Is writing for digital different than writing for print? Hell, yeah!

Updated: Jul 20

6 Tips to Make Your Online Writing Stronger


As the anointed chief of marketing and communications at your company, officially or otherwise, you’ve guided your company through the changes COVID-19 has demanded, shifting communications to near-100% online, 100% of the time. You and your team have been producing a ton of digital content—emails, postings, websites, infographics—to keep customers engaged and buying, and employees up to date.

It may be time to take a beat and see how your content is performing. Talented and experienced writers can toggle between digital and print communications because they understand the differences in the two mediums. If you or some team members are new to the game, here are 6 tips to ensure your online content hits its mark.


Writing digital content is different than creating for print. Be sure your team is up to speed on the differences as the pressure to communicate well online increases.


Introducing the Super Six!

1. Length. Digital articles, not to mention posts, tend to be shorter than print articles. It takes people longer to read online.

2. Readability. Readers digest digital content differently. They scan and skip, looking for pertinent information. Digital content is used for research, learning. And clear site navigation is key. You can’t assume the reader started at the beginning of digital content or will move to the next screen as links encourage navigating at will. In contrast, people choose printed content for taking deeper dives into topics. Generally, they move page to page.

3. Call to Action. Digital writing often leads the reader to taking an action. These calls to action are sprinkled throughout the content as links so the reader can learn more, complete a form, download a newsletter, etc. When reading digital, one often moves somewhat randomly around the screen or to other screens, whereas in print the English language reader typically progresses from top down, left to right.

4. Tone. The written form tends to be more formal than digital writing which is straight forward, though this can vary depending on whether you are writing a corporate website, blog, email, post, etc. No matter the tactic, brand voice must remain true.

5. Online Competition. Often other online elements vie for the reader’s attention such as clickable content, pop-ups, videos, infographics, and competing page content. Put the most vital information at the top of the screen because the reader may jump ship early.

6. SEO (Search Engine Optimization). Digital content is written for two audiences, the reader and for search engines. The content must be well written and interesting to the reader yet contain the key terms people will use in search. To ignore the latter means no one would be able to find the content on the internet.


Key take-away:

Apply these pointers to your company’s digital content to boost effectiveness. Is COVID still crushing your team with content demands? Reach out to a professional writer checking that he/she can slay the digital landscape.


Sources

Arkansas State University: 5 Differences Between Writing for Online and Print

Readability Formulas: Understanding Differences Between Writing for the Web and Writing for Print