Cocktail parties and web content

The last line of this post on Seth Godin’s blog stuck with me today, long after I was done skimming today’s headlines.

“Sometimes, the web is more of a cocktail party than a club meeting.”

Do you strategically think about who is reading your information on the web? Is it a returning customer, potential customer or someone who landed on your site by accident? Do you have a relationship with that person or hope to have a relationship?

Godin asks these questions of his own blog writing. He writes for avid readers who own all of his books, and also for those that stumbled upon his site, having found his post on Digg.

You have to assume, like Godin says, that the web is like a cocktail party. Be aware that many have never been on your site before and if they have, they still may not know your full story.

With each piece of web marketing you put out and web content you write up, think about who will be reading it. Put yourself in their shoes and think about what they want to hear from you. Your message and marketing will be more effective if you know who you’re writing for.

Once you figure out who your readers are and whether you’re hosting a cocktail party or formalized business meeting, write effective web content.

Here are Ernest Hemingway’s Top 5 tips for Writing Well (summarized by the folks at

  1. Use short sentences.
  2. Use short first paragraphs.
  3. Use vigorous English. Use powerful words.
  4. Be positive, not negative. Say what something IS rather than what it ISN’T.
  5. Throw the garbage in the wastebasket. (Read the full Hemingway quote)

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