Writing for how People Read Online

Volunteer Centers and nonprofits use a variety of ways to get the word out to the community about their need for volunteers, and the specific volunteer jobs that they would like to fill. Many nonprofits use the media to spread the word, or create a flyer/brochure, or post something online.

While the basic message can be the same for those three mediums (marketing collateral, press releases, online posting) the way the content is written must change.

Writing for Press
For instance, when sending a press release to a reporter, the subject line becomes of utmost importance. Reporters are busy people and get sent hundreds of emails every day, so if your email subject line is not enticing, and if there is an attached press release, they will delete the email without even reading your message.

If the subject line IS enticing, then they you need to be able to answer the question “why should I care?” in the first sentence of your email. This requires a bit of word smithing.

Writing for Online Postings
So how should you change your writing style if you are going to post that information online? You will want to:

  • Use key word phrases that you think summarize your posting
  • Keep content short by using more paragraphs than you would in a written document.
  • Use headings, bold, and bullets to draw the online reader’s eye to the “actionable” spots of your website.

To learn more about writing for the web, feel free to check out these online articles:

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