Preparation8:08 with Dan Gorgone
No matter what kind of writing you do, you must always consider its purpose, where it will appear, and who will be reading it.
But no matter what kind of writing you do, you must keep 0:00 some key questions in mind so that your writing projects always remain focused. 0:03 First, what is the purpose of what I'm writing? 0:10 Secondly, where will this writing appear? 0:14 And, for whom is this writing intended. 0:19 Purpose, location, and audience. 0:21 Now, the purpose. 0:26 Identifying the reasons why you're writing something is key to making it effective. 0:28 Keeping your purpose in mind helps guide your writing, and it keeps you on track. 0:32 You often find the purpose of a blog 0:37 post for example within its title or description. 0:38 And the same goes for the title of a page that you might write for a website. 0:41 However this doesn't only refer to the subject of what you're writing about. 0:46 It can also refer to your goal for writing about it in the first place. 0:50 Now, if you're selling products online, and need 0:55 a need to build a page for each product, 0:57 the purpose of each page should be to effectively 1:00 communicate all the details you can about a product. 1:02 But what you must also consider is how to use helpers like images 1:05 and video to complement what you're writing, 1:09 to make it as effective as possible. 1:12 Now sites promoting apps often include photo 1:15 or video walk-throughs to show how features work. 1:18 And they complement the visuals with helpful text. 1:22 This example here is the Instagram Tumblr blog. 1:26 And when they release their Photo Maps feature they 1:29 did a video walk-through, and they included it here. 1:33 As a way to help communicate the features and to 1:36 help break down, you know, any concerns or misconceptions that 1:39 people might have to lead them closer to the goal 1:43 of, you know, downloading the app or using the feature. 1:46 The next thing is location. 1:51 In addition to considering the purpose behind your 1:53 writing, you also need to know where the 1:56 text will appear, and not everything you write 1:58 will be displayed within the body of a webpage. 2:01 Some text will have limited space, such as a sidebar in a 2:04 layout with columns, which you'll actually see here on the MarketingProfs website. 2:08 Over on the right side you have these email sign ups, and 2:13 you have the social medial links that they're trying to call out. 2:16 But they don't have a great deal of text 2:19 to promote these things and describe the value behind them. 2:22 But you can see the value very clear in 2:25 that top one, it's free the email newsletter, it's free. 2:28 And the little link there says we also respect your privacy. 2:32 And as far as the social media section where 2:35 they're trying to get people to connect through there, 2:37 you can see 623,000 marketers follow us, so this 2:41 is a huge network and there's the value right there. 2:44 So with limited space, whether it's a sidebar or a carousel or any 2:48 number of spots within a page you need to communicate this value very succinctly. 2:52 Blog post titles again work best when you limit the number of 2:58 words or characters, but not just for SEO purposes but for basic readability. 3:01 Now forms are another location where space is usually limited. 3:08 You probably don't have to explain every single step 3:13 of a contact form for example, many things are self-explanatory. 3:15 But if you write anything, make sure that you're clear about 3:19 how the form works and what users can get from their efforts. 3:24 And if you're asking them to do something, 3:28 they should get something of value in return. 3:30 This particular slide here, from the Krispy Kreme 3:33 website, includes an item called Locate on the navigation. 3:37 But instead of linking to another page, it actually brings 3:42 down a very, very short form, it's got one field. 3:45 And it tells you right there: city, state, province, or postal code. 3:49 And after you enter that information in there and submit it, 3:52 you'll get a list of locations that are close to you. 3:55 It's very short, very simple, and it's easy to understand. 3:58 Now calls to action are very similar. 4:02 They must be short and compelling, and 4:06 only include what's necessary and helpful, and in 4:09 the cases of marketing text, you need to be clear about what the reader can gain. 4:11 From completing whatever, whatever action you want out of them. 4:16 For example this screenshot right here of a, the Ford C Max website. 4:20 You have a, a lot of information, you have a 4:25 navigation across the top, but one of the key things 4:27 that you'll see on this page is the call to 4:30 action in the upper right corner, the Build and Price. 4:32 They're trying to compel users to go through 4:36 the Build and Price process because it's part of 4:39 the, the process of conversion, of getting people 4:42 to look up information or to purchase an automobile. 4:45 Maybe they don't purchase online, but they can reserve one. 4:49 But also, while you might have considered the 4:52 location of your text on a website or form. 4:54 Be sure to give it the same consideration on a mobile device. 4:58 Smaller screens mean smaller text. 5:02 So make sure that what you write is still readable. 5:05 You gotta check this stuff. 5:08 Responsive designs can also change the layout or 5:10 per of, potentially, any element and that includes text. 5:13 So make sure that you review your website on a phone or tablet 5:18 and ensure that the text is where it should be, and it remains helpful. 5:21 Okay? 5:26 So the third thing is audience. 5:27 Now beyond the purpose of what you need to write and it's location, 5:28 you should also understand who will be reading the work that you produce. 5:32 Knowing your target audience will help you plan what and how you'll write. 5:37 Now many targets are easy to figure out. 5:42 If you're writing a cover letter, or excuse 5:44 me, if you're writing a cover letter it's 5:46 going to get read by hiring managers and 5:48 often by the person that you'll be working for. 5:50 So you should make sure you write about details and 5:53 information that they want to know, and that will benefit you. 5:56 Now, certain subjects can be written about in multiple ways. 6:01 And you might have to consider all of them in order to reach your goals. 6:04 And this is where the, the Ford website comes in as a great example. 6:07 Companies that try to sell cars, know that customers 6:11 possess many different needs, when it comes to information. 6:14 Some customers need to see the product to be motivated to learn more. 6:18 And photos and videos work great for them. 6:23 Others require more technical details. 6:26 So make sure that they have access to 6:29 specs, like you see here, and other detailed numbers. 6:30 And still others require financial information. 6:34 Because they're most worried about the money involved with a potential purchase. 6:37 So provide access to financial information, or financing 6:41 terms, like you see here on the Ford site. 6:45 In fact, you can bet that many potential customers are going to 6:48 need a mix of this content, in order to be sufficiently influenced. 6:51 Now one practice that can benefit your writing, especially for 6:56 professional and corporate writing is the creation of user personas. 6:59 User personas, you might have heard about them before. 7:04 They're kind of imaginary characters that represent 7:07 a common type of user on your site. 7:10 But they can also be used to represent the 7:13 ideal reader that you want to reach with your writing. 7:15 One site that can also provide helpful details is 7:20 Quantcast, which provides demographic data, as well as some 7:22 related online interests, which you can see in this 7:26 view, for the users of many different web sites. 7:29 And this is a analysis we did on Ford.com on the Quantcast site. 7:32 And you can see that the audience likes certain types of topics. 7:38 Well with information like this you can create 7:42 personas in mind when you begin your writing process. 7:44 And when you put all these aspects together, the purpose, the 7:49 location, the target, the focus of your writing should become very clear. 7:52 And if you understand the purpose of what you need to write. 7:56 Where it's going to appear, and who you hope to 8:01 influence, you'll have a much better chance of writing effectively. 8:03
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