OK. I know this title is a little silly, but who says you can’t let your personality out and have a little fun with your writing from time to time. No one, that’s who!
Creating Stunning Post Bodies
One of the keys to writing good Sparrow post content (or content of any kind) is to write it as yourself. Don’t try to be someone else when you’re writing because it WILL show.
This doesn’t mean that you don’t write with your intended reader’s needs foremost in your mind, and it certainly doesn’t give you license to be sloppy or unprofessional in your writing. Just understand that you’ll have a much easier time writing your posts when you allow your writing to take on your own personality.
Write Post Content for Your Audience, NOT for You
Write your post body according to the needs of the people your post is intended to reach. If a post is for a particular group in your organization, take the time to learn how those people communicate among themselves and word your post to fit with that style. Doing so will make your post more acceptable to them, rather than it being seen as just another “Corporate” communication.
Also keep in mind the reading level of your audience. It is believed that the average adult in the USA reads comfortably at a grade 8 level. If your post is intended for a general audience, consider keeping the reading level down to around the average. If, however, you’re posting for users with a more extensive educational background, you can raise the level accordingly.
See the article titled, “Judging Post Readability” for more detail.
Remember, the ultimate purpose of your posts is to inform and to meet the communications needs of all in your organization.
Posting Content for Others
Often you will be required to create posts for others, and sometimes they’ll give you copy to work from. In some cases, you’ll be asked to duplicate the copy EXACTLY as it’s given to you. But what if that copy is just, plain bad?
If you know how to fix it, you should get permission from the original author to do so. Never change another’s copy without their consent.
Post Structure Tips
Now that you’ve learned some general rules about creating posts, here are three tips on post structure that will make it easy for your readers to absorb your post content.
#1 Write for Scanners
Scanners are people who quickly skim content looking for the essentials only. If the content is important to them they’ll come back to your post at a later time to read it in more detail.
Help scanners by breaking longer content into individual chunks. Ideally you want one idea per chunk, and you might even consider creating a separate post out of each chunk. Keep in mind, however, that it takes longer to close one short post and open another than it does to flick through a longer post.
If you feel that two or more chunks of content are better delivered in a single post, then keep the content of each chunk separate and place the chunks in a logical order in your post. Above each chunk create a heading that stands out and describes what the chunk is about. This will give good visual separation between the topic areas and will attract the scanner’s attention.
By creating separate, smaller posts, or by chunking longer posts and titling each chunk, you’ll make it easy for scanners to quickly go through your posts and post content in order to identify what’s important to them.
#2 Keep it Short but Personable
People are busy and need to use their time effectively. You can help by making sure that your posts are written succinctly, which means to the point and without a lot of unnecessary fluff. The problem with writing this way is that your posts can sound terse and impersonal, so you need to strike a balance.
Don’t be afraid to add a personal touch to your post content, just don’t waste your reader’s time. Everything you write should offset the time they spend reading your posts with the value they receive from them.
#3 Schedule Your Posts to Communicate Over Time
People no longer want to take an hour to read a big, monthly newsletter. Their time is short and their attention spans are dwindling.
Consider breaking up the full newsletter format into smaller posts that you can deliver on a schedule. By “dripping” content onto your readers in shorter posts over a longer time period, you’ll make it easier for them to absorb and they’ll get more benefit than from a monthly newsletter they never read.
When writing your Sparrow post content always remember that you’re goal is to inform and engage. Your post body is your vehicle for this communication, so take the time to ensure that it does so efficiently and effectively.