Webwriting: technical guide

September 17, 2011 § Leave a comment

By Callum Smith: https://sites.google.com/site/callumsmithwebsitecopywriting/

Computer screens impair reading-comprehension.

But proper web content fixes that problem:

FOCUS


  1. Thoughts: Multiple thoughts distract. Write about 1 topic. This page’s topic lists steps for writing proper web content.
  2. Persuasiveness: Start with the problem. End with the solution. It’s easier to follow.
  3. Sentences: The active voice commands attention; subject-verb-object; your product or service enables satisfaction. Sentences written in that order are easily understood.

THREES

  1. Frequency of 3: Basic human message structure has 3 parts: (1) Hook `em, (2) explain it to `em, and (3) enable `e m to act. See Herbert Krugman’s famous advertising theory explained here.
  2. Bullet points: ‘Takes 3 things minimum to form a pattern. To explain, provide 3 things on which the audience can meditate:
    • Three thoughts
    • form
    • one thought.
  3. Reasoning: Example: If (1)this is true, and if (2)that is true, then the (3)other must be true too. Another example: Your brain tires when reading from a computer screen. But your brain resonates when viewing pictures on a computer screen. Words on a computer screen, therefore, should act like pictures.

REDUCE

  1. Words: Use 1 word per concept when 1 will do. Notice I didn’t write: “Use 1 word per idea, notion, or concept.” And, take the time to pick your word.
  2. Redundancies: They are elusive yet common and exhausting. Redundancies are hard to spot but frequently happen, which is bad.
  3. Complex explanations: Lengthy concepts on computer screens need metaphors. A metaphor is your touchstone, your idea simplified.
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Web content is the new poetry

September 9, 2011 § 1 Comment

By Callum Smith: https://sites.google.com/site/callumsmithwebsitecopywriting/

Web writers are the new poets. They speak to your right-brain hemisphere.

The left brain understands written concepts, and while you read,  at some point, the right gets the big picture.

Video-screen resolution stimulates your right brain yet lulls your left brain.

Proper web content is poetic because poetry communicates the big picture.

By using both brain hemispheres equally, you gain a grounded web-viewing experience. Both concepts and the big picture equally should comprise your perception.

Understanding web content means perceiving all information in an instant. The words flow and the content is clear. Words disappear when the information’s clear. Poetic elements make meanings clear because their words disappear.

When words recreate an experience effortlessly, they speak to your right brain.

Proper web writing, web copywriting, or web content creates communication without hesitation.

Proper web content is poetic.

Reference:

Electric Language: understanding the present, by Eric McLuhan.

Six steps to a persuasive website video

March 17, 2011 § Leave a comment

By Callum Smith: https://sites.google.com/site/callumsmithwebsitecopywriting/

Websites should use video because selling is persuading.

For your website to fulfill its primary function and sell your product or service better than any other means possible, it must use video, and in a very specific manner:

Crdit: Getty immages

1.       Relationship – Video provides transparency, which promotes authenticity. Face-to-face interaction is always the best contextual environment for selling. Video assures the audience who they are dealing with, and that helps create a personal relationship, which is paramount to selling. A face-to-face encounter is what your website must use to establish a quick yet authentic relationship.

2.       Proof – Video brings to the audience visual proof of the product or service. For example, a painting-company owner can simultaneously describe how his company provides quality while close-ups of skillfully painted samples are portrayed. Restaurant owners can describe their food while mouth-watering meals are displayed. Seeing is believing and video provides this proof.

Credit: 123rf.com

3.       Emotion – Video allows a speaker to convey a story. Understand that the benefits of a product or service are what people desire, not the product or service itself. As well, understand that most people are empathetic and need to see how someone else has benefited from what you offer. A speaker in a video can describe a time when he or she either helped someone with the product or service, or was helped by the product or service (a testimonial). Always, therefore, tell a tale.

Music can also create emotions. But selecting an appropriate tune and using it at the right time is very tricky because songs can easily bore and even annoy the audience, who will therefore quickly leave. Music alone should never introduce a website’s video.

4.       Usability – Video should be front and center on your home page because a face-to-face relationship is what visitors should experience first. Great examples of sizing and placement for videos on websites can be seen at http://www.citruspiemg.com/category/our-services/websites/ .

5.       Urgency –Video provides a dynamic environment which forces the viewer to pay attention. It is, however, paramount that the video starts off with a bang — a hook. Music is definitely not the answer. To acquire interest, start your video with a statement that sums up your argument. Website visitors demand complete control as they’re often in a slight state of anxiety, and giving them what they want to know, providing them with the basic information they’re looking for should be the first thing they get.

Another note on urgency is that video is a powerful hypnotic device. Video causes our brains to slide into what Marshal McLuhan called

…a nondominant, neutral (alpha) state…your mind is in a condition to respond to virtually any suggestion…and you are fair game for the nonrational sell.1

Credit: Hypnosis Counsel

Therefore, have your video play instantly when the web-page opens because as long as the video starts strong, the audience will have no choice but to watch–guaranteed. This is not unethical and you are actually helping your potential customers.

6.       Format – Video is the perfect environment for reciting what is called a persuasive speech. Think elevator pitch. To convince or sell in a short period requires telling the essential elements to your argument in a very specific order. Hiring a professional speech writer for your video is the key to success. In contrast, videos that use the interview technique do not persuade; they merely tell. There is no better way to convince than by using the time-tested and theoretically proven persuasive speech format, employed by politicians, infomercials, lawyers, and other professional speakers who garner your attention from beginning to end. Remember, only a rhetorician or speech writer can help your persuasive argument far better than anyone else. Your website’s video must use a persuasive speech in order to be as successful as it can possibly be. It is the key.

MANY communication theorists know that all technologies come with side effects. Video is no exception and should be kept simple. However, web videos often appear professional, but they lack persuasive effectiveness and are even damaging because little thought was given to the web audience. Videographers must employ a professional writer to write the script; because if not, they will be like a blind person driving a race car. Unless that car has a skilled seer in the passenger seat instructing the driver when to turn, accelerate, and brake, it will be an expensive and sad wreck.

Be aware that video can do more harm than good because people’s online behaviors reflect those of our ancient hunter-gatherer ancestors. Pre-agriculture humans anxiously scanned unfamiliar environments in search of ripe fruit and easy-to-catch prey, and never wasted time with stuff they didn’t need. With today’s information-rich, online world, website videos must provide efficiency so visitors can acquire what they need, which is what you offer.

This is an example of digital evolution, and communicating has always been how individuals, tribes, and societies survived their changing environments.

Finally, I missed some points. Here’s a link I found with examples concerning the affordability of videos, at:

Reel SEO, the online video marketer’s guide

Reference: 1 – McLuhan, M. (1989). Global village, the. New York: Oxford University Press, Inc.

Return of tribalism: the hand axe is back

March 8, 2011 § Leave a comment

By Callum Smith: https://sites.google.com/site/callumsmithwebsitecopywriting/

For over a million years the hand axe remained unchanged as our primary tool.

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The hand axe determined our food, clothing, habitat, and basically our interpretation of the world.

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With the advent of speech, consequently, the hand axe disappeared from use.

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Now, with the advent of wireless technology, hand-held communication devices appear to be controlling where we go, with whom we associate, and again our interpretation of the world.

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The chopper was a big hand axe designed to handle larger projects than what its smaller predecessor could. The chopper, however, was not portable because it did not fit into 1 hand.

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Hand axes fit into 1 hand, and were therefore mobile.

Credit: Samsung, CNET

Credit: arrowheadology.com

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As our communication evolves, so should we because as Marshal McLuhan said,

We shape our tools and then our tools shape us.1

1. McLuhan, M. (1964). Understanding media: the extensions of man. Toronto, Canada: McGraw-Hill.

On writing headlines and subject lines

February 26, 2011 § Leave a comment

By Callum Smith: https://sites.google.com/site/callumsmithwebsitecopywriting/

Headlines on RSS aggregators and email in-boxes are difficult to scan because their subjects — usually company or product names — don’t stand out; too often, all headlines’ words begin with Capitals.

To clearly distinguish headlines’ subjects, to understand from a glance the gist of a headline, a clear distinction between the subject (company/product name) and the rest of the headline must be made. Here’s some basics on how (digital) headlines should appear:

  • Bolded
  • First word of headline is capitalized
  • Only names and abbreviations are capitalized
  • English grammar rules of capitalization apply

The subject is terribly important and must stand out in order to be immediately understood when scanned.

First 2 headlines from my Google Reader aggregator (above) should appear as follows:

  • Interview with Qwest security expert Bob Schroeder – Bob Schroeder…
  • Can online sharing stats predict the Oscars? – When it comes to …

This should make your e-mail and news-reader headlines more attractive because they will be faster and easier for the eye to process, as well as being different from the rest.

Computer-screen language has been evolving since the first programmers communicated amongst each other via computer-mediated communication, using IM lingo abbreviations, emoticons, etc…, and digital headlines today are no exception.

Online discussion forum reveals proper human diet

May 24, 2010 § Leave a comment

By Callum Smith: https://sites.google.com/site/callumsmithwebsitecopywriting/

Resulting from the internet, an online discussion forum has brought to our awareness what, despite the recommendations of our western food guides, comprises a proper human diet.

Government Food Pyramid (source: Food FAQ)

Caveman food pyramid (source: Cynergy CrossFit)

Below is an ethnographic compilation of what a low-carb, meat-and-fat diet does. There is no economic determination here, just honest people giving their testimonials shortly after switching to a low carbohydrate, high meat and fat diet.

The following testimonials were gathered from a website called Paleohacks.

John R: I have Addison’s and had depression and ADD diagnoses for years; the ADD went away within hours after removing gluten from my diet, the depression after a few weeks.

Ryan: I felt less lethargic going off of all of those foods with less brain fog. Adding wheat back in brings those symptoms right back and dairy does somewhat.

Nero: The more fat I eat the better is my sleep.

Michelle: I recently started drinking coconut milk and I seriously get really calm when I have it.

Paleolady: The one major depressive episode I had, my naturopath had me eat a high protein diet (at the time I rarely at chicken or fish, and didn’t eat any red meat, and ate WAY too much processed food). Within a week I noticed a big difference. I don’t get hot in the middle of the night anymore!…On the two occasions where I have not had a paleo dinner, I have once again woken up burning up.

Shebeeste: cutting wheat and corn has definitely helped even out my mood.

Fearsclave: I went Paleo in January. I’ve dropped another seventeen pounds since then. I’ve noticed my ability to handle job stress has improved too; I’m still in the same stressful line of work, but it feels like I’m dealing better with stress and am calmer most of the time.

Matt: The more meat I ate the better I felt, in conjuction with eliminating grains.

Rick Kiessig: Hi Louisa, my teeth-grinding has also stopped. I attribute that to avoiding gluten.

speno: I swear paleo has improved my reflexes and throwing accuracy.

Jae: A fairly common experience after going grain-free: all tooth plaque has disappeared…Chronic nighttime sinus congestion is diminished.

John R: No heartburn. Which sort of messes with my lifelong theory that my occasional heartburn was triggered by high-sat-fat meals…

Aaron: My frequent heartburn went away almost immediately upon starting paleo (a little over a month ago). No headaches either.

Kim: Ever since going low-carb/paleo about a year ago, I have been magically pain and PMS symptom-free…No more morning breath for me or the hubby!

Biodoc: Fewer headaches…The husband and I both have improved (the breath issue).

gilliebean: No more morning breath…My eyesight has improved…It’s easier to wake up in the morning.

Jae: I can’t say mine (morning breath) is GONE but it is much better.

Blue -the Thrifty Mom: My most startling physical change is that my arthritis is VASTLY improved and my Rosacia is GONE.

Glenn: I’ve also stopped having “night sweats”!

42: …my rosacea is also clearing…In general, I feel much better, more alert, less easily fatigued.

Andrea: My mood swings have lessened considerably, and like gilliebean, I find myself feeling refreshed in the morning whereas before it would take all the mental strength I had to get out of bed in the morning.

Heather: No bloating– used to have this all the time… probably from trouble digesting grains or maybe sugar. Also, no stomach pains, even after big meals, which I used to have often and attributed to high-fat meals (definitely wrong). Also… like the others said lower alcohol tolerance…oh and also, my husband acne on his back has disappeared.

Louisa: I can feel a build up of energy in my muscles and body that I never witnessed before paleo.

sajennings: Once I kicked gluten to the curb, the asthma vanished in less than a week.

Larry: while I haven’t eliminated casein entirely, when I do eat significant amounts of cheese my asthma comes back.

pieter d: Improvement in psoriasis…Calmness of mind….No more swollen eyes in the morning, but after a grain/carb cheat they are back…I haven’t been biting my fingernails for a long time.

Cave Man Mind: I used to wake up with a very slight runny nose; my old ‘normal’. No longer! I attribute this almost certainly to cutting gluten…Reduced body odor smell…No more hunger pangs…

Michelle: my sweat stopped smelling…no more painful bloating after a meal

eakthekat: No heartburn….my acne and psoriasis have started clearing….I have not needed my ADD meds nor my anti-depressants since January…If I get scratches, bruises or cuts I heal a lot faster and with less infection…I don’t get sick as easily…I have more energy. I also have less trouble falling asleep at night and waking in the morning…Off the ADD meds and I can finally read a book for more than 10 minutes!… My knuckles have gone from cracked and bleeding to totally healed…my skin has never looked better.

Elfreda: My itchy toes cleared up for good. (So long, Lamisil!)… Restless leg syndrome much much milder…Rosacea gone.

http://paleohacks.com/questions/1943/some-small-and-quirky-differences-you-have-noticed-since-going-paleo

Through online discussion forums, our digital culture can avoid corrupted information and therefore evolve towards a safer, sounder, and stronger society.