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What Every Marketer Needs To Know - Business Writing

by: Marige O'Brien

Historically, business writing has been the collective term for advertising, marketing and general business information (reports, business letters, etc.). This holds true in writing for the internet. Yet on the internet, writing adapts to its environment and becomes a refined strain of itself, being at once informational, promotional, concise and entertaining. Since 85% of internet content is written -- 95% of marketing content -- understanding and mastering this skill is elemental to online marketing success.

To understand this better, below are 5 examples of how business writing on the internet differs-- and why.

1. SUPER HIGHWAY BILLBOARDS - Titles That Catch The Eye

The internet has long been dubbed the information superhighway. In that sense, titles become the billboards along the way. Whether it's the title of a site, an ad, an email subject, an article or a newsletter, it should be short, direct and irresistably enticing. A title has, on average, less than 1 second to attract its customer, even as it competes with a multitude of other ads, so it must stand out.

2. HOLDING THAT THOUGHT

while the title draws them in, the content must deliver-- and quickly. Short paragraphs, concise wording, and follow-through that provides the information promised, all ensure a visit of more than 30 seconds. The eventual goal is to create repeat traffic or repeat sales, but the immediate goal is to give the visitor a rewarding experience within the first minute. This ensures return visits.

Content that falls short include

1) Muddled or indistinct Information

2) Overly long, or "verbose" wording

3) Delays or quantifiers without explanation

4) Too many links within the text

All of these cause visitors to become distracted, possibly confused, and lose their focus, followed quickly by their interest. Splash pages are particularly prone to this, baiting readers with promises, but holding off the details as long as possible. While some may succeed, it is despite -- not because of -- this writing style.

Good content explains the overall concept in the first paragraph, expands on in the next 2-3 paragraphs and concludes in the last paragraph or sign-up. Remember: a first-time visitor has only slowed his super-highway travels for a cursory pit-stop. Turning that into a longer stay, sale or return visit is the objective.

3. LEAVING THE ON-RAMP AT SUPERHIGHWAY SPEED

Though more and more new users join the internet community daily, the vast majority are well adept at traveling its paths. Acknowledging this sophistication is a key step to marketing effectively. They are familiar with most online terminology and lose patience with unneccessary explanations. Also, by catering to experienced "travelers," it also prompts questions from new onliners, which opens dialogue. And that's always good.

At the same time, it is important to *AVOID* "verbose terminology" or "extensive exposition" That is, put it simply, in simple terms. For the sake of speed alone, stay away from any difficult, less common terms. While writers and intellectuals may cringe at this advise, the fact is, difficult terms slow down and/or lose some readers altogether. The ol' KISS (Keep It Simple, Stupid) Rule applies well here. "Expounding" and "pontification" belong elsewhere-- not on the Superhighway.

4. STATE YOUR BUSINESS

Another vital key to successful writing is a higher than usual degree of relevancy. Any off-topic reference must be brief, return to the point quickly, and only included for a clear purpose. Just as Google rates sites by relevancy, so must effective content of all types.

5. FORSOOTH!, IN TRUTH

Last but not least, accuracy -- both in general and detail -- are VITAL to all writing for the internet, more so than in any other medium. Any who contest this are misled by the "out of sight-out of mind" mentality, thinking of webpages as fleeting and temporary. Nothing could be further from the truth. The fact is, a webpage can sit on display for YEARS, possibly seen by millions over time.

Should it contain so much as one typo, one grammatical error, one inaccurate fact then that, too, will live on-- to the endless embarrassment of its author. Accuracy and well-proofed content is the superhighway's equivalent to professionalism and conveys much more to its audience than the careless author realizes-- or wishes. In short, sloppy copy is the same as going to a business meeting in a spaghetti-stained suit.

These examples serve as the basis for internet content that is successful and appeals to a broad audience. For a greater understanding of this, visit a wide variety of sites, noting the differences in clear, attractive sites versus those that seem difficult for one reason or another. And, though the outright copying a site is unethical, finding and using a good site as a model, is fine.

Writing for the internet is a hybrid of all previous types of business writing; its form has taken the next evolutionary step to keep pace with communication's changes and is the bond by which the internet continues. When educational experts of the mid-20th century mistakenly predicted the demise of writing as an important form of communcation (because of ever-expanding alternative mediums), they failed to recognise its strength, versatility or adaptability. Time has proven otherwise. Make no mistake: Writing is -- and will continue to be -- the most vital form of communication on the internet. And writing successfully is the most vital step to success online.

For further information visit "In A Word (or Two)," (inawordortwo.blogspot.com) an active, online weblog dedicated to improving the skills needed in Writing For The Internet.--mo

About The Author

Marige O'Brien is a writer, web designer and Internet Marketer. Visit her Website, Tracker Mo's Den (www.trackermo.com) for her latest i-marketing tools and biz opps. NEW-- RSS Feeds to Articles and blogs, plus a SPECIAL OFFER for new TCC Sign-ups.

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