place, refuses to see what Mister Fancy Word Guy brings to the equation. That’s when I say, “Look, Hemingway. I’ve taken you down three grade levels, increased your readability by 50% and completely eliminated the passive voice. In your FACE, dude!”

I find the client appreciates that kind of passion.

For all you Flesch-Kincaidians out there, today’s numbers are: 4% passive, 66.8 readability and 6.7 grade level. I’ll take those numbers for a Friday!

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