Aileen Barron: How writing for digital differs to press

By Aileen Barron, Green Acre Marketing

Having content that can be repurposed and utilised across a number of different marketing touchpoints is a good approach. However, marketing teams need to be very aware that the way in which content is presented for online and for traditional press are very different.

If content creators give ample consideration to the following elements of their digital content, they won’t go too far wrong.


When it comes to the structure of your content on a webpage, it needs to be presented in a way that makes it easily scannable.

Eye-tracking study results from the Nielsen Norman Group show that content is now read in an F pattern. The study revealed that the first lines of text on a page receive more attention along with the first few words on the left of each line of text.

The E shape is also worth considering as readers jump towards the end of the content for summary and/or conclusions.

Readers of online content are more likely to be scrollers with short attention spans and therefore captivating them and delivering your message in as quick a time-frame as possible is the challenge.

Therefore, keep the content concise and to the point and ensure as they move through the piece, it avoids being repetitive or labouring a particular point.

Headline and subheadings

The heading needs to not only be relevant to your target market but offer something that is going to make the reader want to read more. However, it is really important that ‘clickbait’ doesn’t become part of your strategy, as this is misleading and leaves a bad sentiment towards your brand.

Use good lead-ins, clear headlines and make your points early on in your online content piece. The use of subheadings not only helps keep the reader’s attention but will help draw them back in to points of interest.

It is worth noting that there are online tools available for optimising your headlines by taking into consideration relevant terms or keywords from previous google searches. This again should tie in with your businesses search engine optimisation (SEO) strategy.

Using keywords for both online and offline

Almost every part of your marketing effort needs to consider SEO and that should even extend to your traditional efforts.

Words used in press adverts, press releases and even backdrop displays can build your association with those words and so they will carry through for online search. Therefore, keyword consideration and implementation is essential.

For organic search it is the most effective way of being found online. A basic approach is to consider if you or your sales team were to carry out a Google search on your particular topic, what would be the terms or words used to search for that content.

Whatever these words are, ensure they are used appropriately within your content.

Inclusion of appropriate links

Setting out the objective of your content is so important. This will vary from a targeted readership number, a targeted number of follow up calls or a click through to elsewhere.

Whatever the expectation, give close consideration to making the reader journey as smooth as possible.

Whilst it is useful to include links to relevant pages on either internal or external resources, be aware of not taking them away from the objective of reading your piece. Links are useful for verification of technical information, or research you are quoting, but more importantly links to your contact details or a place where someone can place an order are really useful.

For assistance with structuring and optimising your content for both press and digital, email Green Acre Marketing at: [email protected].