Master online writing

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Q. Is writing for an e-mail newsletter different than writing for a print newsletter?

A. Don't be confused. That's a great question. Web/online writing is very different than print writing.

Online implies action. People "go" online. They "click here" for more information. That's entirely different than a print experience, which is more passive. There's no clicking or scrolling. Also worth mentioning: Online writing can be harder, physically, to read. Type size and font matter more. Your online writing should take these things into consideration.

So, what should you do? Make it as easy as possible for your e-mail newsletter subscriber. Bullet points are great. They're:

* Short

* Concise

* Easy to read

Other ideas:

*    Provide easy access to additional information. Things like links allow readers to customize their experiences. For example, if you feature a particular wheelchair, use not only bullet points to highlight its benefits, but also a "click here" button to link back to your Web site, where the reader/potential customer can find more information on cost, specs or shipping information.

*    BE BOLD. When reading online, people tend to scan for information, so if you have a particular point you're trying to make, always bold the important words to make it easier for them to read.

*    Pictures are worth a thousand words (or more). Why talk about it when you can show it? Do you have a great new portable oxygen tank? Take a picture of a satisfied customer using it and include it in your e-mail newsletter. Introducing a new staff member? Include his picture. Pictures help build familiarity and familiarity builds trust.

Elizabeth Mansfield is the president of Outsource Marketing Solutions, LLC. She can be reached at 860-967-4184 or