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Writing for new media is different
Let's also discuss non-copy elements - widgets, RSS feeds, polls, imbedded video, photos, and killer graphics - that we use to engage the reader. We need every trick: readers are just one click away from other compelling articles and videos...and they know it.
Tuesday, October 20, 2009
Saturday, October 17, 2009
Wednesday, October 7, 2009
Monday, October 5, 2009
Misconception #3: “By using social media we will lose control of our Brand’s Image” People will talk about your brand whether you like it or not. Opening a Facebook page is not going to change it and not opening a Facebook page is not going to make it go away. The question is: Do you want to be a part of that conversation or not?
“You learn nothing through words but through experience: if you are interested in social media, experiment! Never consider that you know a service because you have read about it.”
Playing around after reading how others have done it successfully is the best way to get a feel for the media. Ground rules: listen before you speak, and read more than you write. Some say a good rule of thumb is to read twice as much as you write. I would suggest reading ten times more than you write. But the important thing is to just do it.
Sunday, September 27, 2009
Sunday, September 20, 2009
Saturday, September 19, 2009
Friday, September 18, 2009
A posting schedule is a good idea. Maybe every Monday or weekend you can add something of value to your site. If you read social media as much as you should (rule 1) you will find many things you'll want to discuss and share. Keep it up!
Saturday, September 12, 2009
It's a strange analogy, a stretch I admit, but David Spark makes a good case and writes an interesting article in Socialmedia.biz. Check it out.
Since I stole your attention, I'll deliver value (always do that). The best kept secret of writing for new media is...
The headline. It is the only element most of your audience will read (and even then, only if it's catchy). Spend time getting it right: state your central point, and why it's important to the reader. "5 ways to increase readership" does both. If you use a gimmick headline (like "The best kept secret of writing for new media"), put your main point and explain its value to your reader in the first sentance. Like, "It shouldn't be a secret, but it is: really CARE about your reader, and write with the sole purpose of making their life richer, fuller, and more productive. Good communities will grow around posts like this, and, to paraphrase Google, you will do no evil."
Friday, September 11, 2009
Write chunks of about 3 sentances. Keep the piece down to 100 words, 400 max. Better to write 2 separate articles that get read, rather than a long one that gets skipped.
Friday, August 28, 2009
2) Create brand advocates - Listening to the conversation about your brand will give you a chance to comment, not only correcting negative feedback but also adding additional benefits the user may not already know about. This bolsters enthusiasm for the brand. Demonstrating that you bothered to read their comments and care about their opinions helps create brand advocates.
3) Deliver product assistance - Social media monitoring can help you deliver information on your company or brand exactly where –and when – it is needed. Monitoring social media conversations on Twitter or on blogs and forums allows you to help patients and physicians use your drug or contact your representatives. At the same time get a better picture of the needs of the marketplace.
Wednesday, August 19, 2009
Guest post by Greg Satell at Digital Tonto.
Writers are some of the most talented people I have had the pleasure of working with. However, most find it hard adapting to digital media. Many succeed and find that they enjoy new media; some never really get the hang of it, while others just accept the reality and plod through. Whatever a writer's particular inclination, here are some points that can help:
Change fonts: On paper, serif fonts like Times New Roman help the reader navigate through the text. However, in digital the audience is reading off a screen and the small details of serif fonts can be hard to read given limits of screen resolution. Therefore, use a sans-serif font (like Arial) even if it isn't what you're used to.
Cut up the text: On the internet, people scan more than they read. They avoid large blocks of text. Make paragraphs smaller and add frequent subheads to help the reader digest material at a quick pace. Print writers need to alter their style for new media.
Understand entry points: While most print writers understand entry points in print, (e.g., charts and sidebars), the concept takes on a whole new meaning in digital media. Printed matter is generally read from front to back, and the cover is always seen before the content. The internet is 3D: less than half of the audience ever sees the home page. People might get to your article through search engines, links from other sites, etc. The landing page could be anywhere, so every page is a potential entry point.
Understand the important relationships that your writing creates: While printed matter is a closed system, an internet document has relationships to other documents both locally and globally. An article can be much more important for what it leads the reader to than for what it actually says. There are a variety of ways you can take advantage of these new possibilities:
- Link to reference sources: On the internet, you can share your research as well as your ideas with your reader. Readers will appreciate your thoughts even more if you give them some insight into how you arrived at them.
- Create content clusters: Build a series of related content and reference resources and link them to your article. This lets you weave different aspects and thoughts on a subject into a single body of work. As an ancillary benefit, this also helps search engines find what you write.
- Write shorter articles: A very short article can be engaging and useful if it leads interested readers to other valuable content. A five-page feature wouldn't do well on the internet (people usually print them).
Get comfortable with interactivity: A few years ago, my wife and I found a sick two-week-old puppy in Tbilisi, Georgia. We fell in love with him, brought him home, and now treat him as part of the family. We even talk to him! It's great having him around, but I'm not sure how I would feel if one day he talked back.
On the internet, the dogs talk back (and some of them bite!). Print writers aren't used to being accessible to their audience. Some writers appreciate the feedback, but others find it jarring and hurtful. In either case, interactivity is here to stay so this is something that you're just going to have to get used to.
5 Crucial Aspects of a Digital Media Transition
Double Readership with a Simple Tweak
Read Greg at Digital Tonto, his blog about Digital Business and more.
Monday, August 17, 2009
The point is, readers came to your site for SOMETHING, so you'd better give them something -fast- or they're gone, faster than your last paycheck.
Deliver new media content up front. Make a promise in the headline and pay it off in the first sentance or two, or at least hook readers with the expectation that they will find something interesting soon. What reader need will you fill? If you can't fill a reader need, why are you blogging? If you just like to write, buy a diary.
It's not all about gimmicks. I'm actually a medical writer (like you care) and my articles can get long and complex. Still, I tell the reader up front what I'm going to deliver, and pay it off as quickly and clearly as possible. "Don't touch that dial...here's what you came for."
Did he just use a radio metaphor to describe writing for new media? And sneak two keywords into his last sentance?
Friday, August 14, 2009
This powerful video was created by Socialnomics09; check out their YouTube Channel at http://www.youtube.com/user/Socialnomics09. Much of the data can be found in Digital Marketing by Wertime and Fenwick, who cite the original sources. Quite simply, new media is more than the wave of the future; it's a tsunami, and it's happening right now. We will learn to use it well or become marginalized (and ultimately extinct) through digital Darwinism.
Thursday, August 13, 2009
Fishing for customer stories
Once people use your brand to describe their life (a Mac user, a Harley owner) they have brought the product into their personal story, and brand exposure will increase exponentially. This promotes viral marketing. My agency services the professional oncology/immunology community. Imagine if physicians started putting stories involving your brand on physician sites like New Media Medicine or Physician Connect at Medscape Oncology. The potential for patient testimonials or Q&A sites is obvious as well. Check out this article on brand storytelling with new media at http://www.bloggapedia.com/blog_post.php?p=Fast-Companys-Most-Innovative-Marketing-Expert-Blogs-1300610.
Wednesday, August 12, 2009
Tuesday, August 11, 2009
Another great tutorial on SEO:
Monday, August 10, 2009
Because the competition is doing it?
Because your boss asked you?
Bad reasons. Words on a page are only that, but new media offers video, audio, photos, hyperlinks, and interactivity. Don't jump off the cliff of print media unless you're willing to spread your wings. Fly a little. It's fun.
Friday, August 7, 2009
1) Know your audience, and use an appropriate voice (persona). If you're writing for investors, keep your sense of humor to yourself and follow strict conventions. An annual report is still an annual report, even if it's online. And "wacky" is rarely appropriate.
2) Adapt your style to the medium. While all are new media, blog writing is less formal and more personal than the company web site, and Twitter is practically shorthand, demanding an open style to achieve economy (144 characters).
3) Write well. You can break rules to express personality, but do so consciously; don't be careless. Our writing will hang on the net for a long time, telling readers about you and your company with words you may never be able to change.
This said, be human in your writing. Authenticity is the currency of new media.
Am I still fired?
Thursday, August 6, 2009
Then shut up and listen.