Some claim that great writing cannot be taught, that to become a great writer, one must first have some innate talent combined with learned skills. If this is the case, someone wanting to build a great website showcasing their business, skills, or hobby will always be at the mercy of paid writers. Like me.
And maybe I should not be sharing this information. Maybe I shouldn’t tell anyone how to write winning content for the Internet. Maybe I should keep it secret so that I can continue to keep my market. Call it…job security.
The fact is, I already have job security because even though I believe and will explain more fully in a moment that ANYONE can learn to write winning content for their website, most will not. Why?
Because most people would rather outsource, even if fully capable of doing something themselves. That is why we go to restaurants, get our oil changed by someone else, and hire professional lawn care people.
How YOU Can Write Winning Content for Your Website
The idea for this post hit me today when I was explaining to a prospective business partner why I believe a class for Internet writing can be taught to nearly anyone. I explained that there are really only two reasons people go to the Internet:
These are really the same reasons people pick up a newspaper. Well, those and the coupons. Still, the newspaper really only has two kinds of writers:
- Those who entertain their readers and
- Those who inform.
What this means is that writing for the Internet (and newspapers) can be condensed into two distinct kinds of writing. The first kind, entertainment writing requires the kind of talent that cannot be taught. These are the op-ed writers, the Stephen Kings, the Jon Stewarts, and so forth. These are the people who just have a knack for telling things in a way that entertains while maybe informing. Or not. We don’t mind because we just enjoy what they have to say.
The other kind of writing is taught. News writers learn their skill in Mass Comm courses at Universities the world over. Writing to inform is a skill that can be taught and the simple fact is that if a person keeps it simple and teaches something people want to learn, anyone can write in this style. So,
Here’s How to Write Winning, Informative Content for the Internet
Ready? This is a secret so secret that it must be whispered. Listen closely.
Write just like writing a college essay.
That’s it. Nothing fancy needed. Just provide your readers with clear, clean, correct information presented in a logical way with a beginning, middle, and end. Add headings every few paragraphs, make sure grammar is good, and keep sentences simple. Don’t try to show off your vocabulary–just write in easy-to-understand language.
Here is a simple way to create a logical progression.
Ask a big question. Then answer the question by asking related questions. Then ask another question and provide the answer. Keep doing this until the first question is answered as fully as you can.
Include references and citations.
References and citations are important to a college essay. On the Internet, just add links to related content. Same effect as far as the search engines are concerned. More importantly, adding related content makes your pages and website more valuable to readers. Readers will, in turn, share the love but returning to your website and maybe sharing your site and pages with their friends. (Hint, hint: If you like reading this, share it. Your friends will likely like it too.)
Last items for creating great written content for your website: Bullet points and number lists.
This is the only deviation from writing college essays. Bullet points where sensible (or possible) and number lists make for easier reading and reference. Note that in this post I added two number lists. Each mirrors the other. These were added as they were to make a point, both there and here.
Writing for the Internet is No Big Mystery and You Can Do It.
The bottom line is that writing for the Internet is no big mystery. Literally, anyone can create good articles for their website and reap the rewards (search traffic, more readers). This means you. Of course, this post cannot cover everything about website writing, but these basics are enough to set anyone on the right course.
If you happen to live in the Lubbock area, you may be interested to know that I will be offering classes soon at the Maggie Trejo Community Center, 3200 Amhurst. These classes will teach the skills for writing great Internet content. If you do not live in Lubbock, just sign up to follow my blog and you will be notified of new posts as they are added.
May the keyboard be with you.
C J Oakes