You have your content plan. An editorial calendar. A campaign idea. Even a tagline. But how do you actually put those words together in a digital way that helps people grok them? Take a peek into how we tackle it at space150.
“We develop innovative strategies to deliver
maximum ROI by leveraging industry best
practices married to out-of-the-box thinking.”
You want to sound professional. Competent. Serious. And that means you’re trying too
hard to sound like someone else—someone smarter than you.
The problem is, you end up sounding like everybody else, when you really want to stand
out. That’s not smart.
Your vocabulary sounds like it came out
of an intro biz school course.
You insist on complete sentences, no
contractions, no use of the ﬁrst
person (singular or plural), but love
Like the Fresh Prince, your parents just
don’t understand what you do.
Writing on the web is intimate. Status
updates, tweets, blog posts? When we do it
in our personal lives, we sound like ourselves,
and we write about what we like. That’s why
our best friends like to read it.
That’s also why a big brand needs to develop
• A single point of view
• A single tone of voice
• Your own vocabulary
• Your pet interests and causes
“We’re the global leader in
Listen. How many restaurants serve the world’s best coffee? Eye-roll, right? So how many
of your customers roll their eyes when they hear you say it?
Even if it’s true, saying it doesn’t win you any points. You need to prove it by doing it.
You claim you’re an industry leader.
Or you note that you are especially
But you never seem to have a
speciﬁc example at hand when these
statements are made...
Anybody can say they’re a leader, an
innovator, or an out-of-the-box thinker.
But here’s how to show people that
you are, in fact, changing the world:
• Tell stories that show the difference
• Start from the perspective of your
• Point out what makes you special and
Source: 3M Innovations – Stories
do with that
“10% stronger than our leading competitor.
10% stronger than our leading competitor.
10% stronger than our leading competitor.”
You won’t get invited to parties if you only ever talk about one thing.
Especially if that thing is you.
Your readers should know all the features of your products. It’s why they buy, right?
Therefore, talk about those features everywhere: on the package. On the product web
page. In the banner ad. In pre-roll Hulu ads. On Facebook. On Twitter. On Instagr— hey
wait! Why did you unfriend us?
#3 MAY BE
You can’t get any responses to your
You run out of things to talk about
after your feature list.
Your ﬁngers make the “copy and paste”
shortcut motion in your sleep.
Empathy will help your audience understand
what you’re saying, and help you anticipate
what you need to tell them. Let the
conversation meander away from your
• Know your audience. How do they talk?
• What do they want to talk about? Deliver it.
• Are they jumping to a new topic? Jump
• PS, features aren’t always the best
“To our valued customers, without whom we would be
nothing, and in honor of the beginning of summer,
which always brings to our minds the end of school,
new adventures, and new relationships, we offer this
valuable 10% off coupon.”
Zzzzzzzzzzzz wha?!? Did something happen? Did I hear something about a coupon?
No. I didn’t. Because I stopped reading about 6 words in. I mean, really, “whom?”
Thanks for the nap, professor.
Those who hold handshakes too long.
Like 10 minutes too long.
While making aggressive, unbroken eye
Seriously, don’t you just want to run
The internet is immediate. You don’t
need to build up to your point.
Lead with the main takeaway, and let
your readers decide if they need to dive
into the details or related matters.
Demonstrate relevance, usefulness, and
Organize according to the Inverted
Pyramid… (next slide)
Further Reading: The Inverted Pyramid - The Purdue OWL
Source: Inverted Pyramid - WIkipedia
A great lead.
You have a lot to say. Is it better to cram it all at the top of the page, above the fold? Or to
space it out?
Spoiler alert: the answer is, space it out. If you help your readers read, they’ll come
away, overall, with greater comprehension of your content.
(Still love you, Dr. Bronner’s!)
You put image carousels at the top of
your web page.
You ﬁll up every last pixel of white
It’s like watching 3 TV shows at once!
In Western cultures, most people tend to read
in an “F” shaped pattern: top to bottom,
starting from the left. Write your copy to match
• Generally, make a strong margin from top to
bottom (centered or right justiﬁcation is good,
but left is the most natural)
• Chunk your paragraphs into bite-sized pieces
• Use short, styled headlines to break up body
copy, give your reader resting points, and make
it easier to scan the page for relevance
Source: Evidence Soup
See the F?
Source: Nike Golf 360 App
Look at these
“We’re leaders in cloud computing, ofﬁce
networking, ﬁber optic management, server
support, email services, website hosting, AV
protection, backup services, etc., etc., etc.”
Whoa! Slow down there, Listy McListerson. I get it. You want me to understand
every service you offer. I have to tell you, though, you sound like Bubba in Forrest
Gump, going shrimp-crazy.
But do the Google bots like it? Bad news: not really. The more keywords you stuﬀ
on one page, the less likely you’ll rank on any of them.
You need to ask how to punctuate a list
inside a list.
You look up synonyms for “services” or
Want to deliver what reader and search engines
are looking for? Work with your search and
analytics experts to identify high-volume,
relevant keywords and make sure these words
• In the headline and title tags
• Early in the body copy
• In any relevant image ﬁle names, title, and alt
• On relevant anchor text links
The top nav groups all their
kinds of cakes into high-level
categories, linking to pages that
focus on the speciﬁcs.
“Learn about SEO! To start, click here.”
Do me a favor. Google search “click here.” I got 6,670,000,000 results. That’s a lot.
Such a lot, in fact, that Google isn’t going to rank links like this highly. Or the pages
they link to. There are billions of other hits ahead of you in line.
The upshot? The web doesn’t need more links that say “learn more” or “buy now.” It
needs you to tell the user (and the search engine bots) what comes next.
You really, really, really want someone to
click right there. Yeah. That’s the spot.
It’s Friday. It’s 5:15. And this is the 25th
link to write today. You’ve run out of
It’s obvious from the context where
clicking that link will take you. Right?
Tell your users what to expect when
they click. Where they’ll go. What content they’ll
Search bots are confused by weak link copy.
They want to understand the relationship
between web pages. But “click here” is no help.
Human readers can ﬁgure it out, if the context
indicates where the link will take you. However,
even humans are more likely to click when
they know for sure where they’re going to end
Source: Buffalo Wild Wings
Nice. Tell me
where to go!
The rules still apply, friend.
Even dense, legal copy can be broken up into manageable chunks for easier scanning.
Look for opportunities to inject personality, even if it must be in the margins.
Plus, the inverted pyramid gives scanners a high-level overview, and detail seekers
plenty to chew on lower on the page. It’s a win-win!