Guest post by Danielle Rodabaugh
If you’re trying to market your published work, chances are you’re using the Internet to promote it in one way or another. If you’re developing the promotional content on your own, understanding a few key rules can help you write for the web more effectively. You’ll benefit from knowing how writing for the web is both similar to and different from traditional writing forms.
How writing for the web is similar to traditional writing
Many traditional writing rules apply when writing copy for online marketing.
- Support your claims with research. Directly linking to outside research makes citing sources online extremely easy.
- Connect to your specific audience. As with traditional writing, well-written and highly informed pieces will go unread if you can’t keep readers’ attention.
- Use action verbs. When telling a story, action verbs drive the storyline. In marketing, action verbs encourage people to buy your product, which, in this case, is your writing.
- Edit with a vengeance. You wouldn’t publish an article or book without having it thoroughly edited. Promotional copy should be no different as errors divert potential customers.
- Be consistent. If you use a blog to promote your work, you need to update it regularly and with a similar style and tone.
How writing for the web differs from traditional writing
Conversely, writing effective copy for online marketing also requires you to go against some traditional writing rules.
- Formatting should be short and sweet. When writing for online consumption, you have to hold the interest of your readers. Keep all formatting as concise and efficient as possible. Online audiences typically don’t feel compelled to read an article composed of a seemingly infinite number of paragraphs.
- Use bullets to make key points obvious. Whereas you might take paragraphs to explain an idea in traditional writing, web consumption requires you to make your point as efficiently as possible.
- Explain the benefits explicitly. When promoting a product, you’re trying to advise people what to do rather than let them come to their own conclusions. To effectively persuade online readers, tell them what your product will do for them.
My final piece of advice is this: include visuals whenever appropriate. When posting marketing content online, your written word alone usually isn’t enough. Even if your web writing is top-notch, you’ll still have to attract and keep the attention of your audience. Include relevant photos, videos and infographics to further convey your message.
As a writer, you can appreciate well-thought-out and well-written content on the web. Whether you’re writing for a professional website, personal blog or other online forum, you must do so effectively if you want to successfully market yourself, your work and your craft itself.
Danielle Rodabaugh is the editor for SuretyBonds.com, a nationwide surety producer that publishes educational resources about developments in the surety industry. Danielle also writes about her online marketing experience to help entrepreneurs and business owners make the most of their ventures.