Writing for the web? Then talk the talk…

| November 11, 2009

If you want to communicate successfully on the web, speak your audience’s language

The best copywriters and direct marketers enjoy a heightened ability to empathise with their audience. They express this by writing for the web as though they’re talking to a friend, making a strong, immediate psychological and emotional connection with their audience.

As little as fifteen years ago direct marketing communications were much stiffer and very formal. But the internet changed all that. Now, it’s unlikely you’ll need to revert to traditional business language: overly polite, less than sincere, formal and full of jargon. It’s not much use on the web where, unless you’re already a household name, you need to work hard and fast to earn interest and trust.

Whatever the context, web content and online marketing copy should always be informal.

Writing for the web

Informality lets you break loads of rules. Just like you do in conversation. You can use contractions like won’t, can’t and it’ll. You can break sentences up and begin others with forbidden words like And and But. You can cheerfully end sentences using ellipsis marks to imply hesitation, or that there’s more to think about…

You can use really short sentences. For impact. You’re allowed to use short paragraphs to reflect quick concepts. Or you can string them out to express longer and more
complex thought processes. As a result you sound like a real, warm person.

Writing the way you speak doesn’t mean being sloppy or sounding un-businesslike. You still need an unerring grasp of grammar, a passion for words and a plump vocabulary. Mixed
with a bold attitude and a healthy pinch of business acumen.

All the best online communication is plain-speaking: smooth, economical, friendly, honest and SHORT!

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Category: copywriting and marketing

By Kate Goldstone - ()

Originally from Middlesbrough, I lived in Brighton for many years before moving to North Devon. I’ve had a passion for words all my life and this is my twelfth year as a freelance writer. In my spare time I draw, paint, sculpt, carve wood and rock, garden, read, write poetry and enjoy long distance hiking. I sing and play the recorder. I collect modernist paintings, vintage rugs and mid-century German art pottery. I’m a member of The Poetry Society. And I am an experienced volunteer shepherd, a ‘Lookerer’.

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