Writing for the Web is definitely different than writing for print.
Many who are accustom to writing for print have a difficult time writing for Web. In order to write effectively online you must understand how people read on the web.
Nielsen Norman Group ‘s research found that 79 percent of their test users always scanned any new page they came across; only 16 percent read word-by-word.
On the Web, users are engaged and want to go places and get things done. The Web is an active medium.
Web content must be brief and get to the point quickly, because users are likely to be on a specific mission.
The Web is perfect for narrow,just-in-time learning of information nuggets.
People arrive at a website with a goal in mind, and they are ruthless in pursuing their own interest and in rejecting whatever the site is trying to push.
In print, you can spice up linear narrative with anecdotes and individual examples that support a storytelling approach to exposition. On the Web, such content often feels like filler; it slows down users and stands in the way of their getting to the point.
If you’re smart, you’ll write accordingly: make your content actionable and focused on user needs.
For your agency’s blog to be effective, your text must be scannable. Nielsen offers these 6 tips:
- highlighted keywords (hypertext links serve as one form of highlighting; typeface variations and color are others)
- meaningful sub-headings (not “clever” ones)
- bulleted lists
- one idea per paragraph (users will skip over any additional ideas if they are not caught by the first few words in the paragraph)
- the inverted pyramid style, starting with the conclusion
- half the word count (or less) than conventional writing
Nielsen’s research also found that users detested “marketese”; the promotional writing style with boastful claims. I’ve often said that the moment you start to sell on your agency’s blog is when you will lose your audience.
You need to understand how people read on the web and learn to write for them effectively. Go to Jakob Nielsen’s web site and read this paper. If you look at the top blogs, you’ll find they follow Nielsen’s style guidelines remarkably well.
Here are some additional resources for creating an agency blog for new business:
- 50 Blog Post Ideas to Fuel Your Ad Agency’s Blog
- Top 5 Benefits for Having an Agency Blog
- Top Ten Reasons Your Ad Agency Should Blog
- 10 Reasons Advertising Agencies Shouldn’t Blog
- 40 Ways to Take Your Ad Agency’s Blog to the Next Level
- How to Write Your Ad Agency’s Blog
- Agency Resources for Blogging and Social Media
- Ad Agency New Business Leads From a Blog?
- Ad Agencies Should Blog or Not Blog?
- Bob Hoffman’s Blog, An Example for Ad Agency CEOs?
- For Ad Agency New Business Fish with the Right Bait
- Ad Agencies: 8 Ingredients for Blog Post Success
- Ad Agencies on Target by Blogging for New Business
- Ad Agency Hill Holiday dumps website for “all-blog format”