English for digital communication via your website or digital advertisements needs to be simple and easy to understand. This approach is important to ensure you are reaching the widest audience and that your message is clearly communicated.
Writing for digital communication is a skill distinct from other business English usage. There are some basic guidelines to follow when you are writing your communications:
- Avoid beginning sentences following each other with the same word. It is important to keep your audience engaged, variety in your writing helps keep your reader interested.
- Try and keep your sentences relatively short. A maximum of 20 words is a good guide, any longer than this can make the sentence difficult to understand.
- Paragraphs should not be long, but they should be longer than bullet points. Finding the right balance makes the format of your written piece more inviting to read. If your reader is faced with long and complicated paragraphs they may not even begin to read.
- Use sub-headings! Your aim is to guide the reader through the writing to help them find the most important information for them.
- Make use of images – keep them relevant and they will work with the sub-headings to guide your reader through the text. They will also give the readers’ eyes a rest from blocks of text. The number of images should be balanced with the volume of text. Generally for a 500 – 1000 word piece of text 3 images will be plenty.
- Try and avoid a lot of passive voice sentences. The sentences you write in passive voice can be longer, unclear and difficult to understand.
It is a great idea to briefly plan out the piece you are writing. Begin with the title and the sub-headings and ensure that the piece flows as you want it to. Be clear about what it is you want to communicate and try and ensure that everything you write is relevant. Once you have planned your writing and have the basic structure it’s usually best to begin writing a rough first draft.
Your first draft is all about getting your thoughts down on paper, logically. There is no need for it to be grammatically correct at this stage. Just write. Often the most difficult part of the process is getting the words from the inside of your head outside. Subsequent drafts are about refining the structure of your sentences and polishing the content. How many drafts? As many as it takes. Some of your writing will take many more drafts than others.
Proof read before you publish
At last, you have a final draft. Proof reading is the next stage. Re-read the text bearing in mind the basic guidelines mentioned earlier. Check for spelling mistakes and punctuation.
This is a really useful stage which often gets overlooked. If you have a trusted colleague ask them to read through your work and give you their impressions. Remember, whatever they tell you is just their opinion, not necessarily right or wrong. Be confident about what you’ve written, at this stage you have put in a lot of work to get here. If you don’t have a colleague able to do this for you then try and put the writing to one side for at least a couple of days and then re-read it from a fresh perspective.
If you’ve followed the process outlined then will have a good piece of writing in English for digital communication.