Writing for the web


Published on

Paul Quinn, consultant
Web effectiveness workshop

Published in: Technology
  • Be the first to comment

  • Be the first to like this

No Downloads
Total views
On SlideShare
From Embeds
Number of Embeds
Embeds 0
No embeds

No notes for slide
  • I saw this sign in the street recently, near where I live in Brighton, and I thought it was quite funny… Not quite sure why the cyclists would have mounted those pedestrians in the first place, but anyway… I’ll be talking a bit about the importance of punctuation later on…
    > next slide
  • So this workshop is about writing for the web. I just wanted to start by spending a few minutes making a point that’s quite easy to overlook - which is that most mass communication is about written words. That seems obvious when you’re talking about traditional newspapers - but it’s also true in lots of other media too - including and especially websites, campaign emails, blogs and most social media.
    So I just wanted to make the case for the importance and the power of words and the way we use them.
    > Next slide
  • Even in a medium like television, which everyone thinks of as a visual medium, most of what people say and do on the screen is actually written in advance. Even live television - unless it’s an audience participation even, like Question Time, most of the time it will be scripted.
    Not just dramas and comedy shows, or even just documentaries. Even the TV news, if you think about it - the newsreader isn’t just talking off-the-cuff, making up the words as she or he goes along. Those news stories have been carefully crafted in advance - and they’re written in a way that theoretically at least will be clear and quickly understood by everyone watching at home. (By the way, the woman in the photo here was actually the first ever female TV newsreader, in 1958 in Sweden.)
    And in the case of the news, the stories have to be written in a very specific way - it’s supposed to be neutral, apolitical, unemotional as much as possible, as well as clear and concise. You can’t confuse people with obscure words or abbreviations that very few people will understand. You’ve got to bring people up to speed fast, but without talking down to anyone. That’s a good discipline and a lesson for anyone in the communication business.
    And crucially it’s got to sound as natural as possible - as close to verbal communication as you can get without it sounding too false or contrived. The presentation of news has actually changed a lot over the last few decades - it used to be very formal, in its language and tone and delivery, but has become much more informal and more natural-sounding on the whole.
    Things like that don’t just happen by accident. The words all have to be carefully crafted by writers and editors to get across exactly the story and meaning and tone that’s intended - nothing more, nothing less.
    It’s still not exactly conversational of course. But then at the other end of the formality scale, the most famous recent example of the chatty tone is probably someone like Innocent smoothies - love them or hate them, they’re an interesting case study.
    > Next slide
  • This is their twitter stream (which is followed by more than 172,000 people, including Barack Obama and Oxfam, as well as Sam Bain, one of the writers of Peep Show).
    Their tone does grate with some people - and it’s spawned a lot of very inferior copycats - seems like lots of products want to be your best mate all of a sudden - but Innocent are probably still best at it - they’re remarkably consistent. They’ve very active on social media, which they’ve really embraced, and have a decent sized community that shares their humour - and presumably buys the drinks. And it seems to work for them. If you’re selling fruity drinks, it seems a very appropriate tone - maybe not so appropriate for all products or organisations. But it’s interesting actually what it allows them to do….
    > Next slide
  • This is their wee-ometer, which came out this summer, which again isn’t to everyone’s taste (unfortunate way to put it). Some people dismissed it and criticised it as “toilet humour” - but actually what they’re doing is using their kind of cheeky-chappy tone-of-voice as a kind of leverage tool to put across an important public health message - everyone should drink more water, but how do you know when you’ve drunk enough - in a way that other companies or drinks manufacturers might find it hard to do…
    So again it’s that balance and interaction between images and words. And that’s particularly crucial online. The images can help grab your attention, or excite or move you - but it’s the words that almost always convey the real message. And it’s not just what you say, it’s the way you say it.
    Obviously images might be more important if your business is selling something like mountain bikes… [> next slide]
  • … or kittens… [>next slide]
  • … then images are probably your biggest asset.
    Even as a writer and editor I would always say if you can use an image to get your point or message across, then do it. But sometimes our messages are complicated, or subtle, and while the image might be the thing that grabs people’s attention, it’s the words that will deliver the real message, and crucially tell people how to take action you want.
    In fact it’s amazing the difference that slight changes in wording can make - fundraisers are well aware of this - even slight changes in punctuation can change a meaning….
    >next slide
  • … could even be fatal. See, punctuation is more important than you might think…
    And the great thing about being online is you can make small changes and test different versions to see which one is most effective - using A-B testing, or multivariate testing - and compare the results using Google analytics.
    But I’m going to say something controversial now… Just a word about about web designers and content. I’ve worked with several web designers, and I hope to again, so if there’s any in the room, I hope you’ll bear with me and hear me out. The web obviously wouldn’t look nearly as good without all the talented web designers out there… But…
    >Next slide
  • Here’s the thing. It’s a common and heartfelt feeling among website designers that web pages should only be designed by web designers. And there’s a good reason for them saying that - because they want to avoid unhelpful interference from clients, people who have no web design background, who say things like - like “Can we make that box pink?” - even though they’d already agreed the designer’s careful colour palette, which didn’t include pink. And lots of other horror stories they’ll tell you about.
    But I’d like to argue that web pages shouldn’t be designed by web designers - at least when it comes to the use of words and the user journey as well. The designers need to be guided by content creators, and writers and editors, working in conjunction with them. Designers shouldn’t be expected - or allowed - to design ‘blind’. Because the “user journey” again is very closely related to the words - and that’s something that some designers don’t always get. God bless them.
    A good web designer can design a great-looking website, but that’s not necessarily the same as an effective website. It’s only half the job. This slide shows how web designers often start the design process, this is called a ‘wireframe’ as you probably know, essentially empty boxes where content will go.
    But website content - what actually goes in those boxes on the site - shouldn’t be, dictated by a web designer - it shouldn’t even be an online team decision. It should be an organisational level decision. It should reflect what the organisation decides is the focus of their communications at any one time. It’s up to the communications team and content creators to guide the web designers and online team - not the other way around.
    There’s still a lot of trepidation about stepping on the toes of ‘digital’ experts - but essentially ‘digital’ is just another way of delivering content. So the fundamentals of the content - the tone, the message and the direction - have to come first.
    For instance on this wireframe - they just have a big block for ‘content’ - which sounds fine in theory, but it’s got to be great, eye-catching, informative content to make people pay attention to it. Personally I think there’s a lot to be said for the principal of just telling people one big thing on the homepage. The more different options you offer, the more you spread their attention and dilute the impact.
    It’s something Greenpeace are very good at - just saying to people ‘This is the one big thing we want you to think about right now’ - it doesn’t mean they’re not working on other things too, but they don’t want to distract you with those here - they want you to help with this one thing right now, today.
    Also where it says ‘navigation’ up there on the wireframe - that’s more than just a web design or site structure element. It’s the words that you put in that space that will determine whether people easily find their way around your site or not.
    So, with that in mind… let’s look at how to create better written content online…
    >next slide
  • My four rules of writing for the web - to make your words more engaging and accessible…
    As a general rule I’d say: If you can find someone who’s good at writing, get them to write your content… I’d say that about social media as well - some people will be better at it than others. It’s not just about being digital-savvy, it’s about being a good communicator - and as we’ve seen, that really means being a good writer.
    But there are some tips and tricks everyone can be aware of to help them write better online… So in the next half an hour or so I’m going to highlight what I think are a few of the key tips to good online writing - and even get you to try a couple of short writing exercises to get you thinking differently about words, messages and tone of voice…
    I’ll go through these four tips in a bit more detail…
  • So the main radical idea I’m suggesting with this is you should forget about old formal writing conventions, things you might have been taught in the past, at school or wherever.
    Just think about how you might talk about your work in conversation with a friend, face-to-face, in everyday words. As if you’re in the pub, so you’re relaxed, in a talkative, story-telling mood, but before you get drunk. Write like that.
    Trust yourself. If you’re good at talking - write the way you talk. Writing the way you talk is the best of both worlds - it’s more likely to have the flow and naturalness of conversation, but with the advantage that you’re doing it on a computer, so you can also edit it to remove any mistakes, or hesitations, repetitions or deviations.
    The strange thing is, sometimes when people start to write things down, they suddenly go from being good, friendly verbal communicators in the modern world - like this [ >Next slide]
  • … to suddenly sounding like they’ve gone back in time back to the Victorian era… [>next slide]
  • … People suddenly start writing ‘therefore and furthermore and whilst…’ and being all stiff and unnatural - like they’ve constructed this force field of formality - a bit like the huge crinoline hoops in those old dresses - which actually stops them getting close to the person they’re talking to…
    It might just be a case of reverting back to the way you wrote essays at school or college, when you might have been taught very formal methods of communication - letter writing or report writing. And a lot of the time that carries on unchallenged in our communications at work.
    I think this is particularly the case in older, more traditional organisations, which might have a culture of presenting their communications in a certain way, which may or may not reflect the people that work there nowadays.
    So here’s the first exercise - yes, it’s the bit you’ve all been looking forward to, the hands-on exercises - to help you check how you write and think about saying things in different ways. This should only take 5 minutes…
    Turn to the person on your left (depending on room) - and ask them 2 questions: 1) What’s your job title? And when they tell you, ask question no2) What does that mean? If you’re the person who’s answering the questions, just describe your job in your own words, trying to avoid any work jargon - as if you’re talking to a friend who’s interested but they don’t know anything about the subjects involved. It doesn’t matter here whether the other person knows you or not - imagine they don’t.
    The person asking the question should then write down what you say - doesn’t need to be every word, this is not for publication, it’s just to make a note of the way they’ve said it, the kind of things they said. Just spend a couple of minutes on it. Then turn the paper over, and swap roles.
    One of the main points here is about saying things out loud - that’s often a good barometer that indicates whether something sounds like natural communication or not.
  • So, you might be thinking, if I write like I talk, does that mean I can write however and whatever I like? Well, no, there are still rules. Your organisation might have brand guidelines to follow, there might be legal restrictions, you don’t want to say anything libellous or defamatory, even in picture captions. And there are also grammatical rules - sometimes they might seem a bit arcane and unnecessary, especially online, but I’m still quite old-fashioned in that way and I think it looks bad to have glaring grammatical or punctuation or spelling mistakes anywhere in communications, especially from an organisation that’s asking for my support or funding. It’s a quality control issue. It’s about being professional and authoritative as well as friendly and engaging.
    It’s true that some of the old grammar rules just seem like rules for the sake of rules - like not starting a sentence with ‘And’ or ‘But’ or not splitting an infinitive… You can actually do all of those, and the world won’t end. In fact, my argument is always, if it doesn’t make it clearer, it’s not helpful.
    The most important rule, of course, is to make yourself clear - to be understood. And that’s actually usually what grammar and punctuation rules are meant to be for - or what they were for originally.
    Obviously conventions change in different contexts - so if you’re tweeting you might miss out unnecessary words or punctuation to save space - but you still need to think if the meaning of what you’re saying is clear, or if it could be misinterpreted. If it’s clearer by putting in punctuation, then put it in. We’ve all seen the examples of hilarious double meanings in website addresses or twitter hashtags - where would Graham Norton be without them? - so it’s always worth just stopping and re-reading something you’ve written, or showing it to someone else before you post it.
    >next slide
  • This is in my opinion, obviously - and they’re not the ones you were probably told at school. Like all rules there might be times when you have to break them, but these should be like alarm bells that ring to make you stop and think about the way you’re communicating…
  • Just say ‘So…’, or ‘That’s why…’ or “That’s the reason why”… Better to rearrange a sentence sometimes than use these very officious and off-putting words. It’s about trying to be natural and talk to people like a real person would. If you wouldn’t say it out loud when you’re speaking to someone, don’t say it when you’re writing.
  • Just say ‘On top of that’, or ‘As well as that…’ or even ‘What’s more”
  • Just say ‘But…’
  • Just say ‘And…’, or use ‘also’ in the sentence…
    There are lots of other very old-fashioned words I’d avoid - like “whilst” - I don’t think anyone born after the 18th century should be saying “whilst”.
    And there’s so much jargon we take for granted in business or third sector work, that most real people would never use - words like ‘stakeholder’…. “seeking to” … and saying things in the passive voice - “It is felt that”, when it’s much more immediate, engaging and ‘human’ to say “We feel…”
    I’m also wary of overusing the word ‘humans’ sometimes - “humans are doing this and that” - most of the time you can say ‘people’, and it sounds more like we are all part of that species, rather than talking about a separate species. it’s more inclusive, less cold and clinical - ironically it sounds more ‘human ’if you don’t say human.
    And there are odd, awkward phrases that we often use - like “Asian forests harbour rare tigers” - really? Harbour? Almost as bad is “the forest hosts rare tigers”. Why not just say ‘There are rare tigers living in those forests.”
    It’s just about thinking twice about some of the old phrases we fall back on, and trying to think if there are other, better ways to say it. [>next slide]
  • Here’s another quick recent example from WWF, which didn’t seem appropriate for the context…. A pre-prepared response to a comment about Virunga, oil drilling and gorillas… They often pre-prepare answers for Frequently Asked Questions, which in the old days they used to post out to individuals who sent letters or emails. I didn’t think this response was appropriate anywhere, but especially on the website or blog, so I changed it….
    > Next slide
  • This was the alternative response I put together to address the issues raised in a more direct and appropriate way…
    All of which brings me to piece of writing advice number 2…
  • … Be clear - making your message and your stories understandable to your readers, something that’s very important, and something that’s often overlooked. When you work on something every day, and talk to people who work in the same field, it’s easy to make assumptions that everyone knows all the things you take for granted… But out in the real world, they don’t.
    But I should also add… {>next slide]
  • Be clear and get noticed. Because websites aren’t just read by people, they’re read by robots too. Robot spiders, to be exact. Which look like this, apparently… [>next slide]
  • … they’re obviously much smaller than that in reality - this must be them viewed through a microscope… But the thing about writing online is you need to write in a way that can be understood and ‘approved of’ by these robots. It sounds like something out of Dr Who, but your success online is determined by these robotic spiders. So if you know what they want to see, and where they’re looking, you can make sure they work for you rather than against you.
    This is what keywords and SEO - Search Engine Optimisation - are all about. They’re about talking to people and trying to impress spiders… The interesting thing is they can be quite smart, these spider robots - they can tell when someone’s trying to trick them. So say you wanted your page about climate change to rank first on Google. If you thought all you needed to do was just say the word climate change 20 times in the opening paragraph to get a high ranking, you’d be caught out by the robots - they’d know what you were up to and it would negatively affect your page ranking. They look for good writing and grammar too - they trust pages that are well written because they assume they’re more authoritative, and will reward you with a higher ranking on the search results…
    >next slide
  • So SEO is all about using key words in key places. (See what they’ve done there with the SEO and the key, that’s genius. That was worth a pound from iStock, definitely.)
    So Search Engine Optimisation basically involves thinking about which words and phrases people might be searching for in Google, or Bing, if you like Bing, and making sure those words and phrases appear in the relevant stories or blogs you’re writing. Preferably in the headings and subheads and introductions.
    The first 60 characters of a page title (no page should have a title longer than that anyway) will show up in Google results, and of those the first 25 characters are usually the most important… Some research suggests people look at as few as the first 11 characters of a page title and decide whether they want to read on. That’s the first two words, if you’re lucky. So they’ve got to be pretty good, those first two words…
    And the name of your campaign might not always be clear enough for search engines - it might not be the words people would search for. For instance WWF used to have a campaign called Toxic Fuels - not a phrase most people would search for naturally - it was actually about tar sands in Canada - so I had to make sure the headlines and intros for those pages included key words about oil and fossil fuels, even climate change…
    This is where we also start to talk about things like metadata and metatags, which I’ll explain in a minute. Because these sound very technical, some people might ask whether SEO is a technical thing, something for the online geeks and boffins to worry about, or is it an editorial thing? The answer is it's both. It’s very closely related to content, so writers and editors should know WHAT are the important key words to include, but there’s some technical knowledge involved in knowing WHERE those words need to go to have the most effect, which might depend on how your webpages or Content Management System have been designed or set up.
    But what sometimes happens is that everyone assumes SEO is someone else’s job - so it’s worth discussing with everyone who contributes to your website or blog to make sure it isn't being missed.
    So here’s a summary of what you need to think about when it comes to metadata…
    >next slide
  • 1) Title tag - similar but not always necessarily the same as the headline on a page - they end up as the bold blue words in Google search results [see next slide - searching for ‘charity communications’]
    fewer than 8 words / 60 characters max - don’t waste words saying things like ‘welcome’ or ‘This is…’ in the title tag. If it’s a page on a specific subject, like a blog post or a featured article, you might not even want to repeat the name of the organisation - that's in the url, which is shown under the title tag anyway.
    Title tag should have the keywords of the topic you're writing about - and most importantly, the words you think people will search for… if you use google a lot yourself you might have a good idea of the kinds of words and phrases people might search for - but you can also do user research to find out - or use google analytics to see what the kind of popular search terms are in your specialist subject area.
    2) Description tag - the 2 lines underneath the blue title in Google results - fewer than 25 words - it's a summary of what you're offering on this specific web page (or if it’s the homepage, then summarising the organisation/website as a whole) - including a call to action for a campaign if that’s relevant.
    3) ‘Meta keywords’ - these are the ones people tend to think of as ‘keywords’ - people would traditionally just list all the important words from a page in a separate box in the CMS. But the thing is, Google say they don't look at these at all now, because they were too open to abuse (people were overusing them, or using words that weren't relevant, or stealing other people's keywords to steal their thunder), and most SEO experts will tell you not to bother with them…. But some other search engines might still use them - or some might decide to in the future.
    One school of thought is that they're useful just as an exercise anyway in summarising the key points of a page, for internal use at least.
    Interesting thing about keywords… is it's best not just to use individual words, separated by commas, but instead use the whole phrase people might search for. So say you wanted to be found by people looking for a children’s charity in London - instead of ’children, charity, London' as individual words… you're better entering ’children charity London' as one set of words. Make them as accurate and specific as possible - but maximum of 6-8 key words per page - for every page, not just the homepage.
    In reality, though, the most important keywords are the ones actually contained naturally in your piece of writing - mainly in the title and the opening paragraph…
    >next slide
  • Here’s a quick example of different versions of the same news story from WWF. You won’t be able to read all of this from there, I know, it’s just to show some different options and solutions…
    This one was the Canadian website version of an illegal timber story…WWF has separate comms teams and websites for every country… which can have its downsides. This is just the first few paragraphs - the full story is shown on the right, reduced so it fits on this screen.
    Heading? ‘Epidemic’ is dramatic, but is it what people would be searching for if they’re interested in stories about forests or tigers? Imperils?? First para - sounds like it’s only of relevance to Chinese furniture manufacturers…?
    Here’s what the US website did with this same story…
  • Huge long heading… Weird capitalisation, which makes it hard to read, the opposite of what they were hoping for, I’m sure - that’s why you need to be quite strict about reducing capitals wherever possible… They’ve at least tried to give it a ‘local interest’ angle by mentioning the US in the heading…
    Here’s what I did with this same story at WWF-UK…
  • Shorter, snappier, more SEO-friendly heading and more general-interest intro, trying to widen the appeal and engagement with the story…
    I’ve also tried to bear in mind the way people read online - you probably know about this already, about the F-shaped scanning pattern?….. And bolding key paragraphs to attract the eye as it scans.
    Here’s the general rule: If you find yourself writing (or reading) a convoluted old-style piece of text, whether it’s report, a statement or a press release – stop and write the words [>new slide]: ‘Basically what we mean is…” and then explain what you’ve just written (or read) briefly in normal, everyday words.
  • Here’s the general rule: If you find yourself writing (or reading) a convoluted old-style piece of text, whether it’s report, a statement or a press release – stop and write the words:
    ‘Basically what we mean is…” and then explain what you’ve just written (or read) briefly in normal, everyday words.
    OK, tip number 3 - sounds like an obvious one, but often overlooked…
    >next slide
  • There’s a lot of overlap between these ideas, you might notice - it’s all about making people read what we’re saying and get the right messages - and act on those messages.
    Sometimes people would approach me with a story for the website and almost apologise, saying, “Sorry, it’s a bit dry, or dull, or very techy or complicated.” But sometimes that’s because the story had been written in a way that made it sound unnecessarily complex, or boring, rather than it being inherently dull or unfathomable … The thing is, most of the work that charities and NGOs do is about making the world a better place, or saving lives, and it doesn’t get more fundamentally exciting than that.
    You might be just too close to it sometimes, or bogged down in the everyday routine of admin work - but people are interested in what your organisation is trying to do, so the trick is to step back and try to look at familiar things in a new way, with a different hat on - a different head on, even. Here’s another quick example from my WWF days…
    >next slide
  • This was a press release, sent out to the media - very worthy and important cause, but comes across a bit dull and even preachy… So working with one of our bloggers, we turned it into this…
  • … - with a new, more quotable heading, which was then re-purposed in campaign emails and tweets etc… It’s very rare that you get a chance to do jokey or punning headlines, because they don’t usually contain the right key words. But in this case it’s got DEFRA in, and it’s true, the F in DEFRA is about Food… For SEO purposes of course the heading really should have said ‘Food: why there’s a F in DEFRA’. Could have done with a more interesting picture too… but sometimes you have to do these things in a rush.
    And while on the subject of not being boring, here’s the last related writing tip…
    >next slide
  • - And I could add to that, not just short but…
  • Short articles, short paragraphs, short sentences. Break up longer ones into shorter chunks… I’ll come back to ‘chunks’ in a minute…
    Sometimes there’s unnecessary waffle, especially at the start of a story, or repetition. Newspaper editors are notoriously brutal - they cut from the bottom up, going on the assuming that all the important stuff will have been included at the beginning - it’s the ‘inverted pyramid’ idea - with the big important stuff at the top - which is a good one for online too.
    Recent trend for ‘content strategies’ online promotes the idea of reusing content in lots of ways and locations… You’ve probably heard the acronym COPE - create once, publish everywhere. All very efficient, in theory at least. In reality, when it comes to written content, unless it’s very carefully written, you might find when you take a chunk out of one context and automatically paste it into another, it won’t always work. It may become disjointed and stilted, like it was put together by a machine - which would of course be partly true. That’s why you need good editors, to curate and manage that content successfully.
    To some extent nowadays all content creators need to know about editing. Editing is essentially all about finding the kernel - the gold nugget, the gem that’s often hidden inside a complex piece of writing…. I’d say there’s almost always something there, if you look hard enough for it - it might just need a bit of help coming out.
    So here’s a final bit of hands-on writing to try. It’s quite a good exercise to take a dense or convoluted story or paragraph and see what can be removed without changing the core meaning.
    >next slide
  • [give out printouts of this - I can provide…] This is a long, typically dry ‘scientific’-type piece (about 200 words) - so here’s the challenge: how much of this text could you remove and still keep the core message? How short can you get it? Under 100 words? Even less…? Have a go for next 5 minutes…
  • How about the same message in under 10 words?
  • A great campaign slogan - I’m not saying this is how they arrived at it - I just made up those longer versions - but I’m just using this as a kind of reverse-engineered example of how you can be very short and punchy and memorable, without telling people everything you know about a subject, or even every detail you think they need to know… Sometimes 9 words and a photo is all you need - if it’s the right 9 words…
  • So to sum up my four tips for great online writing …
    It’s basically about getting across the passion and enthusiasm that makes you want to work for the cause you’re working for - words are the way to spread that message.
    That’s it, thanks for coming along and listening - and if you’d like any help with your writing or words or messages or stories, just ask…
  • Writing for the web

    1. 1. Let’s eat Grandpa! Let’s eat, Grandpa! (commas can save lives)
    2. 2. 1. Write the way you talk 2. Be clear 3. Don’t be boring 4. Keep it short
    3. 3. 1. Write the way you talk
    4. 4. Writing rules (and which ones to break)
    5. 5. Words you should never use…
    6. 6. Words you should never use… Therefore
    7. 7. Words you should never use… Furthermore
    8. 8. Words you should never use… However
    9. 9. Words you should never use… In addition
    10. 10. Blog comment on Total’s decision not to drill in Virunga: “Aren't the gorillas in the mountains at the Rwandan end of the park? That is nearly 200kms away - and the gorillas would need to cross the lowlands or lake to get anywhere near!” WWF’s pre-prepared ‘FAQ response’: “Development in Virunga National Park could negatively affect the security of mountain gorillas and their habitat. In addition, development in the buffer zones outside the Park will likely have a direct effect on the World Heritage values of the Park. The damage to the natural environment that oil exploration would cause and the risk of oil spills could cause irreparable damage and jeopardise the health of this unique natural habitat. Indirect threats from increased immigration and infrastructure development would increase demands on natural resources and magnify existing drivers of threats to mountain gorillas, such as poaching and loss of habitat due to charcoal production. Furthermore, Virunga National Park harbours a wealth of species and WWF is concerned about that there is likely to be a negative impact on the habitat of many other species of plants and animals.”
    11. 11. We don’t want oil exploration anywhere in this precious World Heritage site. We’re concerned about the safety and health of lots of animal and plant species in Virunga – one of the planet’s most richly biodiverse places – as well as the wellbeing of the people whose livelihoods depend on the park. We’ve seen elsewhere in the world how oil-drilling can have negative impacts on wildlife, habitats and people – from seismic surveys and tree-felling to pipeline-laying and potential oil spills. The influx of more people, roads and infrastructure could have wider impacts in and around Virunga too – not just increasing demands on natural resources, but even potentially heightening the risks from poaching as access becomes easier. So in our view, the gorillas could well be affected by oil exploitation, even if indirectly.
    12. 12. 2. Be clear
    13. 13. 2. Be clear - and get noticed
    14. 14. 3 types of metadata: * 1) Title tag - the blue words in Google results 2) Description tag - the 2 lines underneath 3) Meta keywords - worth the bother? * the most boring slide title of the day - hopefully
    15. 15. “Basically what we mean is…
    16. 16. 3. Don’t be boring
    17. 17. 4. Keep it short
    18. 18. 4. Keep it short -and to the point
    19. 19. The familiaris subspecies of Canis lupus has a median longevity of between 10 and15 years, with certain individuals surviving significantly longer. However, analysis has show it is often the case that many humans who undertake to voluntarily share a habitat with one or more members of the sub-species are unaware of, or at least insensitive to, the realities of that lifecycle. In addition, humans frequently underestimate the commitment inherent in the associated nutritional and behavioral requirements of such morphologically diverse carnivorous mammals, among which the physiological development of certain examples can be considerable (the species’ growth curve plotting weight against age can be expressed as ‘Body weight = a/{1+exp[-(x-x0)/b]}’). As a consequence, therefore, it has been observed that many humans misjudge the temporal or financial costs necessitated by their habitat-sharing. In certain circumstances this can often result in humans neglecting or even abandoning individuals of this sub-species shortly after the start of a cohabitational association, which may or may not have initially coincided with seasonal gift-giving. It is proposed that these issues should be addressed by an educational process aimed at all relevant stakeholders and decision-makers as a matter of some priority.
    20. 20. Cut in half (under 80 words): Dogs can live for about 15 years, depending on the breed. That’s a serious commitment for a pet owner. The sad truth is, a lot of people who give or receive puppies (at Christmas for instance) don’t really consider the ongoing costs and time involved in feeding and caring for a growing animal. So we’re just asking everyone who’s thinking of getting a dog to stop and think first: will this pet have a good, safe home for the rest of its life?
    21. 21. Under 10 words: A dog is for life, not just for Christmas… Dogs Trust slogan, 1978
    22. 22. 1. Write the way you talk 2. Be clear - and get noticed 3. Don’t be boring 4. Keep it short - and to the point Paul Quinn copywriter, editor, coach uk.linkedin.com/in/paulquinneditor/