Writing Online - First Impressions Count! - Marketing Breakthroughs

Writing Online – First Impressions Count!

Just as when we meet a new person, first impressions of online content will determine whether or not we engage and for how long.

Your online copy needs to have a compelling headline, a well structured layout and look easy to read.

Here are four tips to bear in mind when you’re writing online copy, be it an article for your website blog, an e-mail newsletter or you’re posting on social media.

Build your brand voice

Whether a corporate or a small business the intent of your online writing should be to connect with your audience and encourage conversations and sharing. You’re fostering a relationship with your reader by establishing yourself as a thought leader in your field.

You want to create top of mind awareness for your brand, build trust and a loyal following.

Offer your reader value

Your viewers are giving you their time whilst reading your online material and they want something in exchange. They won’t settle for a thinly disguised sales pitch.

Your objective, particularly in the case of a blog or an e-mail newsletter, should be to provide valuable content about a topic that is indirectly related to your product or service.

Colgate is an example of a global brand that very successfully offers value content, with its Oral Care Centre, where viewers can find answers to their dental queries or can even search for a dentist:


Write for search engines too

It’s critical that viewers can find your online material via a search engine, so make your content search engine friendly. Search engine spiders must be able to crawl and index the content, so that it appears on the search engine results page, when viewers are searching for your topic.

Remember to:

  • Establish the keyword or key phrases which viewers will use to search. Incorporate these keywords into your content so that they can be found by the spiders.
  • If you’re posting an article on your website, include the keywords in your website meta data, e.g. in page URLs, page titles and page descriptions.
  • Provide captions if you use images in your content.

We read differently when online

Viewers tend not to read every single word when online but scan and skip copy, picking up the gist of the content. To facilitate this, use:

  • Descriptive headings and sub-headings (which not only assist viewers, but also facilitate search engine crawling);
  • Short paragraphs;
  • Succinct content;
  • Bolded and italicised words which help viewers skim copy;
  • Bulleted lists
  • Descriptive links.

Make your copy easy to read by introducing space between elements on your page. This is known as white space (but doesn’t necessarily need to be a white colour).

Ensure that spelling is correct and spacing consistent, as errors will detract from your article or post.

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