Content marketing and writing for the web in particular is a unique and specific skill that you need to learn if you ever want to prosper online. In many ways, the same laws of writing that we learned all those years back at school still apply and anything that makes your writing more engaging and entertaining will still work online. It’s just that the online world is different, audience’s attention spans are almost none existent which means that we have a few other additional considerations to bear in mind and some unique pointers that can help you to grow and thrive on the web. Here we will look at tips for writing generally and especially for the web.
Get On With It
Books have long introductions which are great for setting the scene and especially in print they can make your writing seem much more professional. When writing for an online audience however, you don’t want to waffle on before getting to the meat in your article. Online introductions tend to be short and they basically tell the reader what they are going to learn, within the main body of the article. The sooner you start delivering on the promise of the title, the fewer people you’ll lose and the less ‘boring’ your writing will seem.
Space it Out
Another great tip for beating those short attention spans is to space out your content and to break it up with headings, sub-headings and bullet points. Your website visitors won’t read large blocks of text, instead they scan pages and only stop to read something when they find something of interest, by breaking your page up your engagement will increase as people can scan the page more easily.
Similarly don’t capitalize all of the letters in headings as these cannot be scanned. The right typeface also goes a long way. This way people can quickly scan the text on your site and get an idea as to the gist of each section. They’ll then be able to quickly decide whether it’s for them or not.
Share Your Sources
If your aim is to develop trust and authority through your writing, then sharing sources is a great way to get people on board, especially if you can link to studies, surveys or official sites to back up your opinions. Google also likes it when you do this, so it’s very good for search engine optimization.
Share Your Opinion and Be Chatty
While you might want to sound professional, you also want to make sure that your writing is easy to read and flows naturally just as if you were talking. You also need to avoid content that’s too dense and filled with jargon to be enjoyable to read, remember not everyone will understand all that jargon so dumb it down, share your opinions and just be yourself, which is exactly what an online audience want.
The best way to ensure your content flows well and is readable for the web, is to try reading it to yourself afterwards. While writing, imagine that you’re talking to a friend and write the way you would normally speak. Note though that you of course might need to be more or less colloquial depending on the nature of the site it will be published on and the topic you are writing about.