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29 2010

The Secret To Writing Successfully For the Social Web

Posted in The Basics | 3 comments

Social media is a lot about writing.  Your Fan Page, your website, your profiles, your blog. All require high-quality, coherent writing suitable for the New Net. 

  Here are some important tips to bear in mind when you are writing for the Social Web. 

  • Headlines are King; it is the first thing people see so grab their attention with a captivating headline
  • People don’t read, they scan
    • First the headline
    • Then the subheads
      • Pull reader through copy with subhead
      • Combination of headlines and subheads tell the whole story
      • Use plenty of white space
      • Black text on white or off-white background is easiest to read
  • Emphasize the most important concepts first:
    • Headline
    • Opening paragraph with conclusions first
    • Less important ideas follow
  • Break up web copy into readable, bite-size chunks
  • Keep paragraphs short
  • Present one idea per paragraph
  • Use clear, uncomplicated language
    • Short words
    • Simple sentences
  • Use bullets to summarize content
  • Highlight key ideas with bold, italic or underlining
  • Use boxes to set off testimonials, stories or case histories
  • Avoid corporate speak
  • Stand out in the crowd with a unique writing voice


  1. Hardik Sanghani says:

    Hi Susan,

    Thanks for this post. Good quick read – but then, does this also not apply to everyday press release writing (the conventional ones). I’d rather also apply these rules to the conventional PR, and get a succint, to-the-point press release to the media, ensuring better pick-up.

    There has to be something more, just that one extra thing that differentiate a Social Media Release from a Press Release.

    The most important aspect being the ability to connect with the social media in a language they understand – no corporate jargon, friendly writing, and direct addressal (my personal views).


  2. Thank you so much Susan! Very well written. I love the way the post is it’s own example.

  3. Andrew Power says:

    Great post.

    Just to add to the ‘avoid corporate speak’ – be genuine, be direct, don’t be afraid to polarise people.

    The strongest brands and products get people arguing! Our writing ought to do the same.