By Brian Spero
With more than a billion people using social media around the world, it’s no surprise that everyone from big businesses to individual entrepreneurs are clamoring for the attention of an expanding online audience. While there are riches and rewards for those who can build a loyal following over which they carry influence, standing out from the growing crowd of online communicators is an increasingly difficult endeavor that requires strategy, talent, and a lot of hard work.
Whether you are launching a new blog or wondering why your efforts are lacking impact, consider these strategies to write content that can help to build your Web-based audience.
1. Tailor Your Tone
Attracting an online following starts with identifying precisely who your audience is. No matter how wisely you choose topics or wily your methods for promotion, if you aren’t speaking your reader’s language your message will surely be lost in translation. Take the time to analyze and understand your audience, whether they are law professionals, tech specialists, or financial experts, meticulously training your voice to sound sweet to their discerning ears.
- Immerse yourself in the culture, subscribing to relevant blogs and engaging in meaningful discussions within the community in order to more fluently talk the talk.
- Review your writing from the reader’s perspective, using the editing process to dial-in a tone that rings genuine.
2. Keep It Conversational
Whether it is commentary on current events or in-depth professional guidance, online content typically takes a more modern tone than traditional journalism. What makes social media so dynamic is that it represents a two-way street where content serves to start the conversation, rather than end it. In order to forge lasting relationships that effectively grow your following, you need to learn to talk to your audience, not at them. Think of yourself less as an author and more as a trusted friend passing on advice and sharing from an informed perspective.
- Eliminate overly formal language that makes writing feel burdensome and dated.
- Bend rules of grammar (such as starting a sentence with “and”) when it makes your writing sound more natural.
3. Have a Point, and Get to It Quickly
With everything you could ever want or need (in theory) just a click away, the prevailing expectation on the Internet is speed. Web-based audiences are high on options and short on patience, making it essential to present relevant topics and waste little time getting directly to the point. While your headlines should pique interest and grab attention, your opening statement has to deliver on its promise, driving toward the central topic within the first few sentences. It’s all about drawing the reader in and sweeping them along on an effortless ride that leaves them satisfied and informed upon completion.
- Keep sentences short and precise, using an economy of words to communicate your point.
- Break paragraphs into bite-sized sections, utilizing bullets, lists, and visual collateral that can be absorbed at a glance.
4. Be Entertaining and Original
What sets leading online communicators apart is the ability to deliver relevant writing in a way that’s as entertaining as it is enlightening. Anyone can simply rehash the latest topics or dryly share research and opinions. It’s when your writing reflects a unique perspective and personality that you build a rapport with readers that keeps them coming back. By weaving your concepts and ideas into captivating stories or amusing anecdotes, you can effectively expand your reach by giving readers something they enjoy and are more inclined to pass along.
- Carefully choose analogies to help render complex concepts more easily accessible.
- Search for the humor and humanity in every situation, finding common ground that registers on an emotional level.
5. Provide Value
Whether you are promising insight into the stock market or poking fun at celebrity behavior, establish high standards in making sure your writing always delivers. Do your research and lean on areas of expertise to pack your posts with applicable, well-supported points. By giving readers tips and advice that are relevant and actionable, you solidify your place as a valuable resource worth turning to time and again.
- Establish trust by speaking from authority, backing up your statements with diligently scrutinized facts.
- Build loyalty by offering concepts that can be put into practice, whether your advice centers on personal finance, time management, or professional development.
Despite the fact there are more than a billion people worldwide seeking content online, attracting an impressive Web-based audience is no easy task. By covering relevant topics in an appropriate tone, mastering best practices and techniques for online writing, and presenting information of value in an entertaining way, you can establish and build relationships with your readership that help grow your following and extend your reach.
What other tips can you suggest to write effective content for an online audience?
Brian Spero is a blogger and social media strategist for the popular personal finance resource, Money Crashers.