Thanks for joining us today. Our session will begin shortly. February 24, 2011 – 1 p.m. EST Please be sure to have functioning speakers or a headset plugged in. Sponsored by:
Better Web Writing in 30 Mins. Lynn Walsh Texas Watchdog / RTDNA Blogger @lwalsh http://www.lynnkwalsh.com Ryan G. Murphy Digital Media Editor, RTDNA @rmurphydigital @RTDNA rtdna.org Host Producer
How People Read Online Think about your own reading habits online for a moment... You’re scanning… You’re searching… You’re multitasking… You’re a bit impatient…
Keep Your Writing Simple… <ul><li>Keep sentences short and present one clear idea in each paragraph. </li></ul><ul><li>Omit unnecessary words (this is true with any type of writing). </li></ul><ul><li>Consider presenting a “Story Highlights Section” to simplify things </li></ul><ul><li>even more. </li></ul>
Use Subheads <ul><li>Notice how the subhead builds on the story and includes terms </li></ul><ul><li>that are SEO-friendly. They might have considered including </li></ul><ul><li>city names to be more specific here. </li></ul>
Inverted Pyramid? <ul><li>Use it! The lead graph is vital, and REMEMBER… </li></ul><ul><li>you can go on (almost) forever on the web if you need extra space. </li></ul><ul><li>(Generally speaking for news - favor short, clean writing over </li></ul><ul><li>long and ornate.) </li></ul><ul><li>For news stories, use a rule of thumb you learned in journalism </li></ul><ul><li>101 – “if my reader stopped right now, would they know what the </li></ul><ul><li>story is about?” </li></ul>
Use Lists & Bullets Whenever You Can… <ul><li>People LOVE to read lists online – present them inside paragraphs </li></ul>
Watch Your Language… <ul><li>Use active and, when appropriate, conversational language to keep the reader </li></ul><ul><li>engaged throughout – This is especially true for BLOGS your team may produce. </li></ul><ul><li>Spice the writing up with good quotes, perhaps those that didn’t make it on air – </li></ul><ul><li>WEB EXTRA CONTENT IS GOLD. </li></ul><ul><li>Try NOT to simply paste in a script from iNews to the web. Broadcast writing is </li></ul><ul><li>often designed to accompany specific video. There’s a big difference between these two lead graphs: </li></ul><ul><li>iNews for Broadcast– “Upper East Side residents are on edge tonight after a series of </li></ul><ul><li>sexual assaults in the area…” </li></ul><ul><li>Reworked for web – “A series of sexual assaults on Manhattan’s Upper East Side has </li></ul><ul><li>left some area residents altering their commuting routes and enforcing a strict 7 p.m. </li></ul><ul><li>curfew as police continue to search for a male suspect in his late 30s.” </li></ul>
Links…Links…Links <ul><li>Links provide readers with more information and, when you link internally, show the </li></ul><ul><li>depth of coverage your team is providing. </li></ul><ul><li>Links can help move your article up the search-engine list. </li></ul><ul><li>TIPS: make sure the links work! And if you are linking externally, make sure the </li></ul><ul><li>content appears in a separate tab. You don’t want to lose the reader. </li></ul>
Headlines Headlines are the most important and most difficult element of web writing. What makes them difficult? You are writing for 3 audience: People – the headline needs to be enticing, relevant and not misleading. Social Media – the headline needs to be sharable, i.e. quickly turned into a conversation piece. Search Engines – the headline needs to be complete and contain excellent SEO terms. Remember, your headline can appear ANYWHERE on the web – think RSS – so something like “Big Explosion in Bangor” just won’t do.
Headlines Continued Headline # 1: “Reporter Sexually Assaulted in Egypt” Pros – I’m minimally enticed to click into this. I want to know who was attacked and what the circumstances were. It includes a keyword or two in there that might be searched on Google. Cons – The keywords are not specific enough to give you any positive return on your time investment. Most importantly, I’m left with many questions. Headline #2: “CBS Reporter Lara Logan Attacked, Sexual Assaulted in Cairo” Pros – This headline, which is obviously better for the sake of demonstration, includes great SEO keywords including CBS, Lara Logan and Cairo, all very searchable and relevant terms. People can share this and start a dialogue quickly on Twitter and Facebook. Cons – might be a little long for certain content-management systems or some news’ organizations’ policies TIP: search Google Trends if you have trouble with keywords
Better SEO in 60 Seconds In addition to the actual story, Google will be searching for keywords in two VERY important places. In fact, they are the most important places: In <title> tags for your website or page In the URL of the story TIP: constantly monitor your analytics to see how, and perhaps why, certain keywords helped generate better traffic. All analytics tools include keyword reports. TIP 2: use keywords in image names and include links!
5 Tips for Better Social Media Writing 1. Always include a link. 2. Don’t just re-type the headline. 3. Ask questions. 4. Engage and grab readers’ attention. Be social. 5. Type how you search.