Numerals have been tested to be an advantage in advertising and social media writing, and when used correctly, they may actually attract 10 – 20% more readers than an article that uses only letters. Whether writing for print or social media, it definitely helps to know how to use numbers to your advantage.
Ok, ok, all the old rule books say spell out numbers under 10. Use nine instead of 9. But there’s an ah ha! The exception in most writing rule books says use figures (even when the numbers are less than 10), for numbers of technical significance: percentages, pages, sizes, money, measurements, clock time, coordinates, etc.
See page 6 for the explanation.
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Now for My Best 5 Best Reasons to Use Numbers …
1. Numbers attract readers
Psychologically, people are naturally drawn to numerals more than words. They’re visually different from most text, so readers are much more likely to take notice of them. This works to your advantage when you want to draw attention to a particular element of your writing, such as a benefit customers will receive (“Buy 2, get 1 free!”). Numbers also represent facts, so they naturally attract people who are searching for concrete information.
2. Facts and statistics create authority: so use numbers
Cold, hard facts are almost always more effective than generalizations. McDonald’s doesn’t just say “We’ve served lots of people!” They spell it out for you: “Over 10 billion served.” If you can assign a specific number to your claims, your writing will come across as much more authoritative.
3. Shocking info: Numbers read faster
It takes a lot less time to read “525″ than “five-hundred and twenty-five.” Fewer characters means that your writing will take up less space and be quicker to read, which ultimately means that your audience is more likely to read what you have to say. This is especially important for headlines, which are designed to get your reader interested with an extremely limited amount of writing.
4. Let readers know what to expect by numbering your points
When you write a headline using numerals (such as “10 Reasons to Choose Product X”), the audience knows exactly what to expect. Taking away the mystery of your content makes it easier to get the audience interested because they know they’re not going to be stuck reading a 20-page article.
5. Numbered lists are easier to read and write
Not only are numbered bullet points a great way to make it easier for readers to skim your content, they also make it easier to keep track of which bullet point was just read. Also, a numbered list format allows you to split up a large topic into several digestible bites; simply create a basic numbered outline of the various elements you plan to write about and fill in the appropriate fields.
If you have discovered 1, 2, 3, 4 or 5 reasons for liking and/or sharing this blog, please do so, thanks!