Writing for online

In this week’s CoP Show podcast we examine the world of writing for online, exploring what works and what doesn’t work in an online space.

As researchers and producers are being asked to write more often and for more platforms, making sure you get the words right is becoming increasingly important. Traditional TV and radio audiences are now able to discover your content via many channels, so how do you make sure your message and your programme doesn’t get lost?

Simon Ford is joined by BBC producers Jaine Sykes and Mike Kibblewhite, and author, copywriter and trainer Neil Taylor, to discuss how establishing the right tone and structuring your copy can help both novice and more experienced writers.

"The shorter your sentence, the more playful you can be. Don’t let any short sentence be dull." – Neil Taylor

They share their views on writing that works well online, and provide great examples of the tricks of the writing trade from the BBC, news sites such as The Guardian and The Economist, as well as global brands like Innocent, who have been able to successfully “maximise the media at their disposal”.

The panel also outline how writers have to be disciplined in order to shape their own content more effectively. By choosing the right words, they can have a greater impact with their audience, and often in the shortest form possible. Rather than restricting online writing, new platforms like Twitter offer writers new opportunities to be playful and convincing while keeping the audience engaged.

Michael Kibblewhite is a producer at the BBC Academy. He joined the BBC in 2007 as a researcher for BBC Online. Since then he has worked in digital production across the BBC iPlayer, homepage, BBC Food, History and Science. He has built up a wealth of experience in copywriting for diverse audiences and delivering interactive campaigns across platforms.

Jaine Sykes is currently producer for the BBC TV channel homepage, writing for BBC One, BBC Two, BBC Three and BBC Four. She oversees all of BBC Three’s social media output and works closely with BBC Three production teams to come up with specific online content for their programmes. Prior to this she worked in BBC Comedy where she wrote on the blog, social media and oversaw all the in-house comedy programme websites.

Neil Taylor is creative director at brand and language agency The Writer. He travels extensively training people both nationally and internationally to become better writers at work, including companies like Price Waterhouse Coopers and The Economist. More recently he also worked with BBC Radio training producers on writing short form promos for radio network programmes. He’s the author of three books, including Brilliant Business Writing, and appears regularly on TV and radio talking about language and business.