Writing for the Web in an Age of Short Attention Spans

Write Effectively for the Web

As marketers, we all know the mantra “Content is King”.   Everywhere we look, we are told that original content is the key to marketing success in 2014.  9 out of 10 organizations  already market with content and believe that content creation is the single most effective SEO tactic.

So with all the time we spend on creating original content, we have to make sure what we are putting out on the web is valuable, interesting and most importantly, engaging and share-worthy.  Part of keeping the readers’ attention is to write and structure your piece in a way that can be read and understood quickly.  To that end, we can apply the techniques of Macrowriting to our writing for the web.

Macrowriting is a writing style that focuses on the “big picture” and the message as a whole.  This style of writing is ideal for when you want to get your point across quickly and effectively – which is precisely what you want to do when you write for the web.  Here are a few techniques for Macrowriting:

High Skim Value

Structure your piece so that readers can easily skim through or refer to certain sections easily. Make sure of headings and subheadings to group ideas together or to emphasize certain words or phrases.

Clear and Logical Progression of Ideas 

As your readers are scanning through the copy, use the headings and different sections of the piece to help them move from one idea to the next.  Provide linkage between sections so they can understand the ties between them and understand reasoning.   Use white space and paragraphs to break up your content visually.  Divide text into shorter blocks of 150 – 200 words if possible.  Keep paragraphs short with 5 sentences or less.

Basic Grammar & Writing Style

Write is writing – no matter the medium.  Good writing still requires organized thoughts, grammatically sound and well structured sentences.  Avoid run on sentences and edit for brevity.  On the web, writing is expected to be less formal and more personable so speak in a voice that will appeal to your audience.

Make it Easy to Share

If you want your readers to share your content – well, make it easy for them to share! Install the “sharing” feature on your blogs or the Pinterest plug-ins if your content is predominantly image-driven.  Keep in mind that your readers may choose to share your content across social media, so include an image with your content if it is possible to encourage click throughs and social shares.

At the end of the day, content creation is not an easy task and requires a frequent investment of time and effort.  If you are creating content for your website, keep your audience in mind and write in a way that will appeal to them!

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