Web-based communication has been around for about 20 years, and we still struggle to break the barriers to effective communication using this medium. Here are some reminders for effectively communicating online:
- Create Stories. There’s a reason verbal communication around the campfire have lasted through generations. Stories move people more than facts. Here’s an example. Rather than listing your services and metrics, tell us a story about what you did to help someone, and then tell your reader how many people you impacted in similar ways.
- Keep it Short. People tend to skim more than read online. Use short sentences, bullets, headings and subheadings to communicate key points. Keep links meaningful and short too. Here’s an example. Would you rather read online: “In order to access our employee directory, click this link” OR “Access Employee Directory” with a link? Keep it crisp, make every word count.
- Understand Web Structure. If you want to provide web content to your organization, you need to understand how the structure of the website works. How is it organized? Who are the audiences? Where could your content fit in? What are the preferred tools for engagement: Blog articles? Formal press releases? Employee or customer profiles? Quick social media post updates? Understanding your organization’s web content strategy will help you develop communication pieces that align with existing structures – making it easier to get your work online.
- Keep it Fresh. The Internet is full of out-of-date webpages. Like withering leaves that never quite fall off the branch, they clutter the web and communicate a lack of care and curation. Even if you are not responsible for web communications in your organization, if you see out-of-date content, let your communications team know. If you add content, set a reminder for when you will check it for accuracy and relevance. Your customers will thank you.
- Re-purpose Content. Have a good story to tell? One story can feed content for a tweet, post, page, profile and press release. Look for the materials you have already generated, and consider how they could be re-purposed for different audiences or in different forums.
What a wonder the world-wide web is! Use communications wisdom to keep that WOW factor.