Shorter is Better

Here’s a caption that appeared under a photo in today’s local newspaper:

Naomi Poe, founder of Better Batter Gluten Free Flour in Altoona, Pa., learned that it is important to try to understand how your customers value your product, and to raise prices, she had to convince customers her products offered added value.

I just checked the New York Times, the original source of the story and photo. Their caption was shorter and more readable. Apparently the journalist who writes headlines for our paper forgot a useful writing rule: One idea per sentence.

Let’s take another look at that mouthful of a sentence – or, more precisely, at part of it:

Naomi Poe, founder of Better Batter Gluten Free Flour in Altoona, Pa., learned that it is important to try to understand how your customers value your product, and to raise prices,

That phrase “and to raise prices” doesn’t make sense until you read further – “she had to convince customers her products offered added value.” But by then most readers will be as lost as I was.

Solution? It’s simple. Break the sentence in two:

Naomi Poe, founder of Better Batter Gluten Free Flour in Altoona, Pa., learned that it is important to try to understand how your customers value your product. And to raise prices, she had to convince customers her products offered added value.  BETTER

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