Please welcome Deanna Kustas, our guest blogger today.
How many times have heard the saying, “It’s not just what you say, but how you say it”?
Words matter. Writing a great story matters. But how you share a story will change depending on where you are telling it and who you are telling it to.
If 80 percent of communication is nonverbal, how can you communicate to an audience that is reading what you write on their laptop or phone? How much more intentional should you be when sharing a message that could change someone’s life eternally?
Here are seven ways to write more effectively to minister to a digital audience:
Write for Your Audience and Not for Yourself
It’s not about you.
The average reading level for someone online is 12 years old. That means you are writing for a seventh grader. If a middle schooler can’t understand what you’re saying, neither can the average internet user.
Yikes! This doesn’t mean you can’t talk in depth, but it does mean you need to avoid “insider talk” and breakdown difficult ideas and concepts.
To write for your audience, you have to know them. You need to determine who you are trying to reach, and you need to get to know them. What are they talking about? What are their needs? Their fears? What do you have to offer them that can help?
Research can take many forms from websites to conducting interviews to doing surveys with people from your target demographic.
Here are some sites that can be helpful:
What’s the Point?
If you don’t know the reason you are writing, nine times out of 10, neither will your audience. Why are you choosing to tackle what you are writing about? What is your goal for the audience after they read your article, take your quiz or download your resource?
Creating Good Online Content
Whenever you sit down to write a blog or a video script, you want to give value to your audience. Is what you are making benefiting those who read it? If so, how?
Remember, you aren’t writing for you, you are writing for them.
For more on writing this kind of content watch Cru’s Creating Content webinar.
Break It Up
Mobile views account for 80 percent of the content consumed online. Read that again. What you write is going to be read, or more accurately skimmed, on a tiny screen. Your content needs to be organized in an easily digestible way.
Some of the best ways to do this are by writing one to two sentence paragraphs and breaking up your topics with subheadings. That way if your reader doesn’t want to read your whole blog, they can easily find what they are looking for.
We all want what we write to be read. One way to encourage this is by writing good headlines, email subjects and social media captions that point readers to your content.
Here are some resources to help you write better:
Once your reader has read your article, what is a good next step for them to take?
On Cru.org, we want to eliminate dead ends on our site. That means adding hyperlinks throughout articles as well as next steps.
We’ve also started making online content journeys that not only eliminate dead ends but also offer multiple steps the audience can take. Check out two of our journeys from the past year:
Deanna Kustas is an Upstate New Yorker who currently resides in Orlando, Florida. She has been on staff with Cru for 12 years and helps run content strategy for Cru.org. She enjoys laughing, cooking, music, puppies, drinking cold brew, and making jewelry and occasionally blogging.