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Tips for online writing

With the help of Winnie the Pooh

Write blogs and articles your customer read

It’s more fun to talk with someone who doesn’t use long, difficult words, but rather short, easy words like “What about lunch?” Winnie The Pooh

1. Red tops rule

Only in this case – headlines! Over the years they have provided us with some absolute corkers like “Paddy Pantsdown”, “Ant and decked” and “Iraq and a hard place” (all courtesy of The Sun). Catchy and clever, these compel us to read on. When writing for business the rules are the same. The headline has to stand out. Using puns and how, why, where, what. Include numbers, or both e.g. How to influence people in five easy steps.

On average, five times as many people read the headline as read the body copy. When you have written your headline you have spent eighty cents out of your dollar! - David Ogilvy

2. Begin at the very beginning (it’s a very good place to start, la, la, la!)

Get to the point immediately. Just like you, your customers are busy people being bombarded by digital stuff every second. Tell them what the issue is and what they are going to learn.

3. Doof, doofs

Create EastEnder style cliff-hangers, to lure your reader in. Tease them from paragraph to paragraph, leading them through the article to the call to action (see below). For example: “…as you will see later…” or “we will share with you”.

4. Read between the lines

Like a panto innuendo that goes over the head of children in the audience, or the fact that they will first read Animal Farm as a book about animals on a farm, rather than society and politics. Or, as used above, a reference to a musical! If you include something with a reference only certain readers will get, they will be your fans forever.

5. Style IS substance

Look at magazine covers for inspiration. They use a number of different style and design options: colour, images, line spacing, paragraphs, fonts, underlining, quotations, italics etc. For lists use numbering, tables or bullet points. Use everything you can to make it quick and easy to read. Be careful to make sure that all these styles still fit with your brand guidelines.

6. Optimise

Use the topics you want to be known for early in the title. Keep it short – 65 characters is good, that way it won’t get shortened in search results. Think about what your customers would search for. This may be different things (read What does Blue Monday mean to your customers and why is it important to know?).

Whatever it is, remember that we all search using longer conversational questions now. For example, “What is considered good writing?” rather than “good writing”. Referring to topical references also helps, like Valentine’s Day in February or, as used here, the name of an awareness day. Search engines also use URLs to see if the information is relevant so edit them to include key words if you can.

7. Call to action

Start with a command verb – contact, download etc. Tell your customer what they will get.

8. Keep it simple

You're not writing an essay. This is a conversation, not a white paper. Keep the writing light, bright and interesting.

If you can't explain it simply, you don't know it well enough. - Albert Einstein.

And if you're still struggling, get in touch. I love writing and would be really happy to help. Email and get your first blog published today.

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