A web writer is different than a copywriter

difference web writer copywriter

It’s 2013, we all live in Web World.  We are light years away from Don Draper and Peggy Olson. Peggy was a copywriter in Mad Men. Her talent: seduce the 1960’s housewife to buy products wrapped in dreams. She wrote copy to persuade, hence the term copywriter.

In Web World, writing is more complicated.  Sometimes we write to inform, sometimes to persuade. Unlike Peggy we don’t have one audience, we have several: customers, suppliers, job seekers and sometimes venture capitalists. And the stories we tell on websites are often non-linear.

A web writer’s assignments are more varied than ads and sales collaterals. They can include: write home page copy, create internal links, describe a sales process, write instructions, tell a story in a tweet, engage customers on a Facebook page. The list goes on.

Don Draper and Peggy Olson weren’t focused on user experience. But in Web World, it’s the only thing that matters. Web writers can contribute by enhancing the readability of their work.

You can enhance readability by making your text clear and easy to scan.  Write headlines so readers know what to expect.  Make your content relevant with ample white space around the text so your message gets noticed and read.  All this makes for a more pleasant read.

As Web World marches into the future, the role of the web writer will continue to evolve.

Like this post?  Share it.  Written by Don Seidenberg.


My most feared competitor

web writing tips

There are many talented copywriters out there – some can even write a convincing website.  But, I don’t consider them competition.  My competition is the second hand on the clock.

With web content, it’s always a race against time.  Web readers are often in a rush.  They are overwhelmed with information and have limited attention spans.  You have just a few seconds of someone’s time.  Anything more has to be earned.

To earn extra attention, respect your readers’ time.  Structure the information so it’s easy for them to find what they are looking for.  Use your headlines wisely.  Headlines should be informative, relevant and describe the information that follows.  Based on the headline, people can decide to read on or click away.

Tell a clear story to each target audience in an appealing tone.  Engage them with content that is informative, readable and relevant to their visit.  No fluff, no happy talk, just good usable content.  To save readers’ time, eliminate unnecessary text and images.  Make links clear so people know what to expect before they click.

I am determined to win the web content race against time.  How about you?

Like this post?  Share it.  Written by Don Seidenberg.

Obama gets personal with tweets

Franklin Roosevelt did it with radio.  John Kennedy with television.  And Barack Obama with social media.  You see, mastering a new technology and becoming US president is nothing new.

Barack Obama excels in Twitter.  His tweets about domestic policy connect with voters in a very personal way. When announcing student loan reforms, he tweets about Karlene and how his program will make life easier for her and her family.

Other tweets encourage citizens to get active.  In one tweet, he encourages voters to put pressure on senators to pass the “Veterans Can’t Wait Job Bill.”  Another tweet is about George and his mom going door-to-door to register new voters.  Obama shows how we can put others in the spotlight and use tweets as a call to action.

Unlike radio and tv, social media is a young technology.  It is evolving and there are still many lessons to be learned.  If you want to improve your tweeting skills, keep a close eye on Obama’s tweets.  I know I will.

Like this post?  Share it.  Written by Don Seidenberg.

Sometime soon, can we meet for dinner?

Dinner with Barack contest

It’s always nice to see Barack Obama in my inbox.  His mails are effective because they are clear, personal and motivating.  “Sometime soon, can we meet for dinner?” he asked in the subject column.  I continued reading:

“I’m writing to invite you to dinner.  If that sounds familiar, it’s because we’ve done this before. I’ve asked the campaign to organize small, five-person dinners with supporters like you as a regular thing.

These dinners are important to me. Not just because they help me stay connected to supporters like you who are doing the hard work of building this campaign, but because they set us apart.

No matter what our opponents do over the next 14 months, we have chosen to put people at the heart of our campaign — and we’re focused on building it one grassroots donation at a time.  I’m asking you to make one today. 

Will you donate $5 or more today to be automatically entered for a chance to join me for dinner?”

This mail was one of several sent out as part of the Dinner with Barack contest.  Considering his campaign recently announced their one millionth small donor, this email contest was a big success. I realize we all can’t be a Barack Obama.  But you can focus on the needs of your audience and write a personal mail that motivates others to act.  Yes, you can!

Like this post?  Share it.  Written by Don Seidenberg.

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