Traditional copywriting has evolved into quite a different animal with the development of social media and SEO. You may be a beautiful long-form writer or a highly skilled spinner of ad scripts and punchy one-liners, and yet still find the digital world to be a challenge.
The medium is rapidly forming a set of rules and practices all its own. But, if you follow the “new” rules and practices, combining them with your existing writing abilities, there’s no reason why you shouldn’t be able to nail a good blog or social media post every time. Just implement these 6 basic tips:
1. Write for Your Audience
This should be your starting point every time. Forget about search engines, forget your knowledge base and the style with which you are most comfortable. Always know your audience intimately and write with them in mind.
2.Divide Your Time Carefully between Planning, Writing and Editing
Writing your document is the easy part and the quickest. The majority of your time (about 50%) should be spent on planning and research. Give 20% to the actual writing and then 30% to editing, polishing and proofreading.
3. Brevity Is Key
Never let your paragraphs get longer than seven lines and make sure that your document can be scanned and understood in a quick, 30-60 second once-over. That’s all most people will give it, so make sure you get the basic information through.
4.Active Voice, Strong Verbs, Short Punchy Sentences
In some forms of writing, the passive voice is fine, but not in online marketing copy. Keep all your sentences in the active voice, always use strong verbs and check each phrase to ensure that it’s the shortest and most powerful it can be.
5. Don’t Be Afraid to Break the Flow
Use staccato sentences and words as and when you need to. And, don’t be afraid of one-sentence paragraphs. These are attention grabbers and, therefore, your friends.
6. Be Emphatic and Confident
Never appear to be speculative in your content. Assert each point without room for doubt. If there are corrections to be made, they can come in follow-up blogs or posts. You don’t think; you know. You don’t postulate; you recommend. Own and sell your point of view.
Above all, keep it short and simple, and you can seldom go wrong.