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!
This looks great. I’m looking forward to reading the full version.
Which brings up another bullet that should be in there: Don’t post content in PDF if you want people to read it. PDF is great for capturing an online version of something originally intended for publication on paper (horrors!), but for content that is meant to be read online it just adds another layer of inconvenience for your reader. Yes it’s not _much_ of an inconvenience, but it doesn’t take much.
The Olive Ridley Crawler
Great tips, plan to use them! But the deep irony of posting them as a pdf, the format where information goes to die, is not lost on me either 🙂 But thanks again for putting this together.
Hi there —
We know PDFs aren’t ideal, but it’s a longer document and we hear folks often like to print our work. So we made the decision to publish as a PDF.
Thanks for the input,
I think the way you summarised the main points in the blog and then had the link to a more comprehensive PDF is fine.
I was interested enough from the blog to open the PDF. But there was enough info in the blog to get the key points without referring to the PDF.