Question: I created one child for print, and another for the web

Question: I created one child for print, and another for the web
Is there a difference? Can you tell the difference?


The child created for the web is a lot shorter and much more active.

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Writing for new media is different

Writing for new media and the web has unique payoffs and pitfalls. Using them will help us write copy that appears before more readers and holds their attention longer. Let's share our tips for writing copy that will spark interest, maintain reader involvement, and place highly in search results.

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.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Writing new media? Read new media!

Posting is important; reading is even more important. Even if you can't find the time to pop off a fresh post regularly, scan Mashable or your favorite new media site while you sip your morning coffee. Take the 5 minutes and see what the world's doing with new media every day. Things change quickly, and you want to be ahead of the curve. Don't you? Read like your job depends on it because, guess what? It probably does.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

The key to writing new media: keep learning!

To be successful in the digital business one has to be constantly learning and adapting to a changing context. Companies pay large salaries for digital "experts" even though the internet is changing so fast that what works today might not work tomorrow.

Where do internet “experts” come from? How can there be so many and how can they know so much? Greg Satell at Digital Tonto is at it again, with another thought-provoking post on the internet and the Western philosophical tradition. It's well worth a read, and encourages us to keep reading, keep learning, with examples of the true humility voiced by some of the greatest minds in history. Reading Greg regularly is a good way to keep learning.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

New media writing style: direct

Speaking of Hemingway (and we were) I'm reminded of a feud he had with William Faulkner about writing style. Faulkner stated that Hemingway never used a word that sent his readers to the dictionary. Hemingway retorted, "Poor Faulkner. He thinks big emotions come from big words." I enjoy both writers, and in fact just purchased a leatherbound copy of As I Lay Dying to savor, slowly. But for new media, especially social media, be brief. State your purpose. Make your point, in simple, direct prose. Deliver the goods. And sign off.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Keep writing posts! Keep your blog fresh and alive.

New media must be fed. Keep posting, even if they're short, interesting posts. Remember Hemingway: "Only three things are necesary to be a writer: he must write today, he must write tomorrow, and he must write the day after tomorrow." That's as well as I can remember the quote, but you get the idea: stay at it. Blog today, blog tomorrow, and blog the day after tomorrow. It is better not to start than to foray into social media and then dry up. It takes months for a forum to catch on, so keep writing fresh posts.

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

Is blogging for your brand like selling uncut cocaine?

Well, yes. Rather than risking your brand story be "cut" (adulterated, misinerpreted) by others, whether by PR firms or random bloggers, tell the story yourself, clean and powerful.

It's a strange analogy, a stretch I admit, but David Spark makes a good case and writes an interesting article in Check it out.

The best kept secret of writing for new media

I can't resist a headline like this. I'll read that post. Other good headlines promise a specific list of interesting facts, such as "5 ways to increase readership" or "The 3 most common new media mistakes...and how to avoid them." Write a good headline and 50% of your work is accomplished. There's an old maxim, "Well begun is half done."

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

Average reader reads 20% of new media copy

In fact, the longer your copy, the less of it gets read. A survey just established that. So keep it short, and place important facts in the first few sentances where they're more likely to be read. People are busy, and your window of attention is short.

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.