Online Vs. Print Media: 3 differences that I found

Online vs. print mediaIt was yet another day at work. I was writing an article for an online article directory submission site when something struck me.

Having worked in the print media for two years and also contributing write-ups to the same newspaper from time to time now, I thought writing techniques for online media are similar to those for the print. Well, to some extent they are. For example, the journalistic notion of 5Ws (who, where, when, what, why) and 1H (how) applies to online writing. In addition, the ‘inverted pyramid‘ is used by online media just as it is used by the print to have the most important at the beginning of your content followed by the lesser important information.

However, besides these similarities, I found, on this fortunate day at work, that there are conspicuous differences between print and online media. So here I go with my discovery.

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1. Audience

Of course, audience for print and online media often overlap each other. However, there is one significant difference. Those with access to the internet are the primary audience of online media.

With the world getting digitized every second and the world community (‘Global Village’) getting smaller & closer in this age of information technology, it is important to focus attention to the ever-expanding online community. Social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter have revolutionized the way we look at online media and they are the primary reasons as to why companies are now investing their time and energy in social media marketing.

Print or online, there is after all one commonality: both media put READERS first.

 2. Brevity and Relevance

Well, we have just 3 seconds in our hands to attract the attention of our website visitor which is not so in the print media. That’s the average amount of time a first-time visitor. If s/he does not find the right information she is looking for within that time, s/he will hit the back arrow to search another site which might provide the right information. Hence, messages, especially on the home page, should be short, simple and relevant. Avoid fluffs. Present to her/him what s/he NEEDS.

3. Keywords

Of course, using the right words is the mantra for both print and online media. The difference, as I feel, is in the usage. While online writing focuses on having keywords right at the beginning, print media because of the relatively large space it provides its writers, the placement of keywords can be anywhere within the space.

Online media, on the other hand, is about making our sites visible to search engines like Google, Bing or Yahoo. So, the content we write right from the title to the body has to be keyword-rich because search engines search our content on the basis of these keywords. However, there is a catch. Being keyword-rich doesn’t mean bombarding the content with keywords but using keywords creatively.

For example, if you are writing an article for which the keyword is Eiffel Tower, it does not make sense to use the word ‘Eiffel Tower’ repeatedly in every single paragraph. Instead, we can break the monotony by creatively adding sections like history and significance of this historic monument in the content. This way it will follow a natural sequence and readers will not get bored.


Well, for me the 3 points are the basic differences between the print and online media. Whatever the differences, the two have one thing in common–putting readers on mind all the time.