It may be difficult for some of us to remember, but there was a time when books and magazines and newspapers had a smell and a feel to them.
They were tangible objects that left ink on our hands, piled up in our dens and served as clip art for homework assignments.
For a few of us, this is still the case. But most of us cannot deny the lure and ease of online media.
Click a button and your news is there. Download a link and the week’s best selling fiction appears on your Kindle screen.
Let’s face it — digital media is here to stay.
If you’re a freelance writer looking to jump into the digital media game in news or magazines, here are some things to consider:
• Know your audience. It sounds cliché, but this is one of the most important considerations of a published writing. Understanding for whom you write – young teens, middle-aged moms, car enthusiasts – will help you find a home for your work and grow a following online.
• Write tight. As writers we love our words. We thrill over artfully-constructed sentences. Unfortunately, online readers want it quick and they want it easy. That means writers must make the best use of their readers’ limited time by saying a lot with fewer words.
• Tailor your stories so that they are top-heavy with information. Since many internet readers tend to skip out on a story that extends beyond about 400 words, be sure to give them the goods in the first few paragraphs.
• Insert hyperlinks to URLs into your story that will lead readers back to your previous stories or even your own professional website. This will help to grow your brand or blog and lend credibility to your byline.
• Look for trends. Topics ebb and flow out of the public’s consciousness every day. Lately, it’s been Obamacare. But, is anyone still talking about Paris Hilton? Not much. Not lately anyway. To garner more attention to your work or to spark the interest of an online editor, write about hot topics that are current.
• Be quick with your work. Online editors work with ungodly deadlines. Most of them need the story yesterday. If you can produce copy that is quick, clean and accurate, you’ve got the job.
Kerri S. Mabee