How to Write Online
Welcome to Lesson #5 of the course.
Now you know how to listen to the conversations on the web, how to find the right niches to target, and the key individuals you should reach out to. What we’ll learn in the next few days is how to craft the right message so we can arouse their interest.
In today’s short lesson, we’ll brush up on writing for the web. What are the general writing guidelines you should follow whenever you’re writing any content or message on the internet? Here they are:
• Introduce yourself (but don’t promote yourself just yet). Who are you? Why should people be interested in what you have to say?
• Be genuine, honest, and polite. Remember what we said about “voice” and brands talking like real people?
• Try to keep text short. People are already inundated with information, so cut, cut, and cut some more.
• Use the inverted pyramid. Write the most important information at the beginning, then the second most important, and so on. As above, people don’t have much time, and they shouldn’t spend it trying to understand what your content is about. Make your message clear right from the start.
• Leave plenty of space. When you’re writing a text, split it into paragraphs and use line breaks. Many emails and blog posts now leave an empty line every two sentences to keep things light and easy to read.
• Use headlines and headings. They make things easier to understand. Don’t be afraid to use them when writing emails too.
• Keep your language informal and accessible, simple and clear.
• Use keywords. What words do the people you want to reach use? What words do they want to hear? Find them and use them.
• Insert links to other useful material. Even though you should keep things short, you should also always give people the opportunity to find out more. Link to relevant content you have published before or to other sources.
• Finally, follow specific rules if you are on a third party’s platform. For example, forums and Facebook groups, among others, often have precise rules their members should abide by.
How many of these 10 basic tips have you been applying? How would you rate yourself from one to 10?
Today, we’ve covered the basics of writing on the web; tomorrow, we’ll talk about the dear old press release and what we can do to make it . . . new.
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