Even subconsciously, you probably already know that whatever writing you do, it’s all formula. How you write a novel differs from how you write a press release. Someone who is good at writing poetry cannot always write a report well. Different types of writing have different purposes, audiences, structures and tones.
Writing for digital audiences isn’t really hard, although many don’t know how it’s done. With practice, anyone can master it. Like all writing, there are basic principles to follow, the main consideration, though, is to write in conversational style. What’s conversational style? It means writing as you would explain something. Check out our video below for our best tip at mastering it.
As you will see in the video above, a simple technique for learning to write in conversational style is to write as you would say something. You can do this directly to screen, or consider recording yourself then transcribing what you’ve recorded.
Then it becomes a simple matter of shortening sentences and tightening your grammar.
10 tips for writing for digital audiences.
At the heart of any content strategy is copy. Learning to write digital copy well is not difficult, it just requires persistence and practice. Use these tips below to help you master the craft.
1. Write copy as you would speak it. Writing in conversational style makes you sound authentic, human and engaging. (Just read any annual report. Nobody speaks like this in real life!)
2. Do you know your subject matter well? You should know your material to add value to the reader. If necessary, do extra research before you dive into writing.
3. Keep your sentences short and tight. Be ruthless and cut fluff. The shorter, the better, and the easier it is for an audience to read. Break up long paragraphs into shorter ones.
4. Is your grammar and spelling correct? Writing conversationally is no excuse for unprofessionalism.
5. Readability is all important. As boring as it sounds, black (or dark) text on a white screen is still best for readability.
6. Avoid using long blocks of italics or all capitals unless it’s used for emphasis only. Both can be hard to read.
7. Use everyday language that is easy to understand. Avoid jargon, technical talk or corporate speak.
8. Everything should work as a teaser. Use headlines to drive readership of the first paragraph. Use the first paragraph to set up interest for the second paragraph and so on.
9. Break up large amounts of copy with sub-heads and bullet points. Remember, people are skimming screens, not wading through novels.
10. If you are writing for SEO, you’ll need to include your keywords and consider keyword density. Google tends to prefer longer copy (think 2000+ words). Webconfs is our favourite (free) tool for checking the keyword density of any published webpage. (Use it here.)
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