How does writing content for email distribution differ from offline or real world styles?
I am not convinced that writing for an electronic newsletter, a blog, or a web-based press release is any different simply because it is designed to be read online. I think important changes in the way we communicate overall are driving the changes in our writing styles.
Online writing is different because the way we communicate with each other has changed rapidly in the last 10 years. We want our information delivered quickly, clearly, and in a way that entertains us. This goes for TV, newspapers, and also for electronic email.
Schools of “new journalism” and “creative non-fiction” advocate bringing the writer’s experience into the reporting. This is because old school journalism that promotes objective, neutral reporting is unrealistic anyway. No matter who you are, you bring yourself into the equation, you can’t totally write “the truth.” Everything is colored by your perceptions and assumptions.
New writing styles, on and off line, are now in continual, rapid evolution. The advent of millions of blogs means that anyone with a keyboard and an opinion can become a published expert. Whether or not their opinions get read, is another matter.
Reading online is only part of the equation. Our fast-paced lives contribute to being receptive to read things that are short, to the point, clear, and specifically addressing our own wants and needs. The tired cliché has never been truer: “Readers are listening on channel WIIFM – what’s in it for me?”
Besides these factors, writers must also include important key words that people might use when searching for a solution to a problem on Google or another search directory. This is a strategy that is designed to optimize the chances that your online article will get found by the people who need it.
And of course, direct response copywriting has greatly influenced the way content is written. Most online copywriters are using tried and true methods from direct mail practices, adapting them for online messages.
What ways have you noticed that your writing style differs when writing online than offline? How has your writing style evolved over the last 5 years due to web-based tools? Just hit the comment link and contribute to the conversation.