On this episode, I talk with Erik Weihenmayer about his books Touch the Top of the World: A Blind Man’s Journey to Climb Farther than the Eye Can See: My Story and No Barriers: A Blind Man’s Journey to Kayak the Grand Canyon. We discuss his journey to reaching the seven summits, fear, where inspiration comes from, leadership, and much more. I really enjoyed my conversation with Erik, and I know you will be inspired by his story as well.
People are always working on making their content more accessible to wider audiences. But writing quality content that is accessible means more than just making the text readable and understandable. Content being accessible also means that you have to lead your reader through the text in a way that offers value and an understanding of what the content is all about.
What is Accessible Writing?
Writers are supposed to create content that different people can consume. The content should be accessible to people who use screen readers, keyboard navigation, or braille interface, as well as people using mobile and desktop devices, and people of various cognitive capabilities.
You should consider things like:
- Is there too much jargon?
- Is the message still clear without the images, videos, or colors?
- Is the markup clean?
- Does it work on mobile?
- Is the content scannable?
In order to make the content accessible, you need to:
- Use headings. They make the content more scannable.
- Avoid directional language. Put directions just below the title.
- Create a hierarchy. Put the most important information first and elaborate later.
- Label required fields in forms clearly. Carefully think about what is required.
- Use descriptive links. Don’t use ‘click here’ or ‘learn more’.
- Use simple language – shorter sentences and paragraphs, no jargon or slang, elaborate the abbreviations, and so on.
- Use alt text. This means that you should add a text that describes an image, in case a user can’t see the image.
- Put transcriptions on all videos.
- Have high contrast between background and font. The text needs to be easy to read. (Green text on a black background is a terrible option, for instance.)
- Avoid images if you can describe it in writing. Even though people love images, there are those who can’t see them, and this makes your text inaccessible to them.
Tools to Make Your Writing Accessible
Luckily, there are many tools out there that can make your writing more accessible for all audiences. Here are some of the best tools that can help you improve your content:
Grammar is one of the most important things when it comes to the overall readability of your text. If grammar rules are not followed throughout the text, it can be hard for your readers to understand what it says. This is why these tools could make your life easier. These two are grammar checkers that work in a simple, yet effective way. You paste the finished text in their editor, and in a few seconds, you get a finished report on your grammar accuracy. The only difference between them is that Writing Populist offers a plagiarism checker.
Proofreading is a tedious task that no writer likes to do, but even the strongest of writers need it. Tiny mistakes can happen to anyone, but they make the text really confusing.
Luckily, there are tools that can help you out, and these two have been recommended by Revieweal. All you need to do is copy the text into their software and it discovers all of your mistakes.
There are many great blogs on the subject of writing, but these two are some of the best. You can visit them and read many accessibility writing tips and guidelines for better content, as well as find some tips from professionals who have done research and tried many different approaches to writing.
These editing tools have been reviewed by OXessays reviews and their quality has been confirmed. Editing is quite time-consuming on its own and you can never be sure that it’s really up to code. However, with these tools all you need to do is enter your content, and they will let you know what should stay and what should go.
Writing is always easier if you break it down into a series of simple steps or milestones. These tools give you an idea on what steps to take in order to finish the content properly. For instance, if you have a text of 2500 words to write, these tools break it down into small paragraphs and tasks related to SEO and accessibility.
If you are a new business garnering less than $5 million in sales, then you will probably be spending 7 to 8% of your gross revenue on marketing and advertising – as recommended by The U.S. Small Business Administration. Because your company is relatively new, marketing will certainly be a crucial ally in terms of building brand awareness and reaching and retaining your target audience. In order to make the most of your marketing spend, steer clear of the following mistakes, which can stand in the way of your profit goals and potentially stall your business in terms of growth.
Making Blind Decisions
Your marketing strategy should be based on a thorough analysis of what your customers need. Be very careful about changing things because just one client or colleague doesn’t like it. Every marketing decision – from branding right through to social media – should have a statistical why and wherefore and that means working hard to obtain crucial data. Your business should use more than one method to obtain information about your customers. These include but are not limited to transactional data (what products or services are clients interested in and what strategies have you used for these products?); Google Analytics (to understand click patterns and frequency, etc.); surveys and polls; and user-generated feedback that you compile from your social media sources. GAP learned the lesson when it comes to making changes that weren’t backed by statistics, when they changed their famous logo to a lackluster one that failed to resonate with its audience. The result? Two days later, the old logo was back!
Around 78% of people watch online videos on a weekly basis and 55% do so every day, according to HubSpot, so if you are working non-stop on your social media presence, don’t forget to include cracking video content. Your videos should be targeted at your market in a well-thought-out fashion. If you are in the luxury sector, for instance, you will need quality video recording equipment with optimal audio. If you are a young startup, then in-house videos are okay – but they will still need to look and sound good. Invest in the right professionals once your company can afford it. Sloppy editing and poor sound are two of the biggest turn-offs for savvy viewers.
Average smartphone rates have increased by 64% compared to the average desktop rates, according to socPub, so your website should be fully optimized. Mobile users (and this includes tablet users as well) should be able to navigate through your site quickly, finding content they need intuitively through optimal design. To optimize for mobile, make sure that all images and videos can be viewed without a hitch, provide readers with readable text they do not need to zoom, make sure loading speed is up to scratch, and generally ensure that users can get to where they want to on your site in a couple of clicks.
Forgetting Who You Are
Coke made the mistake of its life when it aimed to rival Pepsi’s sweeter formula with a brand new formula that essentially admitted that Pepsi had won the beverage war. When customers began to hoard old cans containing the original flavor and, of course, clamor about the big faux pas, the brand quickly returned to its original formula, finally understanding that tradition was very much the backbone of the Coca-Cola company’s success. It is certainly a competitive world out there and although keeping up to date with what your competitors are offering and their marketing strategies are key, it is vital to remember your target audience and to not try to be everything to everyone; loyalty to those who are backing your company is key.
To get your marketing strategy right, make decisions based on what your company stands for and stay true to your ethos, especially if the formula has been working thus far. Finally, present the best possible image of your company on desktop and mobile, investing in professionals that will relay the desired image of your company to your target audience.