Writing effective content on the internet is an essential skill in the modern world. Simply being a good writer doesn’t automatically mean you can write well on the internet.
There are some pretty fundamental shifts that you need to take into account if you’re writing and hoping that your audience receives what you’re putting out.
First of all, there are three assumptions that are underlying the tips I’m about to give:
- There’s a ton of noise out there. You rarely have a captive audience, so get to the point, be interesting, and don’t waste people’s time.
- Nobody reads on the internet. You don’t read, I don’t read. People skim. Don’t write long text that’s not going to be read. And when you do have more long-form text like a blog post, break it up into usable, skimmable headers.
- People’s B.S. detectors are sky high. There’s so much B.S. out there. No need to add to that mountain of crap by pretending to be something you’re not, pretending to be more important than you are, pretending to be more of an authority on something. The whole world is out there. People can Google, search YouTube, etc/ and they can get real experts. They’re listening to you because you are an authentic human being with an authentic perspective. That’s the only reason anybody’s watching my videos, the few people that do. It’s the only way to cut through the noise and be a useful presence on the web is if you act like a real human being.
So with those three assumptions in mind, let me give you a couple quick tips on how to write well so people will actually read and benefit from what you’re writing.
Write with Purpose
Always, always, always have a purpose in your writing. Don’t ever just write in order to fill space. Try to write stuff that actually has a purpose, that there’s a goal in mind and it is serving both you and your audience in a meaningful way.
Be clear and concise. Don’t say any more than is necessary.
Good content is conversational and warm. Write as if you were talking to real people, using the kinds of words you actually use.
Good content anticipates users’ questions and answers them because at the end of the day, most of the time if somebody is reading something, at least on your website, at least in an email, they have some key questions and if you don’t answer them, they’re gonna move on.
Avoid 3rd Person
Good content should be written in the first and the second person only. Try to avoid the third person unless it actually makes sense. So if I’m talking to you as my client, I would talk about me or we as my company. I’m not going to say Spacious serves their clients very well, cause that sucks. Nobody wants to read that content. I wanna say, I care about your goals. I wanna hear what you’re working on because that actually sounds like we’re having a conversation and an authentic interaction.
Make It Skimmable
Good content is well-structured and skimmable. It’s organized in a logical fashion. Each section has a heading and has a clear part of the message that you’re trying to deliver. And if somebody skims it, in 10 seconds they can get about 80% of the content, and they can read the details if they care at that point.
And lastly, good content is authentic. It sounds like a real person talking. It exposes vulnerabilities when it makes sense to do so, and it doesn’t overinflate. It doesn’t over-exaggerate. It doesn’t overpromise. It just makes you feel like you’re talking to a person you trust.
Next time you write on the internet, take a moment to show a little bit of extra respect for your readers’ time and attention that they’ve given to you, and they will undoubtedly continue to give you that.