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Writing for Digital Media
by Alan Rosenspan

Forget everything you know about writing for print or direct mail. It wonít work in digital.

Digital media is not ďreadĒ like direct mail or print - it is consumed by people in an entirely new and different way.

According to a report by Dr. Jakob Nilson (who holds 79 U.S. patents, most of which involve web usability) only 16% of people read Web pages word by word.

Instead, they quickly scan the page, picking out individual words and sentences.

Here are five things you need to keep in mind:

1. Itís not a five course meal; itís a self-service buffet. People scan your website Ė usually at lightening speed - looking for key words, links, benefits and things that interest them.

Include bulleted or numbered lists (like this one), and make sure your most important items are first.

2. Readers have a shorter attention span; and you are always one click away from losing them.

So you donít have to keep their attention; you have to continually get their attention, over and over again.

3. Where you write may be just as important as what you write.

Recent research indicates people view websites like the letter ďF.Ē They read the top bar, go down and read across for a shorter amount. They then scan the left-hand side.

4. Credibility is crucial. You build it by including high-quality graphics, good writing, and links to other sites.

5. Integrate social media. Recent research also proves that adding social sharing icons such as Twitter, Facebook, MySpace, LinkedIn, and Digg not only add value but they generate much higher readership.
Let me add one more - a suggestion that applies to any form of writing, online or off.

The secret of great copywriting is - write something thatís never been written before. All it takes is a little dash of creativity...and a little bit of extra make your work outstanding.

Alan Rosenspan is President of Alan Rosenspan & Associates, a direct marketing consulting and creative firm. For additional articles and a free newsletter, please visit