Your SlideShare is downloading. ×
Writing for the Web Seminar - PixelMEDIA
Upcoming SlideShare
Loading in...5
×

Thanks for flagging this SlideShare!

Oops! An error has occurred.

×

Introducing the official SlideShare app

Stunning, full-screen experience for iPhone and Android

Text the download link to your phone

Standard text messaging rates apply

Writing for the Web Seminar - PixelMEDIA

678
views

Published on

Writing for the Web: Starting Points and Finish Lines …

Writing for the Web: Starting Points and Finish Lines

PixelMEDIA content strategists Luke Michel and Jeff Binder share their tips and techniques for shaping copy and content for online delivery. No red pens or pop quizzes—just some useful information that practically anyone can use to keep their projects on target.

Topics on tap:
• The three-point landing: easy to find, easy to read, easy to act
• How thinking backwards can make decisions easier
• Juggling multiple audiences, multiple needs
• Resources and references we love

Published in: Technology

0 Comments
0 Likes
Statistics
Notes
  • Be the first to comment

  • Be the first to like this

No Downloads
Views
Total Views
678
On Slideshare
0
From Embeds
0
Number of Embeds
0
Actions
Shares
0
Downloads
3
Comments
0
Likes
0
Embeds 0
No embeds

Report content
Flagged as inappropriate Flag as inappropriate
Flag as inappropriate

Select your reason for flagging this presentation as inappropriate.

Cancel
No notes for slide
  • Jeff’s background…I’ve been a professional business writer for almost 30 years. As a history major, it was either teach or write, so I became a women’s fashion copywriter, and progressed through the various flavors of the business, writing everything from speeches to white papers to video scripts, lots and lots of advertising, and in the last 12 years, an increasing number of websites – which is most of what I do today. What I find fascinating is that in the last 10-15 years, I’ve had to unlearn a lot of the practices I learned to be essential in the first 10-15 years. I’ve had to stop pushing product, and start pulling in consumer interest. ENDLuke’s background: I graduated with a degree in painting. While I was at school, I was asked to tutor and advise students on their writing because, I think, I knew how to punctuate.Out of school, I focused on communications design for events…signage for tradeshows, presentations, guides, etc. which turned out to be great training for this kind of work because it was about grabbing and holding someone’s attention. And because there was so much anxiety involved: even the most hardened VP gets woozy when getting ready to present to an auditorium full of people. So I learned a lot about using communications to help people overcome their doubts and concerns, and to help them find what they were looking for.So what kind of qualities does a “web writer” need…?
  • Courage and conviction.
  • The worst part…these are your colleagues…and sometimes the people who sign your paycheck!Pop quiz: which of these groups is most likely to understand what your audience wants and needs?
  • The worst part…these are your colleagues!Jeff’s illustration: The mission statement: a frightening beast with multiple heads (subjects, verbs and objects) that can only be tamed with a whip and a chainsaw. Let’s say you’re the CEO of an auto parts distributor like NAPA or Pep Boys. You sell carburetors. But somehow, that just doesn’t sound sexy enough. So you get your team together and come up with this...“International Amalgamated and its various subsidiaries, channel partners and outlets represent, develop and implement world-class solutions systems and next-generation concepts that are ideally suited to identify, measure and resolve challenges in the aftermarket supply chain. Huh?And guess what? After all that work, readers don’t give a hoot about your mission statement. It’s the first thing they skip. They’re just looking for carburetors!
  • To write effectively for the web, you must know the answers to these questions.If you ask one or more of these questions and the answer is, “That’s a good question.” You have some work to do…amd you should instantly double your estimate.
  • As a web writer, you are blazing the path for the reader to find what they want as well as to want what they find.Jeff: …and you want that hound to get all the way to the end of the trail, and find the lost child…whether that’s a launched application, a signup, a click, or a sale.
  • Jeff: As a writer, and I love to write, this was one of my toughest hurdles in writing for the web. Studying the flow of information and how it motivates people – and the many places that information appears, both on and off your website -- is a huge effort that often takes precedence over the words you use to motivate them. It’s a 3, or 4, or 5-stage process, and you need to think that through and describe what it is designed to do, long before you sit down to write, “It was a dark and stormy night but my L.L. Bean duckboots kept my doggies dry as a bone.”
  • Beware Search Engine Optimism: the feeling that if you just dream up a few keywords and throw them out there without much thought or any testing, your site will pop to the top of Google’s results list…Good writing makes your content easier to find by both humans and search engines. Search engines take their cue from humans, so write for people first.
  • Back to the scent of information, noting how the search engine…through analyzing human behavior…elevates the keyword “baggage” to the list of site links.
  • We get to this page and notice that the headline does not cloak the keyword in a clever headline. It’s simply a signpost for the reader, and acts as the marker for a series of more detailed pages on the topic of “baggage.”
  • See your competitors
  • If I type Carry On Baggage into Google, the delta page comes up in the top ten…notice how these entries included keywords and variants to help ranking for relevance. Delta did miss an opportunity though…notice American, Continental, and Lufthansa. If was flying on Delta, I would have difficulty pinpointing the page that I was looking for…
  • I just wanted to show you one of our typical drafts. Normally, we don’t highlight the keywords, but here they appear in green. We include a metadata field so we can develop the copy in tandem…or if Matt is working up the metadata, he has the page copy in front of him.Notice how we break the copy into “components” for easy distribution to other parts of the website. If you are familiar with how a content management system works, the concept is similar. We developed these templates to mimic how a CMS puts content in a hierarchical structure.So, to summarize…
  • Writing for the web is the art of the summary
  • Writing for the web is the art of the summary
  • Writing for the web is the art of the summary
  • Writing for the web is the art of the summary
  • It’s like a blind date…stop talking about yourself and start listening.
  • Jff: you’re having a conversation with the reader. One of the best exercises you can do is to read your copy out loud. You’ll be shocked and surprised at the insights you gain from this practice.
  • Jff: you’re having a conversation with the reader. One of the best exercises you can do is to read your copy out loud. You’ll be shocked and surprised at the insights you gain from this practice.
  • Line up your conversion points (i.e., calls to action)Assemble the information people need to make a positive decisionCreate the minimum number of pagesWrite your summaries, headlines, metadataCheck keywords, SEO, etc.Apply as little “messaging” as possible
  • Transcript

    • 1. © 2010 PixelMEDIA, Inc. | Confidential Copyright 2010 1 Writing for the Web 28 October 2010
    • 2. © 2010 PixelMEDIA, Inc. | Confidential Copyright 2010 2 Luke Michel Content Strategist lmichel@pixelmedia.com Jeff Binder Content Strategist jbinder@pixelmedia.com
    • 3. © 2010 PixelMEDIA, Inc. | Confidential Copyright 2010 3 What qualifies someone to “write for the web”?
    • 4. © 2010 PixelMEDIA, Inc. | Confidential Copyright 2010 4 Courage & conviction
    • 5. © 2010 PixelMEDIA, Inc. | Confidential Copyright 2010 5 You are an advocate for the reader.* Perhaps the only one. * user, end-user, audience, target audience, customer, etc.
    • 6. © 2010 PixelMEDIA, Inc. | Confidential Copyright 2010 6 The “Stakeholder Spectrum”  Executive management  Product management  Product marketing  Sales  Marketing communications  Corporate communications  Legal department
    • 7. © 2010 PixelMEDIA, Inc. | Confidential Copyright 2010 7 Warning signs: the hyphenations  World-class  Best-of-breed  Industry-leading  Cutting-edge  State-of-the-art  Next-generation
    • 8. © 2010 PixelMEDIA, Inc. | Confidential Copyright 2010 8 Writing for the web More team-driven More moving parts More outcome-focused
    • 9. © 2010 PixelMEDIA, Inc. | Confidential Copyright 2010 9 The 4 key questions  Who is your audience?  What do they want?  What do you have to offer?  What do you want them to do?
    • 10. © 2010 PixelMEDIA, Inc. | Confidential Copyright 2010 10 The web is where you give attention, not get it. Gerry McGovern NEW THINKING: Help those who want to help themselves
    • 11. © 2010 PixelMEDIA, Inc. | Confidential Copyright 2010 11 Web writing checklist Make it easy to find. Make it easy to read. Make it easy to act.
    • 12. © 2010 PixelMEDIA, Inc. | Confidential Copyright 2010 12 Make it easy to find.
    • 13. © 2010 PixelMEDIA, Inc. | Confidential Copyright 2010 13 The scent of information  A hound expects the scent to get stronger  If the scent gets weaker, the hound goes in a different direction
    • 14. © 2010 PixelMEDIA, Inc. | Confidential Copyright 2010 14 Writing for the web is often writing about content.
    • 15. © 2010 PixelMEDIA, Inc. | Confidential Copyright 2010 15 Content about content  Section  Title  Synopsis  Takeaways  Biography  Endorsements  Reviews  Price and offers
    • 16. © 2010 PixelMEDIA, Inc. | Confidential Copyright 2010 16 Content about content
    • 17. © 2010 PixelMEDIA, Inc. | Confidential Copyright 2010 17 Keywords are for people
    • 18. © 2010 PixelMEDIA, Inc. | Confidential Copyright 2010 18 Keywords: the scent of information  Keywords should be identified by your target audience  Keywords help readers determine relevance  Keywords help readers follow directions  Keywords help users search for (and find) content  Keywords can help you (the writer) stay on topic  Keywords can help you develop your outline and organize your website
    • 19. © 2010 PixelMEDIA, Inc. | Confidential Copyright 2010 19 Keywords: the scent of information Google site links
    • 20. © 2010 PixelMEDIA, Inc. | Confidential Copyright 2010 20 Keywords: the scent of information
    • 21. © 2010 PixelMEDIA, Inc. | Confidential Copyright 2010 21 Keywords: the scent of information
    • 22. © 2010 PixelMEDIA, Inc. | Confidential Copyright 2010 22 Keywords: the scent of information
    • 23. © 2010 PixelMEDIA, Inc. | Confidential Copyright 2010 23 Keywords: the scent of information
    • 24. © 2010 PixelMEDIA, Inc. | Confidential Copyright 2010 24 Writing for the web is about organizing content to make it easy to recognize and follow.
    • 25. © 2010 PixelMEDIA, Inc. | Confidential Copyright 2010 25 Make it easy to read.
    • 26. © 2010 PixelMEDIA, Inc. | Confidential Copyright 2010 26 How do people “read” web content?  People scan before they choose to read – On a site level – On a page level – Don’t take our word for it  People scan in predictable ways – “Skaters” scan across – “Diggers” scan down – The F pattern  Readers are looking for relevance and value – Our job: convert skaters into diggers
    • 27. © 2010 PixelMEDIA, Inc. | Confidential Copyright 2010 27 “The trick is to concisely introduce the value up front. If the offer is compelling and affiliated with their interests, the consumer will make the connection to personal value and benefits and click-through to redeem the special or coupon when ready or so inclined.” Brian Solis Engage!
    • 28. © 2010 PixelMEDIA, Inc. | Confidential Copyright 2010 28 The inverted pyramid
    • 29. © 2010 PixelMEDIA, Inc. | Confidential Copyright 2010 29 Progressive disclosure  Say what it is – Titles, headlines, labels  Say why it’s important – Subheadlines, captions, blurbs  State your case – Summaries, intros, overviews  Prove it! – Relevant details – Points of comparison/differentiation – Decision support (case studies, white papers, etc.)
    • 30. © 2010 PixelMEDIA, Inc. | Confidential Copyright 2010 30 Progressive disclosure
    • 31. © 2010 PixelMEDIA, Inc. | Confidential Copyright 2010 31 Progressive disclosure
    • 32. © 2010 PixelMEDIA, Inc. | Confidential Copyright 2010 32 Progressive disclosure
    • 33. © 2010 PixelMEDIA, Inc. | Confidential Copyright 2010 33 Long copy should be easy to scan
    • 34. © 2010 PixelMEDIA, Inc. | Confidential Copyright 2010 34 Long copy should be easy to scan
    • 35. © 2010 PixelMEDIA, Inc. | Confidential Copyright 2010 35 We, we, we…
    • 36. © 2010 PixelMEDIA, Inc. | Confidential Copyright 2010 36 Voices  Imperative – Save 30% when you buy two pairs of men’s dress shoes.  Second person – You can save 30% when you buy two pairs of men’s dress shoes.  First person plural – We offer the finest selection of men’s dress shoes.  First person singular – I’m looking for men’s dress shoes. – Where can I find men’s dress shoes?  Voice of God – Dress shoes from Italy offer the ultimate in style and comfort.
    • 37. © 2010 PixelMEDIA, Inc. | Confidential Copyright 2010 37 Voice
    • 38. © 2010 PixelMEDIA, Inc. | Confidential Copyright 2010 38 Writing for the web is about designing content to make it easy to scan and evaluate.
    • 39. © 2010 PixelMEDIA, Inc. | Confidential Copyright 2010 39 Make it easy to act.
    • 40. © 2010 PixelMEDIA, Inc. | Confidential Copyright 2010 40 Learn Compare Decide
    • 41. © 2010 PixelMEDIA, Inc. | Confidential Copyright 2010 41 The web is a series of decision points  Continue reading … or bail out  Bookmark this page  Explore a related/different topic  Subscribe to a feed or newsletter  Make a purchase, make a call, submit a form Different readers have different needs, different levels of urgency, and different tolerances for commitment.
    • 42. © 2010 PixelMEDIA, Inc. | Confidential Copyright 2010 42 Think backwards!
    • 43. © 2010 PixelMEDIA, Inc. | Confidential Copyright 2010 43 What is THE LAST PAGE the user will see?
    • 44. © 2010 PixelMEDIA, Inc. | Confidential Copyright 2010 44 Think backwards
    • 45. © 2010 PixelMEDIA, Inc. | Confidential Copyright 2010 45 Think backwards 1. Call to action 2. Detail page 3. Overview page 4. Index page 5. Home page
    • 46. © 2010 PixelMEDIA, Inc. | Confidential Copyright 2010 46  Example
    • 47. © 2010 PixelMEDIA, Inc. | Confidential Copyright 2010 47  Example
    • 48. © 2010 PixelMEDIA, Inc. | Confidential Copyright 2010 48  Example
    • 49. © 2010 PixelMEDIA, Inc. | Confidential Copyright 2010 49 Start with fewer, easier decisions and provide more options as the reader accumulates knowledge and confidence.
    • 50. © 2010 PixelMEDIA, Inc. | Confidential Copyright 2010 50 Reduce the anxiety  Example
    • 51. © 2010 PixelMEDIA, Inc. | Confidential Copyright 2010 51 Writing for the web is about helping users make decisions.
    • 52. © 2010 PixelMEDIA, Inc. | Confidential Copyright 2010 52 References
    • 53. © 2010 PixelMEDIA, Inc. | Confidential Copyright 2010 53
    • 54. © 2010 PixelMEDIA, Inc. | Confidential Copyright 2010 54 References (and great gift ideas)  Yahoo Style Guide – http://styleguide.yahoo.com/  Outspoken Media – http://outspokenmedia.com/blog/  A List Apart – http://www.alistapart.com/topics/content/  Brain Traffic – http://blog.braintraffic.com/  Jakob Nielsen – http://www.useit.com/alertbox/  Gerry McGovern – http://www.gerrymcgovern.com/new_thinking.htm  Ginny Reddish – http://www.redish.net/content/books/lettinggoofthewords.html  Copyblogger – http://www.copyblogger.com/
    • 55. © 2010 PixelMEDIA, Inc. | Confidential Copyright 2010 55 Quick review Make it easy to find. Make it easy to read. Make it easy to act. Be an advocate for your reader!
    • 56. © 2010 PixelMEDIA, Inc. | Confidential Copyright 2010 56 Thanks. And happy web writing.