The rules for storytelling and effective communication are interchangeable. But I think their level of importance changes, depending on the communication method, audience and the message being relayed. However, for online communication there are three rules that I think should always be at the top of the list. Be concise. Use a tone that readers will find appealing. And make sure to proofread before you hit send.
KISS. A principle that has been drilled into me since public school, but one I had a great deal of difficulty with until I entered the workforce. Prior to that, meeting word count requirements, and trying to sound smart, dictated my writing style. People have so many platforms to follow, and so much information being thrown at them, that you have about 20 seconds to grab and hold someone’s attention. Personally I think it’s significantly less than this. Based on my own attention span, I would say more like 10 seconds. So use the inverted pyramid approach, and lock people in immediately.
People respond more positively to tone and language that is friendly and relatable. As it says in the lesson notes, like you’re having a face to face conversation with someone. Body language plays such an important role in setting the tone in face to face communication. But since it is completely removed in online communication, the tone of the message must be conveyed through the writing style. Without being able to see body language and facial expressions, it’s easy for messages to be misconstrued, so setting the tone is very important.
And finally, check your work. Double check your work. Even triple check your work. I often find mistakes on the third go round; especially if I’ve been sitting in front of the computer for a long time. It doesn’t matter if the content is ground-breaking, if there are grammatical errors, especially careless ones; the writing loses its credibility. Oh oh, now I have to really proof this! I don’t want Foot-In-Mouth for dinner!