Writing for the Web

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Slides from my class on Writing for the Web at Betamore in March 2013. Check out my blog to sign up for the next class and get more resources: http://www.tracycgold.com/2013/03/8-awesome-web-writing-and-editing-resources.

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Writing for the Web

  1. 1. Web Writing andEditing Workshop Tracy Gold Content and Social Media Marketer tracycgold.com @tracycgold
  2. 2. Agenda• Beating writer’s block• Writing for your target audience• Avoiding common grammar mistakes• Editing constructively• Optimizing for SEO and the web• Writing awesome titles• Writing calls to action
  3. 3. Writer’s Block
  4. 4. Free Writing Exercise• Today I…• The reason I’m writing right now is…• The point of all this is…• I hate it when…• I like to…
  5. 5. How’d it go?
  6. 6. Other Techniques• Write S!*$$y first drafts• Skip the intro• Write an outline• Google for inspiration• Change your setting• Don’t look, just type
  7. 7. Know Your Audience
  8. 8. Know Your Audience• What motivates them?• Age?• Gender?• What do they do for work?• What do they do for fun?
  9. 9. Establish Your Voice
  10. 10. Establish Your Voice• What three words most describe your brand?• What tone best communicates that brand? o Authoritative? o Serious? o Playful? o Determined? o Passionate?
  11. 11. Establish Your Voice• What “person” would you like to speak in? o First person singular (I): Not a good idea for an organization o First person plural (we): Informal, but adds a friendly tone o Second person (you): Informal, but can pull your readers into your text o Third person (Company Name): Formal, but clunky and stiff• What are your pet peeves (or your boss’ pet peeves)?• Keep a running style guide
  12. 12. Common Mistake QuizQuestion 1:Click the red button marked “Start” andthan enter your personal information.
  13. 13. Common Mistake QuizAnswer 1:Click the red button marked “Start” andthan enter your personal information.Correct:Click the red button marked “Start” andthen enter your personal information.
  14. 14. Common Mistake QuizQuestion 2:Especially if you’re seeking apromotion, its not a good idea to tellyour boss you think her shirt is ugly.
  15. 15. Common Mistake QuizAnswer 2:Especially if you’re seeking a promotion,its not a good idea to tell your boss youthink her shirt is ugly.Correct:Especially if you’re seeking a promotion,it’s not a good idea to tell your boss youthink her shirt is ugly.
  16. 16. Common Mistake QuizQuestion 3:You’re online presence is important tocurrent and prospective students.
  17. 17. Common Mistake QuizAnswer 3:You’re online presence is important tocurrent and prospective students.Correct:Your online presence is important tocurrent and prospective students.
  18. 18. Common Mistake QuizQuestion 4:At Unicorn Farm, we provide:• Magic rides on unicorns• Teaching unicorn care and grooming• Pet a unicorn.• How to tell nice unicorns from mean ones
  19. 19. Common Mistake QuizAnswer 4:At Unicorn Farm, we provide:• Magic rides on unicorns• Lessons about unicorn grooming• Petting sessions, which are great for kids• Advice on how to tell nice unicorns from mean ones
  20. 20. Common Mistake QuizQuestion 5:Peering up from the base of themountain, the peak seemedunattainable.
  21. 21. Common Mistake QuizAnswer 5:Peering up from the base of themountain, the peak seemedunattainable.Correct:As seen from the base of themountain, the peak seemedunattainable.
  22. 22. So How Do You Catch That Stuff?
  23. 23. Get Help! Don’t Be Your Only Editor.
  24. 24. But For Your First Look…• Step away from your writing• Prepare to kill your darlings• Focus on your audience• Print for a different view• Read your writing aloud
  25. 25. Editing Someone Else’s Work• Scan, then dive deep• Give overall feedback—both positive and negative• Explain all changes with comments• Suggest changes, don’t mandate them• Read aloud
  26. 26. Workshop
  27. 27. Optimizing for the Web• Focus on readability• Optimize for search• Call to action
  28. 28. Readability• Short paragraphs• Headers• No ALL CAPS• Bold highlights• Bullet points
  29. 29. Workshop
  30. 30. Search Optimization• Don’t sacrifice readability for search• Use Adwords’ keyword tool• Focus on 1-2 key phrases• Repeat every 100-200 words• Include key phrases in page headers and titles• Link to other relevant pages on your site/blog• Check progress with a rank checker• Refine URLs
  31. 31. Workshop
  32. 32. Writing Blog Post Headlines• Keep them short—under 65 characters• Use keywords in the beginning• Use numbered lists• Use alliteration and rhyme• Focus on clarity before cleverness• Avoid person and brand names• Use the second person
  33. 33. Workshop
  34. 34. Writing Meta Data• Treat these as action-focused ad copy• Keep your headline as your meta title if it’s SEO optimized, if not, adjust• Use an action word in your meta description, such as “read” or “find out”• Use your keyword in your meta description• Use a spreadsheet with character length formulas to compose
  35. 35. Writing Calls to Action• Make it obvious• Use graphics• Create urgency
  36. 36. Workshop
  37. 37. Questions• Get in touch o tracyc@tracycgold.com o @tracycgold• Resources and slides o http://tracycgold.com/2013/03/8-awesome-web- writing-and-editing-resources/
  38. 38. Image Credits• http://www.planetofsuccess.com/blog/2010/how- to-overcome-writers-block/• http://www.flickr.com/photos/sashajelan/33800566 33/sizes/z/in/photostream/

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