Social Media Writing VS Corp Speak

John Hope-Johnstone


Buonas tardes my friend, to be successful in social media writing you need to be more conversational in style. Good social media (aka conversational writing) is good journalistic writing with just a tad more personal approach added to it. 

A key would be to write as if the pyramid was inverted and always begin with the conclusion. 

One of the first things I learned about conversational writing came from Dr. Jakob Nielsen as quoted in a slide share by Lisa Forner. He indicated that the first thing to learn about conversational writing is your reader. You, my dear reader, are not sitting down with a good book (God knows), you are looking for something. So here is what Dr. Nielsen has to say about you: 

  1. You have a short attention span (oops lost you)
  2. You are interactive by nature (better put a link in)
  3. You are a reader on a mission (you may have found me through a search query so I better put a lot of key words in my blog)

Having read this I now realize that my blogs (often over 1,000 words) are way beyond your limited time span. I write my blogs to be turned into books, so they do tend to be too long in nature (sorry). “A wall of text is deadly for an interactive reader and is intimidating, boring and painful to read” says Dr Nielsen, and I agree with him. 

A search about “conversational writing” brings up very little… but the search “social media writing” brings up many good tips:  Muhammad Saleem.  

  1.  Start with the familiar: Introduce your article by drawing from a source that you think the social media audience will relate to and is interested in. Pop culture will often provide the perfect hook.
  2. Introduce the unfamiliar: Once you’ve established a relationship with the reader by finding common ground, you can introduce your topic (i.e. the analysis or educational aspect of your article).
  3. Connect the two: Once you have established common ground and introduced your insight, you need to connect the two. This makes your content easy to understand and digest for the readers, but also easy to remember, comment on and apply to their own lives.

Here is an excellent tip from Eric Brantner 

  • Be Conversational– The key word in social media is “social.” Get rid of the stiff, boring content that lacks personality. Bring your readers into the conversation. Talk to the readers just like you would if you were sitting next to them face to face. An interactive, personal tone will generate buzz for your content.

I would like to add a few suggestions of my own (don’t moan): 

  1. Where possible write in the first person and  speak directly to the reader (singular) 
  2. This second point is very unpopular but I am going to say it anyway (heretic): Don’t dumb down your writing unless you want dumb followers. English is a vast and rich language, use it
  3. I believe that Twitter and other micro blogs are making people précis their thoughts and this is very good (I know, I know, take my own advice)
  4. A question is often more powerful than a statement
  5. Précis, précis, précis (then shorten it)
  6. What is your goal in writing the post? 
  7. Have you filled it with key words and have you completed a key word analysis? 
  8. Have you placed internal and external links in the article? 
  9. Does your post grab the reader with short easy to remember content? 
  10. Is your content easy to absorb on the computer or smart phone screen?  This could include:
  • Bullet points
  • Subheadings (search engines appreciate this to help with indexing as well as any reader being able to grasp the articles intention from an initial skim reading)
  • Interesting quotes

Thanks for reading this post, please add any thoughts you may have on writing for social media.  I am off on a cruise (lucky me) and will post in a couple of weeks.



  1. Aida Spennato says:

    L’avvento dei Social Media ha permesso ai lettori di poter esprimere le proprie opinioni in libertà e senza condizionamenti.Gli utenti,in quanto fruitori dei mezzi di comunicazione,avendo la possibilità di essere connessi,condividono con il network le proprie idee e questa è una buona cosa che rende lo scrivere colloquiale utile per tutti.

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