Award-winning writer Kathy Widenhouse has helped hundreds of nonprofits and writers produce successful content and has gained 600K+ views for her writing tutorials. She is the author of 9 books. See more of Kathy’s content here.
Online writing is any kind of text that you read on a
digital device – on a computer, tablet, or smartphone.
It’s also called digital writing.
But good digital writing is not a simple cut-and-paste job from print matter into the back end of a web page or onto a social media post.
Yes, each online format has a unique structure. But all web writing formats have a few things in common – things that are distinct from print writing.
Study after study bears out this truth: people read print, often word for word. But online, they skim.
Don’t you? Think about how you read a book. You read it sequentially, concerned that you might miss a detail or a scene.
Writing Tip: format your content so that it is easy to skim online. Put the most important content first – the information that your reader must have or wants most. Then break up your writing into short segments, with plenty of subheadings, bullet points, and white space.
When your reader decides that she wants more information online, make it simple for her to digest: short sentences. Short paragraphs. Simple, conversational language.
Good writing online is clear and concise – the kind of content or copy that’s easy to read.
Writing Tip: online, write paragraphs of just 4 or 5 lines. Write sentences that average 15-20 words. Longer than that? Break them up.
How can you tweet it … blog about it … post it on Facebook or Instagram … combine it with other content to make an eBook … use it to create a podcast … write an ad … use it to build a brochure … even text a link … so readers can learn more?
Re-usable content saves time and gets your message across with more impact. It’s a hallmark of good online copy and content. You can easily repurpose it for another format.
That doesn’t mean content must be long. In fact, many forms of online writing are short (think Twitter’s 140 characters.) Good content contains enough substance so that writers can adapt it to different mediums.
Here is where YOUR skills are so valuable. You can write content once and then restructure it for different formats – both online and offline.
Writing Tip: When writing content or copy, always ask, “How can I use this content in another way?”
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