iDrive Agents: 7 Tips to Write for the Web
You have been in school and had to practice and cultivate writing skills for most of your life. So why not use those skills for good? Writing for the Web is an amazing way to start raising awareness for an issue that you are passionate about, whether it be teen mental health, human trafficking, or any other topic that drives you. When you publish your work on the Web, the world is at your fingertips. Writing for the Web does, however, differ from writing traditional print-based articles or writing essays for school. Take a look at our Featured Article: Social Media & Teen Mental Health as an example.
Here are seven tips to use when writing and publishing your written work online!
Define Your Audience:
Although you have the potential to reach millions of people, you need to think of the audience that you want to reach. The audience that you choose affects not only the topic that you choose, but how you will approach the topics, the examples that you will use to illustrate your main points and your writing style.
So, who is in your audience?
Think about it: Your audience and purpose for writing go hand-in-hand. The way that you address your fellow classmates would, most likely, differ from the way that you speak to a member of Congress. Are you talking to teens for the purpose of raise awareness about an issue? Are you writing to a State or local officials with the goal of making changes in legislation that impacts students? Your audience and purpose determines the voice that you will use in your writing, and your voice matters.
Create a Catchy Headline:
An engaging headline, or title, is key to get people to click on the link to your blog or Web-based article. Create a catchy headline that whets the appetite of your audience. Give them just enough information about the contents of the article and leaves them wanting to read more. Remember that your headline or title sets the tone. Consider using a play on words or give the impression that the article is a “quick and easy” read on a topic that interests your specific audience group. For some reason, headlines or titles with numbers tend to generate more clicks. Here’s an example of “good,” “better” and “best” ways to create a catchy headline that uses numbers…does it look familiar?
- Good: What to Consider When Writing for the Web
- Better: Writing for the Web
- Best: 7 Tips to Write for the Web
Think about it: Why do you suppose that clickbait is so hard to resist? People click on headlines that immediately catch their eye.
Be Concise & Break it Up:
Experts say that people don’t read content on websites–they skim. Would you want to click on a Web page only to see long paragraphs? Neither does your audience! Divide a lengthy article into distinct sections, either with engaging subtitles or separate pages entirely. Since people aren’t usually looking for a long read, make sure you keep your writing short, sweet, and to the point.
Use the following text-based features:
- Bold Text
- Bullet Points
- Make Numbered Lists
Get Visual with Graphics and Videos:
Would you stay on a website that has absolutely no pictures? Neither will your readers. Besides, a picture is worth a thousand words. Whenever you can, show rather than tell. Videos are always a bonus!
When using graphics and images remember:
- Be sure that you have permission to use the image, or create your own.
- Use images that convey your main points. Don’t include pictures just for the sake of having them.
- Infographics are attractive and informative! Sites like Canva and apps like Google Drawings are useful tools.
- Embed videos into your article or blog to deliver the main content or as a basis for your commentary.
Not everything that you find online is true. The Internet is full of unfounded claims, opinions and made-up stories. If you want to make a positive impact as an iDrive Agent, be sure to establish your own credibility and reputation as a writer. Support your statements and opinions with information from accurate, credible and reliable sources, and give credit where credit is due. Check your writing for logic and reason to be sure that your arguments are sound and fair. Let passion inspire you and reason guide you.
Here’s a video from our iDrive Student Advisory Board on digital ethics.
Make it Interactive:
- Embed the links the references in your article to make it more interactive as well as to give credit where credit is due.
- Link to your other blog posts and online articles.
- Incorporate polls and social media widgets to inspire conversation. Keep in mind that you may encounter trolls, so have a plan in place.
- The best part about publishing online is that you can share your blog or Web page on social media!
Include a Call to Action:
What do you want your audience to do as a result of reading your blog? Do you want them to subscribe to your blog feed or social media page? Do you want them to sign a petition or to help raise awareness? Always point your audience toward an action. Give them something to do.
Here are some more ideas to help your blog posts and articles go viral:
- Include social media sharing widgets on your blog or Web page.
- Invite your readers to share your blog post or Web page on sites like Facebook, Twitter, and Tumblr.
- Use social media to increase the visibility of your blog or Web page. Share the link to your article on your own social media accounts.
- Shorten your link with goo.gl or bit.ly. — especially when posting your link on Twitter.
- Did you know that social media posts with images tend to have more likes, shares and clicks? When you share the link to your blog or Web page on social networking sites like Facebook, the post will include an image.
- Read the iDrive blog on How to Be a Social Media Champion.
Finally, iDrive Agents, stay inspired, be empowered and hone in on your writing skills. Keep at it, and you will find yourself developing a unique voice and online presence that will benefit you in years to come while making a positive impact in the world as a changemaker. The internet is an amazing place full of platforms where you can be successful, so get to writing what you’re passionate about and share it with the world–starting with all of us at iDrive! Learn more about October Happenings from the iDrive Student Advisory Board. Find out how you can help teens everywhere learn how to counter online shaming by spread positive messages that inspires healthy self-talk.
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