Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Advocacy and Marketing on the Web

Kilians' eighth chapter in Writing for the Web has lots of detailed examples and how-tos about appealing to your audience along with what not to do. Most of this you'd learn in a college public speaking or persuasive writing course.

In general, to write persuasively for the web you should do these things:
  • Be truthful, open, and considerate. Have your facts straight.
  • Don't insult your reader accidentally by making them feel stupid - or on purpose by throwing around insults and generally being a jerk.
  • Use legitimate appeals. Study up on rhetoric and make the kinds of appeals you want to make. Check your text to see if it's saying what you want in subtext.
  • Use the register and semantics you want, considering your audience. This falls in with rhetoric appeal.
  • Don't push too hard. 
Also keep in mind that your audience is wide, outspoken, and full of trolls. If you're going to be unethical, you're probably going to get lots of nasty-grams from the people who see what you're doing. You can see this in action all over the web; a good example is Regretsy, a site that most commonly points out utter garbage that makes its way onto Etsy, but also makes sure to blow the whistle on copyright infringers and 'crafters' flipping cheap non-handmade items from big box stores or wholesalers.

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