You are most familiar with print publications such as your local dailies or some magazines. Some of these you may be following religiously, what with their timely and highly informative articles as well as the news and tips they provide.
Naturally, you will want to achieve the same with your own eZine.
Doing such haphazardly will prove to be fatal. Why? It’s because there are distinct differences between print publications and online materials. Primary of these differences is the manner by which content is written. You simply cannot write for an online audience the way you would for print publications. They are two very different markets.
Online materials are read from monitors. They are not like print publications which can be taken to the bathroom, the bedroom or the public transportation system to be read. Reading from monitors can be stressful in the long run, will tire out the user, especially when he is tasked to read something from his screen. This is what you will want to avoid. If they get tired, they’ll give up reading, and they won’t be able to receive your business message.
Writing for an online audience entails a unique set of rules:
- Keep your sentences short. People will be reading from their monitors. Their eyes will get tired easily. Allow their eyesight to rest by keeping your sentences short so that they can easily be read.
- Keep your paragraphs short. Same reasons as number one. Additionally, you will want your readers to feel a certain sense of accomplishment for reading your piece. This can be achieved by presenting short paragraphs so that they’d know that they have read a lot of what you have to say.
- Avoid using technical jargons. You will be writing for a wide array of people with various reading comprehension levels. As such, you will want to pull them into your piece by making your works easier to understand. Jargons – especially highly technical ones – will only confuse people. So keep your words simple. The rule of the thumb is this: write as if you’re writing for a 12 year old. This is so because the average reading comprehension level is likened to that possessed by someone of such an age.
- Use bulleting and numbering as much as possible. This will make it easier for your readers to scan your copy. Even if they decide to skip some parts, bulleted and numbered items will not escape their attention, and you will still be able to convey your business message.
- Avoid using all caps, not even in titles. All caps is a form of digital shouting, and you wouldn’t want to give your readers that impression. This is a form of net etiquette that has been in existence in years. Its principles apply in eZines as well.
- If you need to emphasize some phrases, use quotation marks. Since you cannot italic certain words or place them in bold fonts, quotation marks will suffice as replacements.
- Find the right tone appropriate for your audience. You can’t be too serious when your market is demanding something amusing. And you can’t be too relaxed when your market is demanding something formal. Know your market, and write correspondingly. This way, you’d be able to relate with them better, which is the purpose of an eZine in the first place.
Again, writing for an online audience is very much different from writing for print publication. You have to adjust accordingly to please your target market and to better your chances of achieving your industrial goals.