Before we begin, can I just say that I’ve subscribed to the gamesindustry.biz email newsletter for years.
But good god, it’s painful to read sometimes.
Why? Well, take a look at the latest newsletter, which deals with the ban of the Manhunt 2 video game by Rockstar.
Tackling the topic of video game censorship means it won’t be short of eyeballs, but I’m prepared to bet a bloodied ice hockey mask that less than 10 per cent of all recipients of the weekly newsletter read the whole newsletter.
At best, I’d say they read the opening paragraph, scan for keywords in the main body, then maybe, just maybe, they scroll to the final paragraph to read the last two paragraphs. But I doubt it.
Bone up on web copy basics
Insert sub headings, limit each paragraph to one idea or issue. Help users navigate around the article with signposting sub headings, images or pull quotes. As a last resort, bold up keywords throughout the piece – a bit messy, but at least my eyes have something to hold on to. *I can’t believe I’m wheeling this one out* but get familiar with Jakob Nielsen: e.g. around 16 per cent of web users read web copy word for word, while the rest skim or scan. I’d bet that statistic drops to single figures for readers of this newsletter.
Bite the big one and cut the word count
The text is way too long and no matter how good the text is, no one will read it. And if they do, I bet they’ll print it off and save it for the train journey home. Then they’ll decide it’s way too long. Or just plain unattractive to the eye.
Get another editor
I’m guessing the length of the piece has more to do with gamesindustry.biz’s limited resources than anything else – in that I bet it’s been researched, written, edited and posted by the same person. A second pair of eyes would edit this down. And if there is a second pair of eyes, get another editor.
Don’t get me wrong – I read (or at least try to read) every gi newsletter I get. Loyalty dictates that I try to ignore the horrific formatting I’ve outlined above and the repetitive. laboured. hammering in. of each. point. again. and again. But I can’t.
I just don’t have the time to read really long and immersive articles…and I’m guesing its core audience – gaming execs – don’t either.
Please don’t take this the wrong way gamesindustry.biz – I just think you could be so much better.
On a more positive note, VNUnet.com (which favours a raw text email newsletter) reports that online games are grooming business leaders of the future.