I rarely teach the basics of online writing to anyone except my university students. At writers conferences, as well as on my own blog, I get so focused on people’s desire to succeed in traditional forms (books, journals, articles, etc) that I don’t consider addressing the craft and technique of online writing.
It’s a mistake I need to remedy.
Online writing skills are critical, particularly since authors need to be increasingly adept at online marketing and promotion—see here.
Here are 5 basics to keep in mind, whether you’re writing for a website, blog, or social media—anything from Facebook to YouTube to Reddit!
1. Brevity is your friend.
Less than 20% of text gets read online. Put your word count on a strict diet.
2. Make your content scannable.
- Online readers are typically task-oriented
- Get to the point quick
- One idea per paragraph (even one-sentence paragraphs are OK)
- Add white space, subheads, lists, and/or quotes
- Headlines need to be literal
Speaking of headlines …
3. Clear and direct headlines get more clicks. [Read more…]