Department of Agricultural Communication
Purdue University

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January 2001


Rewrite for the Web

You're faced with the prospect of writing copy for a Web page.

Then--phew--you remember the paper document you've already written on the same subject. Problem solved, right? Not quite.

Because it doesn't make sense to reinvent the wheel, go ahead and use what you've already written. But massage your text to make your words work on the Web.You've read about writing for the Web in "On Target" and elsewhere. Apply those same principles when you're rewriting for the Web.

The following are a few reminders to help you rewrite for the Web.

First, tighten your focus.

Here's one more reminder.

For more on writing for the Web that you can use as you rewrite, consult the book I cited in "Web Writing Resource" in the June 2000 "On Target".

Laura Hoelscher <lah@purdue.edu>

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Great Give-Aways Get Attention

Great Give-Aways Get Attention This time of year we get questions about promotional give-aways as marketing tools. Mainly, the question comes in the form of: "I have some extra money. Should I buy some sort of give-away to promote my program?"

The answer is "Yes" and "No." Of course, it isn't simple. But it is straightforward. Here's how I'd break it down.

If the give-away provides some insight into your program and involves the user at the time he or she makes the decision about whether or not to use your program, then go for it. If the give-away is a run-of-the-mill item like everyone else's, especially if it has nothing to do with your program or project, then forget about it.

Deciding on an effective give-away involves marketing at the basic level. Who is your audience? What is your service? How do you make your product or service stand out in the intended audience's mind?

Let's look at examples. A refrigerator magnet that promotes a food and nutrition or a food financial management program is great, for obvious reasons.

A refrigerator magnet that promotes better use of livestock nutrient management is not. A better choice there might be a heavy-duty pencil that a farmer can use out in the field or something that goes next to the computer (where a farmer is computing nutrient load).

If you have the extra budget to use for a promotional give-away, think like your audience. Better yet, ask a few people from your intended audience a few questions about the give-away so you can get an idea of what works best. That way, you'll get the most bang for your promotional buck.

Steve Cain <cain@purdue.edu>

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Grammar Trap: A vs. An

There are two indefinite articles, "a" and "an." The question? When do you use which?

You use "a" when the next word (or abbreviation or acronym) starts with a consonant sound. You use "an" when the next word starts with a vowel sound.

It's the sound that counts, NOT whether the first letter of the word following the indefinite article is actually a consonant or vowel.

Examples: This is an F & N Extension publication. ("F" is a consonant, but the sound is "eff.") This is a Foods and Nutrition program. (The sound is "fff.")

Thanks to Bill Evers, Foods and Nutrition, for suggesting this topic

. If there's a grammar (or usage) trap you'd like to see discussed, or if you have a tip that will help the rest of us avoid one, please let us know.

Visit <../grammartrap/index.html> for past "Grammar Traps."

Laura Hoelscher <lah@purdue.edu>

Frank Koontz <fkoontz@purdue.edu>

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