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Category Archives: Web Writing and Editing

How do you create USEFUL user personas?

By | December 3, 2013 |

Answer updated March 7, 2016 Creating in-depth user personas that truly represent your target audience is a science. It can take a lot of research, time, and sometimes tens of thousands of dollars. But everyone needs to start somewhere, right? Here’s a quick and dirty creative approach: First: What Is a User Persona? How Do You Create a User Persona? How Do You Make User Personas Useful?

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How do I create an awesome company blog?

By | November 13, 2013 |

“I want to start a blog for my company; where do I start?” I’ve been getting that question fairly frequently lately. If you are planning on starting or revamping your company’s blog, here’s your to-do list for success: Blog Content Strategy Checklist (Download the printable PDF version.) Establish blog objectives with decision makers Identify core messaging priorities to support objectives Audit potential content sources Create editorial guidelines (voice, tone, length, reading level) Develop editorial calendar (content categories, frequency, topic ideas) Ensure you have the people resources to support this

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Our messaging strategy is falling flat. What’s missing?

By | October 30, 2013 |

You know those long meetings you’ve been having with your team to discuss strategic vision, your meaning for existence, your key differentiators? You might be missing something kind of big. Your consumers. I know this sounds obvious, but I felt compelled to write this because so many really fabulous, reputable brands I’ve been talking to lately are spending a lot of time focused inward, and not much time focused on the reason they exist: to provide something to someone else for a

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Any new geeky terms content strategists should know?

By | June 12, 2013 |

When building a mobile, video, or web content strategy and working with all the players who pull together an online content project, it’s helpful to know what the heck they are talking about when they start using new technical terms or old terms in new ways. Here are quick definitions of some content strategy-related terms I keep hearing lately: 1. Mo-Graph Video content strategy and video content production are probably on your list of to-dos. Videos can certainly help attract attention or explain a

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How do you best deliver bad news by email?

By | May 22, 2013 |

Look on the Bright Side Companies change direction. Leadership shifts. People make mistakes. Sometimes a brand needs to communicate an uncomfortable story to its audience … while not making it sound worse than it is. You might try the straight-forward approach: CFO was fired, changes ahead Our customer service department was not trained well We no longer carry ABC Brand But those statements sound so alarming. Scary even. Questions immediately pop up in your head — what does this mean to me? Maybe I shouldn’t use you

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The Interactive World of Mobile: Where do editors fit?

By | May 20, 2013 |

Do You Need a Mobile Editor? Does your mobile project need an editor? And will any professional editor do? The Interactive World of Mobile: Where Do Editors Fit? by Shelly Bowen Can a traditional editor be a mobile editor? The editing skills are the same, but the overall experience is very different from traditional or even web editing, specifically: Mobile development process is faster and more collaborative Change happens more quickly The output is so much smaller These things seem obvious, but they really affect an editor’s work. Editors of mobile must become agile editors. What Makes an Agile Editor?…

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Brand Story: Do we really write the last line first?

By | May 14, 2013 |

Start With the End The other day, I had lunch with an enthusiastic startup CEO; she really wanted to talk content strategy. She has an amazing product and goals, and clearly, she could take her brand — and content strategy — in many directions. Is her brand a supportive best friend or an influential adviser? Loud and enthusiastic? Quiet and wise? This will really influence her content strategy as a whole. As she told me about her company, I could see that she had lots of ideas, but no idea where to start. I asked her, “How does your brand…

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How do we make our brand’s personality more authentic?

By | May 8, 2013 |

When you’ve worked with the same brand for a while, it’s easy to get stuck in a rut, writing the same things the same way for all your messaging — whether it’s website content or marketing copy. Your brand has a personality, and as a personality, it should be alive and respond to different situations, places, and things. I know this is hard, especially for large brands with Compliance processes and strict brand style guides. But I’m not talking about changing the brand’s established voice, or expressing a message in a way that’s contrary to brand principles. I’m talking about…

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Web Content Worries: How do we know we got it right?

By | July 3, 2012 |

Have you noticed that, when it comes down to writing content for the web, business people get nervous? Website content — the foundational stuff — feels important, permanent, and definitive. Plus, it’s hard to write about something you’re so close to and know you’ve got it right. You may have talent on staff who are writing blog articles or articles for your website, writing emails, or even copywriters writing ad copy, but writing content for the website? That’s heavy. How to Write Web Content that Works First (yes, I sound like an old-school broken record), have a great content strategy…

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