Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Screaming Through Glass - What Content Writers Need Before They Start Writing

Look what I ferreted out! (Hey, I said it would be something ferrety today.)

Cooking up Web Content, at the WebDev Buzz

The article focuses on how to come up with ideas for content. A quick, simple read, it does a good job at giving a quick snapshot of what happens before a web content writer (such as myself) puts fingers to keyboard on his latest project.

However, there's a secondary power in its words: it warns of the problem of Not-Enough-Market-Consideration-itis. The author (whom I'm sad to say is not named, as he/she's a fine writer who deserves credit):


  • Gives a good idea of the many audience considerations content writers must take into account, like expectations and potential secondary markets.

  • Showcases a brainstorming/researching process that is absolutely critical to the success of ANY website project.

  • Identifies media functions that can enhance a site's usability and give more reasons for a dedicated readership to grow, like chat rooms and forums.


Know who the audience is, what they want, and how best to give it to them. Sensible. Reasonable. The only logical beginning to any successful website, right?

Wrong.

I'd say least half of the people I've spoken with in the last year (who did NOT become clients) had no idea about what their audience wanted. I'm too often subjected to speeches or sites that don't consider such crucial bits as target market segments, intended focus, or plans for updates.

At the risk of overdoing the cliche, if I worked with these companies, I'd have to ferret out things about a company's target market that the company should have figured out when it first started.

Before a word of content is written, the writer has to know as much about his audience as he can. Otherwise, it's like trying to talk to someone through a thick glass pane. You might get a few words understood if you shout loud enough, but the person on the other side is going to get madder the more you try and fail to make them understand you.

While the linked article is definitely a handy way to visualize the brainstorming process, the cautionary tale hidden beneath it needs to be told over and over.

Be aware of who your audience is and what they want.

Especially on the Web. There's no excuse for ignoring their needs & wants, thinking your product is so great they'll all see it in a shining light and flock to your shopping cart.

Hmmmm. That sounds a bit rant-y to me. Oh well, a little venting's healthy. Might help some of you out, too. I'll end with a quote from the article.

"This is why writing web content and copy should be carefully and patiently planned and organized. There really is no room for sloppy work."

I couldn't agree more.


**********
P.S. - In the spirit of ferreting things out for yourself, I have added a series of links to my menu on the right. These include blogs of copywriters and marketers whose work I admire...and the only other ferret-y site I've found in business so far. Click. Read. Enjoy!

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2 Comments:

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