By Rossana Llenado


People don’t go online because they like to read.  They go online because they need the latest information fast, snappy, and brief. They don’t have time for details.  They detest long text.

This couldn’t be emphasized enough during the recent International Association of Business Communicators (IABC) convention I attended in San Diego, California last week. One of the convention’s more than 80 speakers, Steve Cresenzo summed up internet writing principles in four letters, H-A-C-K.

Headline. Whether you’re writing a blog or updating a portion of your website, you have to have a catchy headline. It should be so encompassing that readers immediately “get” the idea and have no choice but to read the rest of the story. On your headline, use only key words. Make every word count.

Abstract. In a sentence, capture the essence of your story.  Assume that this will be all that your readers would read. Let them know all they need to know. Try focusing on one persona that will represent your story’s point.  According to research, readers are drawn in by striking character profiles rather than statistics. A reader is more likely to read the story of an earthquake survivor than an impersonal rundown of the number of calamity victims.

Content. Now apply your storytelling skills.  Make your main “character” as human as possible.  Include one or two quotations from an expert to give credibility to your account.  Use conversational language. With different wordings, state your main point at the beginning, middle, and end of your piece as many of your readers would just be scanning your story. Through carefully chosen details, you should be able to give the reader a grasp of the bigger picture and lead him to where you want him to go.

Killer Content. Here comes the tricky part where you aim at three-way communication.  Make the reader react to your story by leaving room for him to comment. Give examples and the examples of others so that the reader would be enticed to share his own. Be straightforward about how you’d like your audience to react:

(1) Like you/your organization on Facebook

(2) Share your story on their wall

(3) Join the discussion

(4) Comment. Comment. Comment.

Go forth and HACK!