How Writing For The Web Differs From Print Media

The differences are important.

writing for the web

While most content marketers are eager to begin writing for the web, it’s important to understand the differences between writing for readers of print media versus the Internet. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not as if we’re talking about ‘rocket science’ or anything close to it.

However, keeping these differences in mind makes content creation online that much easier than rocket science ;-).

Writing For The Web In A Nutshell

Essentially, writing for the web differs from print media formats in three ways:

  1. Audience
  2. Format, and
  3. Lifespan

Audience

Audience is obviously a key factor when it comes to writing content for any media type. However, audience is even more critical when it comes to writing for the web.

For example, print media readers are considered a “captive” audience. Once the reader has made an investment in the print media of their choice, then it’s likely they will skim through it before discarding or passing along to another.

However, Internet readers can move freely about from one website to another without ever making an investment or reading a single word.

If you don’t (can’t) write in a manner that grabs their attention and holds it, then you’ve lost them.

Thus, you must be focused and not take forever to get to the point. This requires knowing your audience’s needs and wants.

Format

When it comes to formatting your content, it’s important to know that readers scan content quickly usually hitting the headlines, sub-heads and then bullets.

This is why it is important to write clearly and concisely, with attention grabbing headlines and sub-heads laden with benefits.

Another format issue to take into consideration, is the fact that search engines may place your reader at some point within the middle or end of your content.

This another good reason why for writing concise and succinct content: it forces readers back to the beginning to read the content from start to finish.

Lifespan

writing for the webAnother distinction between writing for the web and print media is lifespan. The lifespan of a print publication may be current for only a day, week or month.

However, media on the Internet may remain active (relevant) for much longer periods, then archived electronically for future reference.

For instance, when’s the last time you had to run down to the library to pull information from their archives? Internet content is archived regularly for years.

So although it’s necessary as a content writer to stay current and “fresh”, it’s also important to remember that your reader will access your content at some level in the future.

The lifespan of Internet content is much longer than that of its offline counterpart.

Final Thoughts

These are the three main points to remember when it comes to writing for the web:

  1. audience
  2. format, and
  3. lifespan

Keeping these in mind when writing will enable you to achieve much greater success.

Question: What is one thing in particular that you do to increase the lifespan of your content?

God bless,

James

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