Write for Humans
Of course all the clever SEO stuff like links, meta and so on are important but your writing needs to be focused on what everyday people want online. A buzz word in marketing is “buyer personas” , which simply put means painting (no I don’t want you to paint) a picture of your typical customer.
So your writing should be for them not for some imaginary executive in a glass tower (unless that IS your target).
Irrespective of glass tower or small dark cave people who read “stuff” on the web are usually looking for
- Answers to questions.
- News (good and bad).
- Product information.
- Or all of the above in one!
So your goal when writing is to do the best job with the time, expertise and resources possible to address those needs and keep these people interested. Still with me? Hope the Goldfish picture helped!
How People Read
Writing for the web tends to break a lot of the traditional rules. I worked in an e-learning environment for many years where the Microsoft Manual of Style was on all the writers desks.
Many of the rules in that manual are broken every day online as writers realise that peoples goldfish like attention spans and needs from the online written word have changed online writing completely.
This doesn’t mean your writing needs to be dumb. Not at all but if your goal is to keep peoples attention and engage with them on a screen when there are lots of other distractions (even on the same screen) means that is way more challenging.
But with the wealth of great great resources out there you won’t be short of ideas and tutorials
Write Lots – Edit More
My advice to people who want write better is write lots, edit more. In other words write like crazy and edit fanatically.
A lot of people when I tell them this look at me with sad eyes and say they don’t have the time. That is crap. We all have time.
Stop tweeting, reading Facebook and pound out 350 words on something you feel passionate about.
Don’t worry about the tools you use or the editor.
Solve that problem, deliver that news, amuse, write about your product and do it for 25 minutes using a technique like the Pomodoro one that I use and you will not only have the content written but time left to edit.
Find a good image (the ones here are free from Unsplash) add some colour it, Edit it one more time and bang you have a decent piece of content.
Finding the Time
The idea that you have to write anything in one go is flawed. If you do want to publish daily or weekly content then it makes sense to have several pieces of content on the go at all time.
Call it a content calendar if you wish but I definitely recommend having 3-4 posts on the burner all the time.
Spend those Pomorodoro minutes every day creating something new, making edits, and pushing it out there. Attached is a photo I took of this piece when I edit. I have to print and edit as I tend to be blind on the screen and use and old fashioned pen with my writing.
Disclaimer: Despite all my nice words above there is at least 2-3 grammatical errors above and maybe even a typo. But at least you read this far. You did didn’t you?