You’re getting ready to go to a party. How do you know where to go, what to wear, how many expletives you can use, or how bad it will be if you spill your drink? You look at the invitation, of course, so that you know your audience. And that’s exactly what you need to do in order to write successfully for the web.
Blog posts, web articles, Facebook – no matter what you’re writing, you want to be engaging, authoritative, and interesting. But if you can learn to adapt your style to the medium, you’ll be the party guest everyone talks about, which will get you more clicks, likes, links, and followers.
Blog Posts: Meeting Friends For Lunch
You want to talk to your friends about something interesting, hilarious, awesome, and this is your chance. Blog posts are friendly, inclusive, and often passionate. They generate discussion and debate, whether it’s about police brutality or the best way to curl your hair. Your goal is to keep the party going for as long as possible. Tell your friends to bring a sleeping bag.
Example: Whole Foods (But the Media Shower blog is pretty great, too.)
Web Articles: The Office Party
Write web articles as if you’re at an office party and you’re trying to get a big promotion. You should sound like an expert, but you also want to keep people interested. You’re not the blow-hard who puts everyone to sleep with 10,000 details about collating. You’re the guy who came up with a great new way to collate.
Example: Harvard Business Review
Twitter: Meetup.com Gathering
This is your first meet-up with a new group. You have similar interests, but everyone is a stranger. On Twitter, you need to make the best comment, have the keenest insight, or say the funniest thing in 140 characters in order to make an impression. Show them your personality, and link to articles that reflect your shared interests. Make sure you link to alternative sources as well as your own site – it’s a great way to make friends.
Facebook: The High School Reunion
This one is obvious for your personal Facebook profile, but it’s also useful to keep in mind when writing Facebook posts for a brand. Pretend that you’re attending your spouse’s high school reunion. You want to appear interested in what people have to say (surveys, responding to comments) and find a way to connect with them in a familiar way. Tell them about what you do, show them pictures, and don’t come on too strong, or they’ll all be talking about how handsy you got with Principal Rodriguez.
Instagram is ALL about how you look. You are competing with a lot of other pretty accounts, and you need to stand out. Show people they can get something from you that they can’t get anywhere else. Make them want a second date, and a third, and beyond. Quick tip: Don’t use links in descriptions. They’re the equivalent of telling someone your very long web address during a 5-minute date. Just put a link to the site in your profile and make sure your photos are enticing enough for people to take that extra step.
Snapchat: The Frat Party
The phrase “pics or it didn’t happen” takes on new meaning with Snapchat. If you’re looking for a young audience, you’ll find it here. It’s that crazy night everyone has hazy memories of, and it’s the newest big kid on the block. With a user base of over 100 million people and more than 7 billion videos viewed a day, this is medium is brimming with potential. With Snapchat, it’s less about how you look and more about what you do with how you look. Slap a toga on and add some funny text, then send it out to your followers for a 10-second laugh. Or get up on the mic and catch everyone’s attention with the Stories feature.
It’s important to look at the invitation before you go to a party so that you don’t show up in a Chewbacca costume for your cousin’s wedding. The same goes for content marketing. Look at the platform you’re writing for before you begin. Good writing is the first step, but knowing your audience is crucial for success.
Media Shower writer Amanda Elend is a seasoned web content writer and producer who specializes in adapting her tone to fit any client’s needs, particularly in the finance, business, and law sectors. You can follow her on Twitter.
Looking for more tips on writing great content for the web? Check out the Content Marketing Academy.