Writing Content For The Web

On April 3, 2011, in Content Writing, by lesley

The great thing about the web is that it’s big. And in this case (as in many others) big is beautiful.

The web is so big, that it’s not just hungry for content, it’s ravenous.  There are millions of readers searching for information and entertainment, and those readers vary enormously.

Some of them are pretty dumb.

Some of them are very smart.

And because there are many different types of reader, the web needs many different types of writer. Some will be Pullitzer standard, and some can’t tell the difference between “there”, “their” and “they’re”. Whatever the standard of your writing, you can find a niche on the web where you can earn money, learn, grow, and write and earn more.

I know, because that’s what I did.

Despite this, a lot of writers, would-be writers and not-quite-writers reject the whole idea of writing web content. It isn’t the sort of writing they want to do; it isn’t creative writing.

I  can’t agree. I know there aren’t too many vampire romances on the pages of the average webstore blog, but that doesn’t mean that writing content isn’t creative writing. It is. In fact it’s one of the hardest kinds of creative writing around, because when you want to comunicate facts without boring your audience to death, you really have to find your voice.

Copy blogger has a great post on finding your ‘writers voice‘, it’s something writing teachers talk about (a lot) but rarely explain. Voice is what tells you there’s a real, tea drinking, shortbread eating human being behind the keyboard,  not a content farm churning out sentences which say nothing.

Psychologists have shown that while some people think in words, others think in pictures, and the web, as we know, is a great place for pictures,  so why bother with words?

Because when you want to get words across to an audience, the best way to do it, is to use your words to paint a picture in their heads.

You can show them a picture,  but a picture isn’t personal. When you post a picture to a site it’s all about you or the product, there’s not a great deal of interpretation required.

I recently wrote a number of articles for a website about stoneware. The site had lots of great pictures of plates, cups and whole tables beautifully set.  But the pictures were of someone else’s table. The words had to build a picture of the readers table, surrounded by friends sharing a meal. The words have to put the product in the reader’s life, and that is creative writing. Check out some of the high fashion sites.  They don’t use models, they use mannequins, and in many cases mannequins without heads. Why?

It’s not because they don’t have the budget. It’s because research shows that many women reject fashion items when they don’t like the look of the model who is wearing them. The solution is simple. remove the model, remove the face, and let the customers imagination fill in her own. Result? More sales.

When you use words to create a picture you tap into the reader’s imagination and the image becomes personal, filled with the readers own experience, hopes and dreams.

So don’t reject writing content for the web. It’s a skill. If you don’t feel confident at first don’t worry. You can learn how to write. You can learn to create pictures with words and to stir emotions, and while it may not be fiction, it is most definitely creative writing.

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