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Any ideas for sparking a fresher voice for our content?

Any ideas for sparking a fresher voice for our content?

We’ve reached altitude as I answer your question. I power up my laptop and review my notes. It’s time also for me to build a personality, a voice and tone for my client’s new interactive health initiative. Voice is a key element to a content strategy, and one that usually comes easily to me.

How to Create the Voice of Your Content

Here’s my typical process to develop the voice portion of a content strategy.

  1. Start with immersion in the material
  2. Play with personas and scenarios (who are they, where are they coming from, what are their issues and concerns?)
  3. Tinker with stream of consciousness. Try on different shoes — doctor shoes, dad shoes, nurse shoes, paramedic shoes — and write write write, not caring if it’s good.
  4. Try first, second, and third person format, and see what feels right for the brand.
  5. Shape and trim, add facts, remove falseness and redundancy.
  6. Sleep on it. Read again. Edit.
  7. Communicate the voice strategy with samples, metaphors, this-and-not-thats, and content placement mockups.

Overcoming Creative Writer’s Block with … Haiku?

Today, for some reason — maybe it’s the knees in my back or a prickling thirst — I circle and circle on the first step. With three hours of confinement ahead, I had to start. Instead, I write haiku.

Yes, it seems random to start to write haiku on a plane when I should be working, but it really isn’t.

And the act of writing haiku was different enough and silly enough that it broke the block and got me thinking and writing meaningfully again.

What About Your Voice?

What is the voice of your content? Does it need to evolve? How do you overcome creative blocks? We would love to hear from you!

Airplane Haiku

Flying high above
the pale clouds whispery thin
Washington ahead

Checkerboard of homes
Gray river twisting through them
Eyes burning with light

A drink would be nice
Stomach begins to grumble
The engine roar like icing.

Piercing squeals in my back
Mumbling pilot jabbers
I settle for mints.

[My companion says:]

I can’t do haiku
because it takes me too long
I’m put on the spot.

Dry spotted mountains
below with snowcaps above
Magazine flipping

Mammoth is snowy
Tuolumne meadow closed
South will the bird fly

Good. Here comes the cart.
I am so very thirsty.
One ginger ale please.

Magazines are like
glossy grownup picture books
I want to stand up

Savory snack mix
with pretzel twists and soy nuts
Did I mention I’m thirsty?

One lake shaped like bull
with an alligator tail
Window seats are best.

From 70 to
snowcaps in 60 minutes
I take a picture

Mono lake is round
like a skull with an ear hole
I bet it tastes metallic.

Searching for Tahoe
I’m sure it’s down there somewhere
I believe it’s missed.

My ginger ale gone
circles of farmland conjoined
aliens were here

Wait, there it is now!
much bigger than expected
Directly below

That must be Reno?
A river cuts through the town
But it looks so small

Powering down now
Puffy clouds are closing in
Prepare for landing

Author Shelly Bowen

Shelly Bowen, Pybop's chief content strategist, has led teams of writers and creatives to develop websites and interactive content for more than 15 years. Read more about Shelly.

Contact Shelly

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