Writing effective online articles requires a much different approach than any other type of writing so leave the “legalese” for your legal briefs; here, your words should be short and your message clear and direct.
Online readers scan quickly for content and move on if they don’t quickly see information of direct relevance to them. Your copy must be concise, easy to scan and objective.
This type of writing may seem simple but is harder than it looks. Remember these 10 tips when writing for an online audience:
- Brevity is key. Readers want to find information quickly, get the facts and get out. Don’t you?
- Your post should be information rich. “No frills” writing will allow you to create a substantial amount of information into a few paragraphs.
- Keep headlines short, simple and focused on the point of the article. Include key words that will help get your article picked up by search engines.
- Sum up the main point of the article in the first paragraph. This lets the reader know exactly what the article is about and what knowledge they can expect to take away at the end.
- Readers will be turned off by promotional writing, so don’t sell. Blogging is a much more subtle type of marketing – the purpose is to establish yourself as a thought leader in your area of specialty by sharing your expertise. The minute you talk about your firm’s benefits, readers lose interest.
- Use meaningful sub-headings (not “clever” ones)
- Highlight keywords (hypertext links serve as one form of highlighting; typeface variations and color are others).
- Use bulleted or numbered lists. Readers love them.
- Keep your articles within 350 to 450 words, or about 3 to 4 short paragraphs.
- Include at least one high quality graphic.