Engage readers with online writing
Readers behave differently when looking at writing on screens. How can we write well for e-publishing?
Writing for print publication and for the Web is different. Good writing is important no matter where it is published; but there are a few things worth noting if you’re writing especially for online publishing.
Probably the biggest difference between print and online is that it’s easier for readers to keep scrolling or searching if what they see online doesn’t capture their attention. It’s most important to seize people’s attention at the start of an online article. Crafting a good start is not as simple as inserting an interesting anecdote; an engaging start requires careful thought.
Another difference is length. When people read online they are not willing to wait while we writers waffle. We need to write concisely and stick to our main point. Ensure everything relates to the topic. It’s important to think about our audience and what they care about.
Reading on the Web often includes lots of skimming. People read headlines. If one captures their attention, they might scan through an article to decide if it’s worth spending time on. If we keep our paragraphs and sentences short, we’ll help our readers engage. If people scan our writing to see if they want to invest time in reading it, short chunks of information are easier to pick up.
Images are important too, especially if we’re publishing via social media. We will catch people’s attention as they scroll through content if we use great images, captions, and headlines.
Control what you can
A writer may not have control over some things mentioned above. For example, the editor(s) of a publication usually decide on headlines for articles. Similarly, a writer often has little choice on the images that are included with their writing.
However, if you are publishing your own writing on a blog, online newsletter, or social media page, then you have complete control, and it’s worth taking the time to consider these tips.