Are you struggling to create online content that gets attention and also keeps it? Do you need some guidance when it comes to creating online content or building a blog? Have you tried every technique and still lacked success? Are you about ready to give up? If you answered yes to any of these questions, do not give up, and do NOT panic.
Writing for the internet is no easy task, but there are a few experts who have mastered the art. With the work I have drawn from several experts, it is with ease that I present you with my writing user guide: a guide to writing for the internet, for dummies.
But before one can master the art of writing for the internet, it is important to have an understanding of “content.”
According to Ann Handley and C.C. Chapman, authors of the textbook Content Rules, content can be defined as: anything created and uploaded to a website – the words, images, tools, and other things that reside there.
But while content can be almost anything, good content is what will set you and your information apart from others. It is through “killer content” that you can convert browsers into buyers and customers into regulars. According to Handley and Chapman, it is the person with the most engaging content who wins.
When done right, content will position you not just as a seller of stuff, but as a reliable source of information. Good content cannot be thought of as words and images on a webpage, but instead, as an embodiment of your brand. The best kind of content will invite and demand participants’ engagement, involvement, and activity.
So what do all of these words mean, anyway? It’s simple and can be broken down into just a few “content rules” as provided by Handley and Chapman:
- Embrace that you are a publisher.
- Insight inspires originality. In other words, give voice to your distinctive point of view and remember that it is crucial to know your customers. What do they care about? How will your brand help them in their daily lives? Answer these questions and you are well on your way to creating good content.
- Build momentum. According to the textbook authors of Content Rules, good content always has an objective, and it carries triggers to action as a result.
- Speak human. Communicate your message in simple terms, using the language of your customers. Corporate-speak and buzz words are a definite don’t.
- Reimagine; don’t recycle. Good content is intentionally reimagined.
- Share or solve; don’t shill. Good content does not try to sell. Instead, it creates value by positioning the content creator as a reliable and valuable source of information. Your content should share a resource, solve a problem, help your customers do their jobs better, improve their lives, etc.
- Show; don’t tell. Simply put, show how your product lives in the world. Good content is not about storytelling. It is about telling a true story well.
- Do something unexpected. Adding the occasional element of surprise drives viral sharing and enhances your company’s personality.
- Stroke the campfire. What does that mean? Good content sparks interaction and ignites conversation between you and your customers, and among your customers themselves.
- Create wings and roots. Ground your content solidly in your unique perspective but give it wings to sore freely and be shared across platforms all over the web.
- Play to your strengths. You don’t have to create everything and publish everywhere, but you do have to do at least one thing very well.
Now that you have an understanding of the “content rules,” we can take a look at some other suggestions and tips for writing for the internet. Click on the links below to find out more about writing for the web.
Or, if articles aren’t your style…
…keep scrolling to see some video and audio tutorials.
If written tutorials aren’t your thing, click on any of the video links below to learn more about writing for the internet, straight from the creators of Youtube content.
Still not sure what’s going on? Don’t panic. Click below to explore some of the Do’s and Don’ts of creating web content.
Feeling more confident and ready to get to the next step?
Here are some tips to help you with the specifics of your blog. That’s right, we’re getting down to the nitty gritty.
Still have unanswered questions? Leave a comment below and I will get back to you as soon as possible!
Happy content, folks.
Handley, A. & Chapman, C.C. (2011). Content rules: How to create killer blogs, podcasts, videos, ebooks, webinars (and more) that engage customers and ignite your business. Hoboken, NJ: Wiley.