In today’s rapid-fire digital landscape, it’s not unusual to find ourselves writing for a bunch of different platforms—websites, blogs, emails, Facebook, Twitter, and others—during any given day (or hour!).

We’re naturally inclined to take shortcuts, but with a hasty cut and paste from one format to another, we may be missing an opportunity to make important connections and grab attention for our content.

An illustration of this is the common mistake of simply posting a press release to Facebook or Twitter without any thought to particularities of those channels—let alone the potential of a few quick edits to your headline or summary that could help the content to get “liked,” “shared,” “retweeted,” or to spark a chain of comments that engage your audience and draw in new people from their networks.

Unlike traditional, “broadcast” media, social media is more like going to a big party—where you have two-way conversations and truly engage with people. And, you wouldn’t repeat press releases verbatim at a party, right?

So, Sightline’s digital-guru Eric Hess has designed a short guide to give your online activities a power boost. He shows you where to focus your time and tailor your content in each digital medium, synthesizing the best research and his years of professional experience surfing all those channels for Sightline.

Here are the top takeaways—composed as Tweets! Don’t miss the full memo [PDF] and the one-page summary, designed as a sharable desk reference.

Channel Surfing (In 140 characters or less!)

3 principles to live by for eye-catching, informative, & sharable online content.

Know Your Audience: Pick your target & speak in their tone & lingo. Tell what’s in it for them? Be specific. Start a 2-way conversation.

Sweat the Small Stuff: Headline, summary, subject line, #hashtags—all crucial to grab eyes in a world of skimmers. Tweak to fit the channel.

Looks Matter: Important stuff comes first! Scannability is key (bold & link; use subheads & lists). Keep it short & sharable. Test!

Download the full memo here.

June 20, 2012