Don’t kick sand in the face of web content – part 1: web news

Not just because it’s mean.

If the internet were an economy it would be the size of (per-financial crisis) Spain. As we all know, the internet is set for world domination. You should make it your business to get better at web writing – not treating it like a 99 lb weakling at the beach.

How? There’s lots of ways to get better at web writing:

'Hero-up' your web content
'Hero-up' your web content

Scrap your regular newsletter

It’s probably an example of pre-internet thinking. Why?

Strangely enough, actual news happens all the time – not to a schedule. What’s the point in telling your customers about a new product 2 weeks after launch? Write a news blog: tell everyone about that.

Newsletters are a black hole for time

In one organisation I worked for, the newsletter came out fortnightly. It took the editor the whole two weeks to write it. It was “drudgery squared” involving  finding the person with the news, extract it from them, get sign off. It’s enough to drive people to switch jobs and, in this case, the editor did after 6 months.

Find people in your organisation who can write good newsy copy or develop them

That might be a very personable CEO as in one place I worked. If you’re not that lucky, delegate the authority for them to release the news and then step back and enjoy the rewards. They may stuff up once in a while, but what useful experience.

A side benefit is that it will improve organisational culture; setting an example for more open communication which is desirable. (Believe me, it’s desirable.)

Newsletter are full of filler content

Not only does filler content mask the useful information, it also makes it harder to find at a later date.

So, make sure you blog to a topic. These guys do it really well: Life Hacker. Follow them on twitter and learn.

If the reader’s not interested, then the poor buggers don’t have to slosh through the filler content.

Newsletters don’t get public feedback

Metaphorically or literally. Web posts do. They’re great for feedback on your products and services (only if you want to hear it and others to hear it).

Emails compete with your website

A blog post will promote traffic to your website. You can track it better, too, with analytics.

News posted on your website or intranet is not only more usable, but more accessible

There are circumstances when newsletters are effective. Your newsletters is really part of your overall communication culture. Which is why you need to…

Remember

  • Be creative: web news is going to save time and money.
  • Get started now: practise is the only way to learn.

Next time

I look at another way doing it on the web saves money and satisfies web visitors: simple online tasks. Oh yeah.

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