In some way or another, for whatever purpose it may be, we all express ourselves, our individuality, thoughts, passions and purposes, through the art of communication. Today, much of that expression comes in the form of writing. Both formally and informally, be it writing for academic literature, novels, journalism, social media, text messages or e-mails, we have more than enough experience writing about a wide scope of subjects. Just as the content for each of these platforms requires the writer to follow a certain structure, a certain language, writing for the Web also has its own special formula. The majority of us spend our time communicating with others, and a great portion of that happens through writing.
Everyone is a writer.
And that’s a good thing. At the same time, though, it makes it just a little bit tougher to have your words seen and appreciated. In his book on the must-dos of writing in today’s modern world, Jeff Goins lays out some necessary requirements for targeting and capturing audiences, branding yourself as a writer and building your network of fans as well as those who inspire you.
Here are some tips on how to successfully write Web content:
- Accept that you are a writer – as Goins states, you might not feel like a writer but you are one, so learn how to do it exceptionally. Pick your topic, do your research (do it well) and…begin!
- Know your goal – whether you want to inform the public about something new, sell a product, pose a question or create a call for action, understand WHY you are writing what you are writing, and make that clear throughout your content. If the reason you write isn’t apparent in your work, your audience will be lost. If you are unsure or don’t know, your audience certainly doesn’t.
- Know your audience – determine who you are directing your writing to and appeal to them and their needs. Much like a comedian has to feel out a crowd to know what type of humor to use in a joke, writers need to know their audience fairly well in order to use language, information and rhythm to appeal to and connect with their readers.
- Follow the rule of the inverted pyramid – put your primary and most important information at the very start of your article. Say it simply and clearly. Save the background for later. Give your readers a precise understanding of what you are writing about at the very beginning, in the first line or two, so they can decide if it is relevant to them. Write as though you are writing a news report – the headline should be clear, concise and simple. The first line of the report will describe exactly what has just happened, followed by the background information to catch you up if you aren’t already aware. The same applies for writing an article for a website.
- Keywords, keywords, keywords – use them to increase traffic, credibility, authority, leads and conversion rates, and ultimately, profit. Spend time on SEO keyword research in order to write the most effective article possible. Read more about enhancing content for SEO here.
- Use easy-to-read language – don’t try to write an article full of overly formal language, or content that will require readers to do more research. It is very safe to assume that the Internet will provide researchers with an overwhelming number of sources and a vast array of information on the same topic you are writing about. For this reason, website visitors tend to skim through the information quickly, looking for the most prominent data and avoiding any unnecessary text.
- Make your content skimmable – to invoke an easy, seamless and fulfilling experience for your readers, web content must include visual or aural aids. Infographics are widely used today and have proven to be successful in making textual information more engaging and effortless.
Post-writing must dos
So now you’ve gotten the words down on the page, and you’ve said everything you need to say. The work isn’t over yet, though! What are probably the most important steps don’t come until after you’ve completed the writing stage:
- Any writer, no matter how experienced, must always edit their work once they are happy with the content. It’s usually a good idea to have someone else read your work in order to get a fresh perspective, new ideas and make sure that what you’ve written makes sense to others. If you are comfortable self-editing, give your piece (and yourself) some time to breathe between the writing and editing. If you edit right away you may lose the essence of what you wanted to express by being overly attentive to the text.
- Share it! What’s the point of writing something magnificent if no one will ever see it? Get your work out there for the world to see by posting on various social media platforms. Target specific audiences that you know will be interested and get people talking.