Business Writing

How to Write for Busy Readers

How can you write reports and articles that keep the attention of busy executives? A recent white paper (click here to read the article) shares a layered approach to organizing content so that readers can skim, explore for overall insights, and then read comprehensively. Here are the three “layers” of reading:

  • The Skimming Layer:  In less than 1 minute, reader skims page by page to see if reading the paper will be a valuable investment of their time.  Graphics and layout can play an important role in inspiring readers to stay with it.
  • Preliminary Reading:  In 15-30 minutes, readers get more details about the author’s points.
  • Comprehensive Reading & Recommendations:  Actually reading the entire document and using it to make recommendations for your business.

Approaching document design from the perspective of reading “layers” helps us pay attention to the organization and visual hierarchy of information. Using clear visual elements for the most important text allows readers to quickly skim, rule-out irrelevant articles and focus on the ones that offer the most useful or engaging insights.

The ultimate goal is to write engagingly enough that readers desire a chance to sit down, focus and dive in to the content at a comprehensive level. Reading comprehensively is exhausting and requires great focus. As creative content developers for organizations in Cincinnati, Indianapolis, Austin, Washington D.C. and beyond, we utilize document design software like InDesign to create gorgeous, well-organized and visually clear deliverables that help readers quickly skim and then dive in for full immersion.

Check out our 25 page eBook for small business owners that we created for our client, BidView as a great example of the power of designing documents to accommodate busy executive readers. Notice the use of call-out text, columns, infographics and even white space as a means of promoting digestible chunks of text.

Get in touch with us to learn more about our approaches to creating research-based reports and documents that follow plain language guidances and 508 compliance while also engaging readers through compelling stories and data presentation.

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