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What R U Saying


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February 5, 2011 PodCamp Western Mass. presentation on writing for social media

February 5, 2011 PodCamp Western Mass. presentation on writing for social media

Published in: Technology, Business

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  • What do we think about when we use social media? What are the main channels?
  • Think about your audience when choosing a social media channel. Existing and prospective clients may gravitate toward Twitter or Facebook for deals or use blogs to find out more about your company. The media may use all three when preparing a story.
  • Audience has a goal in mind when visiting your site/Twitter feed/other channel. Why are they visiting you?
  • Some examples of wordiness that can be cut down to fit into the social media world.
  • Simple words: short, common, unlikely to be misread
  • What is your voice? Conservative? Cutting-edge? Example is for an opthamologist specializing in LASIK surgery, geared toward young customers
  • Simple subject-verb agreement works best for short bursts of information, whether it’s a blog, Twitter, or Facebook post
  • Example is for a tweet.
  • Longer pieces require organization
  • Its is for possessive. It’s is a contraction that means “it is.” Apostrophes indicate possession or a contraction. Should not be used to indicate plurality, i.e. SMB’s Serial commas – the last comma can be eliminated to save character space
  • Transcript

    • 1. What R U Saying? Writing for Social Media Presented by Christine Parizo, Christine Parizo Communications PodCamp Western Massachusetts February 5, 2011
    • 2. What is social media?
      • Facebook
      • Twitter
      • LinkedIn
      • Blogs
      • Podcasts
      (c) 2011 Christine Parizo Communications
    • 3. Who are our audiences?
      • Existing clients
      • Prospective clients
      • Media outlets
      • Think quantitative data (demographics) as well as qualitative data (what they want from your site.)
      (c) 2011 Christine Parizo Communications
    • 4. Audience purpose
      • to read
      • to look for a job
      • to buy products
      • to learn something
      • to search
      • to download or upload files
      • to be entertained
      • to read stories
      • to play games
      • to watch videos or view photos
      • to do research
      • to post an advertisement
      • to blog
      • to give feedback
      • to communicate with others
      • to see what’s new or upcoming
      • to network (for example, to meet new people, to get a date)
      • to share content such as photos, videos, or documents
      • to complete a task (for instance, to back up a hard disk)
      • to find information about you or your company
      • to get service or support
      • to ask for advice
      *Source: Yahoo! Style Guide (c) 2011 Christine Parizo Communications
    • 5. What is my message?
      • Message that is being conveyed
      • How to get it across
      • How to appear professional and credible
      (c) 2011 Christine Parizo Communications
    • 6. The key to credibility
      • Clear, easy to understand writing
      • Follow grammar rules
      • Use abbreviations sparingly
      (c) 2011 Christine Parizo Communications
    • 7. What is good writing?
      • Conveys a clear message
      • Eliminates unnecessary words
      • Don’t “pad” content
      • Uses action words instead of passive verbs
      • Encourages the reader to act
      • Reinforces the brand message
      (c) 2011 Christine Parizo Communications
    • 8. The plain English table (c) 2011 Christine Parizo Communications
    • 9. Writing clearly
      • Simple words
      • Before: The shifting purchasing paradigm leads us to believe that our best efforts are channeled into our mid-priced line of widgets, “MidPriceLets.”
      • After: New data shows that you like our MidPriceLets, so we’ve added more to our e-store.
      (c) 2011 Christine Parizo Communications
    • 10. Writing clearly
      • Words that suit your voice
      • Before: Your LASIK surgery and recovery will be faster than you’d expect.
      • After: After LASIK, you’ll be back at work and play the next day.
      (c) 2011 Christine Parizo Communications
    • 11. Writing clearly
      • Sentence structure
      • Before: With regular trimming, your cat’s claws will pose no threat to your furniture.
      • After: Your cat’s claws should be trimmed regularly to avoid furniture damage.
      (c) 2011 Christine Parizo Communications
    • 12. Keep punctuation simple
      • A lot of commas? Try shorter sentences.
      • Avoid excessive emoticons and exclamation marks.
      • Before: The Bistro’s Chilean sea bass, while presented beautifully, was undercooked, and we could barely eat it! Yuck!
      • After: Beautiful presentation at The Bistro on the Chilean sea bass. Verdict? Undercooked and unpalatable.
      (c) 2011 Christine Parizo Communications
    • 13. Organizing your words
      • What do you want to say?
      • What is most important to your audience?
      • Keep paragraphs short
      • Use lists
      • Create headings to break up text
      (c) 2011 Christine Parizo Communications
    • 14. One word about jargon
      • Avoid! Unless:
        • Your audience is highly technical
        • Your material is geared toward an industry audience
        • You can explain the jargon easily to a lay audience
      (c) 2011 Christine Parizo Communications
    • 15. Common grammar errors
      • Its v. it’s
      • Possessive apostrophe (the cat’s) and contractions (she’ll), but never her’s or SMB’s
      • Serial commas (Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook)
      (c) 2011 Christine Parizo Communications
    • 16. The mobile audience
      • Make every word count
        • Relevant information at the top of the page/post
        • Break up text into easy to read chunks
        • Keep sentences and paragraphs short
        • Use words with fewer syllables
        • Create bullet lists
      (c) 2011 Christine Parizo Communications
    • 17. Twitter: Keep it brief
      • Keep character count to a minimum with simple words
      • Before: Smith and Jones Toyota has a new, great deal on 2011 Toyota Corollas, Camrys and Matrixes. Stop in today to save, and check out our website at for updated inventory and stupendous sale prices! (197 characters)
      • After: Great deal on Toyota cars at Smith & Jones Toyota! Check our website at tiny.url/xyzz for our updated inventory and latest specials! (111 characters)
      (c) 2011 Christine Parizo Communications
    • 18. More Twitter brevity tips
      • Use a URL-shortening service, like or tiny.url
      • Eliminate unnecessary words
      • Don’t abbrevi8! Use short words instead.
      • Informal is ok, slang and IM-speak are not (unless you know your audience accepts it)
      (c) 2011 Christine Parizo Communications
    • 19. Commonly-used Twitter abbreviations
      • RT = retweet
      • #ff = Follow Friday
      • DM = direct message
      • MT = modified tweet
      • PRT = partial retweet
      • CC = carbon copy, same as email
      • IRL = in real life
      • TY = thank you
      • YW = you’re welcome
      (c) 2011 Christine Parizo Communications
    • 20. Resources
      • Yahoo! Style Guide ,
      • Strunk & White, The Elements of Style
      (c) 2011 Christine Parizo Communications
    • 21. Thank you!
      • Christine Parizo Communications
      • [email_address]
      (c) 2011 Christine Parizo Communications