The basics of writing are the same whether you write for an online audience or a print audience. However, there are certain differences in the writing approach and it is important to understand those differences for the greatest impact.
In some respects, it is easier to get your writing read online than it is in print. However, it is very important to keep in mind that it is not sufficient to simply put words on a page and think that that is the end of that. Before you start writing for your online audience, you must understand what your audience needs and express it in such a way that the content is read and received very enthusiastically and with a burning desire to read more.
The basics of successful online writing
The basic writing skills that will be discussed here are essential whether you are writing for a blog, social media or your website.
Clear and concise content
It is a known fact that a very small percentage of online content is actually read. It is very important that you don’t allow your content to ramble on and on. Whatever content you do offer, it must be important enough for other people to want to actually pay attention to it.
Make sure that your content can be read
You need to make sure that your content can be read for several reasons.
- The majority of your online audience thinks in terms of tasks.
- Your audience doesn’t want you to waste time with large amounts of content. They also don’t have a great deal of time to spend with your online content.
- Don’t crowd your content too much. If you present 4 to 6 important ideas throughout your entire article, that is more than enough. You should try not to put more than one concept or idea per paragraph. Your paragraphs don’t have to be of equal length. You just need to break up the concepts and not have more than one in any given paragraph. If you do, it may be too much for your audience to absorb.
- Spread the content around. When it comes to online content, there is nothing wrong with spreading it out and making good use of white space. Of course, it also goes without saying that what you do present should be meaningful, compelling and valuable.
- Your headlines need to get to the point and grab the audience’s interest quickly and hold their interest for the duration of the article.
The value of a direct headline
It is critical to remember that you have no more than 3 seconds to grab your audience’s attention with the headline. If the language in your headline is confusing or ambiguous, you won’t succeed in holding their attention. If you can’t hold their attention beyond the headline, that will be the end of that. It is an excellent idea to go back to previous articles that you have written and look at t he headlines. Analyze what those headlines said and how they said it. The clearer and tighter your headlines are, the more positive the response will be from your audience.
Compartmentalize your content whenever possible
First of all, it is a very smart idea to use some kind of content management system. If you are, you should be organizing your content as much as possible. This is good for you and good for your readers. You can also compartmentalize the content that you find on other people’s websites and blogs. If it is valuable content in your opinion, grab it and save it in an organized manner. You will need to use it in some capacity later.
Make sure that the search engines can find you
It is very important for you to understand that if the search engines don’t pick up your content, nobody will know that you exist. You are often taught in life that it isn’t nice to “blow your own horn”; however, when it comes to online content and getting people to notice what you are offering, you need to self-promote in an effective yet subtle way.
When it comes to sharing your online content, make sure that you make it clear, concise compelling and educational. Your goal is to make sure that your audience members read what you are sharing, want to read more and share it with their friends. Viral is a very good thing in this particular medium. Always make sure to have your audience in mind when you are writing and when you are posting. They will appreciate it and your business will be better for it. Manage your content very carefully and make sure that it is all that it can be for everyone involved.
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Carolyn Cohn is the Chief Editor of CompuKol Communications LLC. Mrs. Cohn has a wealth of experience in business writing as well as having a strong editorial background. She manages all of the company’s writers, journalists and editors as well as writing, editing and publishing several business articles a week on a consistent basis, which are syndicated globally.
Mrs. Cohn has run several editorial departments for other companies. She has over 25 years of editorial experience and her expertise covers a wide range of media, such as online editing, and editing books, journal articles, abstracts, and promotional and educational materials.
Throughout her career, Mrs. Cohn has established and maintained strong relationships with professionals from a wide variety of companies. The principle that governs her work is that all words need to be edited.
Mrs. Cohn earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in English from the State University of New York (SUNY) at Buffalo.
Mrs. Cohn is a member of the American Medical Writers Association (AMWA).