Worldwide Media Relations
Writing for the Internet
You want a throng of eager visitors to your
Then hand them a menu of delights.
(Published in Tri-Mix Magazine)
you're hungry for a hardy meal you pile on the toppings, carve up the beef,
spoon the legumes, slice the whole grain bread. You'll pass, thank you, on that
fluffy Jell-O mold. You want meat and potatoes, not puff.
So it is with serious visitors to your PR pages. They yearn for more than just eye candy. They want texture, taste, substance. Of course they came to learn more about your company. But they'll come back for seconds if you can top it off with a little extra.
Large companies spend big bucks profiling who all
is on the Web and what it is they're looking for. Take a free ride on their
research. The L.L
Bean site provides useful travel information on national parks. Black
& Decker proffers handy home-improvement tips. The Tampax
site shares secrets on health and looking good.
The most enticing Web pages are timely and
useful. Even the best content becomes stale after a few servings. Keep your
offerings fresh and toss in a few surprises. That'll keep 'em coming back, even
if only for a quick nibble.
And it's worth taking the extra time to word it just right, or paying a professional for well-crafted copy. Michael Kinsley, editor for Microsoft's Slate, says, "When I go to a restaurant, I want the chef to prepare my meal, not the guy at the table next to me."
Information should be spooned in appealing
bite-sized bits if you want them to swallow. I've found the writing voice best
suited for the Web is a short, snappy broadcast style; fewer words per sentence,
fewer thoughts per subject. Long blocks of boring black text will be clicked
behind in a flick of the mouse whiskers.
your PR pages on a foundation of substance. Give, give, give, to your valued
visitors. Share your company’s passion and interests. Serve it with a
flourish, ring the dinner bell, and they'll come running.
- Steven R. Van Hook