Effective Content Writing Tips for Different Platforms

author imageWriting content for different platforms requires a varied approach for websites, social media platforms, and print collateral. It requires a certain level of skill to know the difference as well as what ways are most effective.  What should remain constant however is that your content be reader-driven andactionable” to keep readers engaged, educated (i.e. informed) and entertained.

Writing for Social Media

Set the Hook Quick -More concise writing in social media (SM) is the key.  Most people are on the move while on SM platforms so it’s imperative that you set the content hook quick with strong points up front and in a pronounced way.  There’s so much content out there so this a key way to stand out, engage and create a faithful reader.  This ultimately affects the breadth of your audience and long-term followers.

 The Risk Factor – Social Media social graces aren’t the same as traditional forums.  So feel free to take a risk every now and again. If you have a quirky yet innovative way to capture an audience, SM platforms like Facebook & Google+ are the places to do it.  Feel free to mix your SM writing with audio sound-bytes or other platforms like YouTube to really engage and entertain.

Girl on Floor Writing on LaptopWriting for Websites 

Standing Out – What ever the main point is of your content, it should be conveyed in a standout way that doesn’t require a lot of upfront reading or navigation. Using bold or differential typeface, different color fonts, graphs, images or infographics allows the reader to get the “gist” or the most important information in 1 minute or less.  Make sure these standout points:

  • include bold statements about your business;
  • engages the audience visually; and
  • encourages them to act.

Write Easily Scannable Content – Don’t expect people to pour over your every word on your website.  Scannable content is engaging content that allows readers to understand the general basis sweepingly, at a glance.  It is easier to read than word-for-word and it allows readers to easily digest the primary information nuggets.

Writing for Print Collateral

Be Promotional & Motivating – Most web and social media content has to appear more informational than promotional.  Subtle promotional content requires a certain finesse and is not overly stated or extremely brazen.  A great print piece conveys to your clients that you take pride in your business, products or services. Your print collateral should persuade prospects and inform them that you have something valuable to offer them. Ultimately it should showcase your talents and strengths while clearly motivating to purchase your product or service.

The Bigger Picture Copy – Print collateral does so much more than explain your product or services. The quality of our product should be exemplified in your content copy and the copy should reflect in-kind.  To me, sloppy copy conveys sloppy business.  Remember once in a prospective client’s hands, you have the chance to make not just a client out of them, but hopefully a long-term advertiser via word-of-mouth.

Tail End Tip:  Make sure all your content flows smoothly to minimize boredom, confusion or frustration.

Reinvent Your Content…Part I

Bright Lights Big City…NYC – it beckons hope, energy and creativity.  I remember arriving for my first big job at NASDAQ -I felt like I could do any & everything with hard work, tenacity and a great resume.  Some years later I started a small home-based business which grew considerably in the first 6 months and I was pleased with its progress.  But then after the first full year, it just…leveled off.  Not down, not up – just…STAGNANT.  Leveraging those experiences, I now assist new & ever-growing companies with their content strategies as well as those stuck in their own quagmire of stagnant content on their website and branding materials.  As a result, the lessons I learned about the success & initially unnoticed failures have helped me help others avoid the quicksand.

We all start out the gate at top speed – shooting on all 4 cannons with creativity, hutzpah and the excitement that surges like the jumbotron in Times Square.  But knowing that as any business grows, you need to keep focused on consistent evolution in both your business model and the content on your website & marketing materials.  In the Reinvent Your Content series, I will highlight some of the key elements worthy of consideration, to move your content (and business) forward on a consistent basis so that as time, Social Media and technology evolves, you will be on board with progressive motion.

Realize Stagnation When You See It~ Pond Scum…Ouch!  Now I would never refer to the content on anyone’s website or marketing materials in such a tasteless manner. However, a business website can’t just put some stellar content on there and think thats it!  I’m all set – ready to grow like eBay’s IPO.  Even if you have William Faulkner-like skills when it comes to writing (or employing someone who does), one go around the bend will not be enough to reflect a business/company that is evolving with the times & technology.  Fresh content on a regular basis is an ABSOLUTE MUST and that’s not always easy to get across to clients who are happy with the work you’ve done the first time around.  When we think about the success of let’s say Apple (dare we?),we all acknowledge that Steve Jobs was nothing short of sheer genius-bubbling with overflowing creativity & endless ideas.  But it was his appetite for constant evolution and challenging his whole company to make Apple products better, faster with seemingly limitless capabilities.  It is this tenacity that consistently kept (and continues to keep) the company wow’ing the consumer while driving sales to unprecedented heights. So the moral here is to know that your content MUST GROW, EVOLVE & MORPH to keep the attention and business of your consumers.

Trial, Error & Rebuilding~ Most people are familiar with the word “troubleshooting” and many understand it in the context of problem recognition & solution.  The same approach should be taken when looking at your business, it’s success or lack thereof.  If your client base is not growing (or your profit margin), if client retention is an issue, or if sales are stationary, these are all red flags that require some assessment, realigning your goals and then plan implementation to chart your business boat in a new direction.  A quote from my own business & life philosophy = There’s no shame in failing – the shame is when you recognize it but don’t react to it.  And remember, data never lies.  Want to know if your content strategies are working?  Just look at your analytics, ROI and how many new customers you’ve gained in the last 6 months.  There’s nothing wrong with scrapping the old, trying the new and testing the waters accordingly.  Not every piece or facet of content works all the time.  Be willing to find out if its working or not, go back to the drawing board to figure out why and jump in the think tank to come up with creative ways to solve the issues.  This is where your pull from your team resources, be willing to hear multiple ideas and put the best ones into play.

“Failure is simply the opportunity to begin again, this time more intelligently.”
Henry Ford

Join me in the discussion by commenting on this blog and letting me know how you reinvent your content or would like to.


What’s On Your Website Menu?

Getting creative on websites can sometimes feel constrained due to traditional layouts and verbiage, and most certainly when it comes to navigation bar and menus.  Many of us think that we need to have the standard, cookie-cutter menu navigation bars that have become the “norm” for almost all websites.  You know the type:

~Home~   ~Our Services (or Our Products)~   ~About Us~    ~Contact Us~

Most are similar in wording and format.  I’m not saying that there is anything WRONG with this per se but if you can, know that outside of conventional thinking and web design, you can get creative without compromising easy navigation of your site.

Websites are certainly your worldwide face but even the prettiest of girls can use a little makeup.  Sometimes that’s demure or other times an unexpected shocking red lipstick drives home a certain affect.  So can your website.  Don’t be afraid to try and incorporate some artistic menu design ideas.  I had a ball researching some pretty interesting and witty design elements for menu navigations.




I thought this was a great use of the industry-driven design even with the typical wording.  Another idea would have been to use the bricks themselves as the navigation bar.

You don’t see many vertical layouts for navigation bars so this really stood out to me.  I bet it does the same for the current and prospective clients too!

Most of us would enjoy seeing a fun and innovative menu layout.  This one made me comment out loud when I saw it “oh, that’s different”!

Don’t be afraid to use representative artwork and images either with or in-lieu of typical or generic menu names.  It gives a personalized look to customary naming conventions.

When to keep it standard vs. using Atypical menu choices

I would say this is probably governed by the industry you’re in.  If you are let’s say a law firm, then maybe you wouldn’t use the layout above but creative wording can be your breakout of the blue suit moment. Don’t be afraid to use your thesaurus here as long as you don’t compromise the ease of use and appropriate industry jargon.  Example: I’m a recent law school graduate looking to work at “JP Law Firm” and upon reviewing their website, I see a menu item titled “The Brief” (which is a legal term for a written document presented in court arguing why the party to the case should prevail). It would not be a tough leap to guess they were using that instead of “About Us”.  It’s a witty play on words which can be a little amusing and personally, I’d be impressed by the break away.  Not everything needs to be starched and buttoned up.  So with this said:






What’s your menu
design du jour?