Beyond the Manual: Writing forWeb, Mobile, and Social Media          Ellen Buttolph    STC Mid-Atlantic Conference        ...
It’s Not Just About the Manual
1. Know Your Users• Why are they visiting your website?• Why are they reading your blog, your Tweets  or your Facebook pos...
Read
Listen
Interview
User Personas“Personas are fictional characters created to represent the different user types within a targeted demographi...
2. Start a Conversation“Good web writing is like a conversation.”                                    Ginny Redish         ...
Direct ConversationWhat is…?                What does it …?                         Can I…?
Implied Conversation• Did you know?
Write Good Conversation•   Take turns with headings.•   Use pronouns like you, us, we.•   Use action verbs.•   Write visua...
3. Show Your PersonalityStop writing boring corporate content.
Voice and Tone• Voice expresses your site’s personality.• Tone reflects the feelings or mood of the  voice.• Voice is cons...
MailChimp Style Guide: http://voiceandtone.com
Define Your Voice•   Ask key questions:   • Who visits your site?   • Why do they visit?   • How do you want them to feel?...
4. Tell a Story
Tell a Story•   Stories engage other people.•   Stories create empathy.•   People remember stories.
5. Write Clearly and Concisely  Make your content easy to understand.
Use Plain Language
Make It Easy to Scan•   Put important information first.•   Write useful headings.•   Use white space.•   Use bullet lists.
Keep It Short•   Write short sentences, 10 to 20 words.•   Keep paragraphs short, less than 100 words.•   Cut unnecessary ...
Use Active Voice• Active voice makes it clear who is doing what.• Put the action in verbs, not nouns.
Keep it Simple
Stop Crafting Perfect Sentences   It’s about sharing information.
What You Can Do Now• Join the conversation.• Start a discussion.• Write a blog.• Create mobile user assistance.• Keep writ...
Resources•   Letting Go of the Words: Writing Web Content that Works, Janice (Ginny)    Redish•   Storytelling for User Ex...
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Beyond the Manual: Writing for the Web, Mobile and Social Media

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Technical writing is no longer just about writing manuals. Technical writers are now using mobile, blogs, Twitter and other social media to reach out to their customers. While the basic principles of technical and web writing are the same, writers need to develop a distinctive voice as they create content for the digital world.

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Beyond the Manual: Writing for the Web, Mobile and Social Media

  1. 1. Beyond the Manual: Writing forWeb, Mobile, and Social Media Ellen Buttolph STC Mid-Atlantic Conference March 2013 Follow me on Twitter: @ebuttolph
  2. 2. It’s Not Just About the Manual
  3. 3. 1. Know Your Users• Why are they visiting your website?• Why are they reading your blog, your Tweets or your Facebook postings?• What are their needs?• How can you learn more about them?
  4. 4. Read
  5. 5. Listen
  6. 6. Interview
  7. 7. User Personas“Personas are fictional characters created to represent the different user types within a targeted demographic, attitude and/or behavior set that might use a site, brand or product in a similar way.” Wikipedia.com http://stcbok.editme.com/PersonaMarciaHouston
  8. 8. 2. Start a Conversation“Good web writing is like a conversation.” Ginny Redish Letting Go of the Words
  9. 9. Direct ConversationWhat is…? What does it …? Can I…?
  10. 10. Implied Conversation• Did you know?
  11. 11. Write Good Conversation• Take turns with headings.• Use pronouns like you, us, we.• Use action verbs.• Write visually with white space and lists.
  12. 12. 3. Show Your PersonalityStop writing boring corporate content.
  13. 13. Voice and Tone• Voice expresses your site’s personality.• Tone reflects the feelings or mood of the voice.• Voice is consistent, while tone can change.
  14. 14. MailChimp Style Guide: http://voiceandtone.com
  15. 15. Define Your Voice• Ask key questions: • Who visits your site? • Why do they visit? • How do you want them to feel?• Create a list of personality traits. • Write sample text.
  16. 16. 4. Tell a Story
  17. 17. Tell a Story• Stories engage other people.• Stories create empathy.• People remember stories.
  18. 18. 5. Write Clearly and Concisely Make your content easy to understand.
  19. 19. Use Plain Language
  20. 20. Make It Easy to Scan• Put important information first.• Write useful headings.• Use white space.• Use bullet lists.
  21. 21. Keep It Short• Write short sentences, 10 to 20 words.• Keep paragraphs short, less than 100 words.• Cut unnecessary words.• Use short, common words
  22. 22. Use Active Voice• Active voice makes it clear who is doing what.• Put the action in verbs, not nouns.
  23. 23. Keep it Simple
  24. 24. Stop Crafting Perfect Sentences It’s about sharing information.
  25. 25. What You Can Do Now• Join the conversation.• Start a discussion.• Write a blog.• Create mobile user assistance.• Keep writing.
  26. 26. Resources• Letting Go of the Words: Writing Web Content that Works, Janice (Ginny) Redish• Storytelling for User Experience: Crafting Stories for Better Design, Whitney Quesenbery and Kevin Brooks• The Yahoo Style Guide, Chris Barr and the Senior Editors of Yahoo• Conversation and Community: The Social Web for Documentation, Anne Gentle• VoiceandTone.com, MailChimp Style Guide• CenterforPlainLanguage.org• PlainLanguage.gov

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