Want to recycle your print copy for the web? Please. Don’t.
To make your best impression in each medium, target your approach. Why? Because your readers’ patience, processing, and ability to absorb are different for print and online content. Reading a book is different from flipping through a stack of magazines looking at headlines. In the same way, print and online copy are different.
The key to writing online copy that’s as powerful as print copy lies in knowing the difference. Follow these tips to ensure your online copy really works for the Web:
- Be easy on the eye. Large chunks of text are hard to read and look intimidating. Split it up, and use bullets and headings to help readers find what they’re looking for. Keeping it easy on the eye will keep them on your site.
- Link. One of the most beautiful things about the Web is that everything doesn’t have to be on the same page. Link to background or explanatory information. It makes less text, yet the extra info is available if visitors want it.
- Less is more. People read screens slower and less carefully than print materials. In-depth thoughts and sentences are even harder to understand online. Use shorter words and shorter sentences. Ask yourself: How can I make this point in fewer words?
- Dive in. Put the important information at the top. Say what you’re trying to say, right up front. The top of each page should get your point across in one snappy sentence.
- Be credible. It’s easier said than done. In a world full of empty promises, credibility can be harder to acquire online. Link to your sources, and be careful of being bossy or making empty promises. Make sure your site is professional, accurate and honest at all times.
- Keep it current. A brochure might become outdated, but a website should stay current. Keeping your information up to date shows your audience that you’re serious. If not, it’s just a click away to find someone who is.
- Consider keywords. Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is the art of making your website more “findable” for the search engines. One component of good SEO is the use of relevant, keyword rich content throughout your website. Know the keywords your prospects are searching for, and incorporate them politely into your content. Keywords are an important element of any content marketing program, too.
How do you think print and web copy should differ? What are your favorite tips for making an impact online as compared to print?