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How To Write Like a Human - by Claire Dawson

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There’s a lot of angst out there about writing. So, here’s a primer on how to tackle the job of writing when you feel like you just don’t know what to say (or when you feel like you do know what to say, but you have no idea how to say it).

Publié dans : Marketing
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How To Write Like a Human - by Claire Dawson

  1. 1. 2640 Lyndale Ave. South | Minneapolis, Minnesota 55408 | T +1 612 279 1400 | www.zeusjones.com How to Write October 2, 2015
  2. 2. All you have to do is say what you mean. Writing isn’t scary. Image credit: Walking with Dinosaurs 3D
  3. 3. • Know what you want to say. • Be concise. • Be clear. • Edit.
 The Four Rules of Saying What You Mean Image via: http://favim.com/image/122614/
  4. 4. Rule # 1: Know what you want to say
  5. 5. Figure out what you want to say Plan what you’re going to say 
 Key ideas: Image credit: Deviantart user freestarisis
  6. 6. In order to say what you mean, you have to know what you mean. Image credit: Threadless user Elisha Hale
  7. 7. Jumping into writing can sometimes work, especially in long form, but in a short form like a keynote deck, it often causes the story to get muddled and told out of order. Instead, take a minute (or an hour, or a day) to think about what you’re really trying to say. Think first. Image credit: LonelyDinosaur user Sam Smith
  8. 8. Ways to plan Outline Reverse Outline Boring, but classic. Organizing your thoughts into levels of importance helps you understand how evidence, examples, and ideas support your main points. Start at the end and work backward. Once you’ve figured out where you want the deck to end up, work your way through the best outline to lead you there. Visualize Jump In Mind maps or bubble charts can help group ideas together and show the relationships between them, especially if you’re a more visual thinker. Start writing, but be prepared to go back through and destroy 90% of what you’ve created to get to the good stuff. (This is generally what we do at ZJ. It is not, you’ll note, the most efficient method of planning.)
  9. 9. Solution - Belief and purpose o Capitalize on brand history and recognition o Articulate core values - Pursuits o Show values through action o Connect with Gen X and Millennials through shared values Bring the brand back to life History of the brand - 225 mya – Triassic o Birth of the brand - 205-144 mya – Jurassic o The classic dinosaurs – high penetration and brand loyalty - 144-65 mya – Cretaceous o Declines in year-to-year sales, loss of popularity over time o Bottom falls out of the market - Modern era o Novelty brand (95% of market) o Lifestyle brand (5% of market) Problem - Limited audience o Kids are the main demo o Educated/niche adults secondary demo o Gatekeeper moms - Crowded market/competition o Dragons o Pirates o Other charismatic megafauna - What’s missing? o Connection to heritage brand status o Shared values o Actions over image Classic Outline How do we bring an extinct brand back to life? Image credit: Charlotte Vogel, from Noun Project
  10. 10. Reverse Outline Before we discuss the market, we need to evaluate the history of the brand - 225 mya – Triassic o Birth of the brand - 205-144 mya – Jurassic o The classic dinosaurs – high penetration and brand loyalty - 144-65 mya – Cretaceous o Declines in year-to-year sales, loss of popularity over time o Bottom falls out of the market - Modern era o Novelty brand (95% of market) o Lifestyle brand (5% of market) How do we get to that framework for this brand? - Pursuits o Actions resonate with audience o Actions bring core values to life o Shared values drive brand equity – and therefore, sales - Belief and Purpose o Capitalize on brand history o Articulate core values o Fuel pursuits (and make a connection to values) What problems do B&P solve? - No core values - No connections to audience - Limited audience o Kids o Educated adults - Crowded market o Dragons o Pirates o Ninjas o Charismatic megafauna Belief, purpose, and pursuits framework can bring an extinct brand back to life. Image credit: Charlotte Vogel, from Noun Project
  11. 11. Bring an extinct brand back to life. Brand history Problem Solution Triassic Jurassic Creta. Modern era “Lifestyle brand” Crowded market Limited audience Kids Edu. adults NinjasPiratesDragons What’s missing ActionsValuesHeritage Belief and Purpose Values History Pursuits Connect with Millennials and GenX Mind Map Image credit: Charlotte Vogel, from Noun Project
  12. 12. Figure out what you want to say Plan what you’re going to say 
 Key ideas: Image credit: Deviantart user freestarisis
  13. 13. Rule # 2: Be concise
  14. 14. No extra words Cut what you don’t need Short sentences are powerful
 Key ideas: Image credit: Deviantart user Ben Heine
  15. 15. It’s important that you don’t use more words than you absolutely need to. Image credit: Nature of New England
  16. 16. It’s important that you don’t use more words than you absolutely need to. Image credit: Nature of New England
  17. 17. Don’t use more words than you need. Image credit: Sweetsixty via Zazzle
  18. 18. Don’t use more words than you need. Use only the words you need. Image credit: Kelig Le Luron, from Noun Project
  19. 19. Unless you think they’re vital for the audience to understand what you’re trying to communicate, cut words, phrases, and sentences that are padding your text. If you CAN get rid of them, you probably should. When in doubt, cut extra words. Image credit: Nature of New England
  20. 20. Unless you think they’re vital for the audience to understand what you’re trying to communicate, cut words, phrases, and sentences that are padding your text. If you CAN get rid of them, you probably should. When in doubt, cut extra words. Image credit: Sweetsixty via Zazzle
  21. 21. Get rid of anything you can. Cut extra words. Image credit: Kelig Le Luron, from Noun Project
  22. 22. Often, the shorter the sentence, the more powerful it is. Image credit: Nature of New England
  23. 23. Often, the shorter the sentence, the more powerful it is. Image credit: Sweetsixty via Zazzle
  24. 24. Short sentences are powerful. Image credit: Kelig Le Luron, from Noun Project
  25. 25. No extra words Cut what you don’t need Short sentences are powerful
 Key ideas: Image credit: Deviantart user Ben Heine
  26. 26. Rule # 3: Be clear
  27. 27. Simplify Avoid jargon* Don’t invent words** Key ideas: *Unless it serves a clear purpose **Unless you think the client needs to be impressed, and will be by invented words Image credit: Deviantart user Mr. Jack
  28. 28. Sometimes it seems easier to use jargon as shorthand for ideas that you’re sure everyone understands. But you’d better be really sure. In all other cases, reducing complexity makes messages MORE powerful, not LESS.
 Making yourself hard to understand doesn’t help anyone
  29. 29. Utilizing complexity in an attempt to create informational synergies routinely results in your audience’s failure to resonate with your key messages. Image credit: Redbubble user Rebekie Bennington
  30. 30. When you complicate ideas in order to connect them to each other, people don’t understand what you’re saying. Image credit: Redbubble user Lexisketch
  31. 31. Jargon can act as shorthand: When jargon allows people to express complex ideas that everyone understands in a shorter form, it helps. Jargon can recognize client needs: It can also be helpful in reflecting the clients’ own language so they know their priorities have been considered. Jargon has its uses (but they’re few)
  32. 32. Even in these cases, it still might be better to say what you mean clearly, because it helps people remember the real meaning behind the terms they’ve grown accustomed to. In every other case, jargon makes you less clear, and less likely to successfully communicate your message. You still might not need it
  33. 33. T. Rexes and raptors respond to very different RTBs. Acronyms can provide easy shorthand for terms everyone’s clear on. The extra clicks are going to be a big barrier to entry for the saurian demo. Technical terms and phrases with an established meaning can reinforce authority. Our goals for the year are awareness, trial, and conversion. We need to sell more dinos.* Client-prioritized terms can make clients feel recognized. *This one’s debatable. What if it said, “Our goals for the year are for people to know who we are, to try our product, and to become loyal buyers of all dinosaur products,” instead? Helpful use of jargon Image credit: Redbubble userTeo Zirinis
  34. 34. We’ll bucket the learnings from our ideation session. Complexity for no reason is a way to avoid saying what you really mean. Better: We’ll find the themes that connect our best ideas. The experience should be both disruptive and delightful. Buzzwords* make your message harder to understand. Better: The experience should be both innovative and fun. We’ll leverage our assets to create a robust digital experience on our owned properties. Cliches don’t sound impressive; they sound cliched. They also omit detail. Better: We’ll create videos and tools with our partners that will live on our site. *They can be useful for impressing the client, if that’s what needs to be done. But they also run the risk of being outdated, or of the client hating that particular trend or concept. Unhelpful use of jargon Image credit: Redbubble user Nathan Davis
  35. 35. Chances are good we already have a word for what you want to say. Try to find one first.* Then, if you must,** you can invent a new one or change an existing one into another part of speech. *If you can’t find one, ask your resident grammarian. Or the internet. **The odds of this are almost zero. Don’t invent or reinvent words Image credit:Eric J. Bennett
  36. 36. What we say What it means Agree Agree Agree Cover Come back Script Use Request Assigned Built-in Use Head-nod Align Get on the same page Cover off on Circle back Talktrack Leverage Ask Tasked with Baked-in Utilize
  37. 37. LEARNINGS
  38. 38. LEARNINGS
  39. 39. LESSONS
  40. 40. You can use them, but make a decision to do it, and do it for a reason, not because you’re unclear about what you really want to say or because you’re being lazy. Jargon and invented words should be a choice, not a crutch. Image credit:Hugh Murphy, TRexTrying,tumblr.com
  41. 41. Simplify Avoid jargon* Don’t invent words** Key ideas: *Unless it serves a clear purpose **Unless you think the client needs to be impressed, and will be by invented words Image credit: Deviantart user Mr. Jack
  42. 42. Rule # 4: Edit
  43. 43. Restate your points Take a break and come back Read out loud Show someone else Key ideas: Image credit: Deviantart user AlexKonstad
  44. 44. Try to read what you’ve written as though you’ve never read it, and then summarize it for yourself. Does it make sense? Does it say what you’re trying to say? Are the ideas in the right order? Restate your own ideas Image credit: Bill Watterson
  45. 45. When you can’t figure out what you really need to say, step away from what you’re working on and come back later (ideally, at least overnight). You can’t read your own words over and over again and expect to see or understand what’s wrong. This is a good reason to plan ahead so you can avoid doing things at the last minute. There’s a reason all-nighters are a bad idea. Give your work some time Image credit: Redbubble user Teo Zirinis
  46. 46. Reading your work out loud will often help you catch confusing sentences and proofreading mistakes. Read it out loud Image credit:Louis D. Wiyono, www.artoflou.com
  47. 47. Even great writers are only as good as their editors. Someone else’s perspective is the best way to find errors in your writing and make the best possible changes. You don’t have to do everything your editor suggests,* but at least you’ll be aware of more ways to improve your work. *Except for the grammar stuff. Ask for help Image credit: Piper Thibodeau, www.piperthibodeau.com
  48. 48. Restate your points Take a break and come back Read out loud Show someone else Key ideas: Image credit: Deviantart user AlexKonstad
  49. 49. • Know what you want to say. • Be concise. • Be clear. • Edit.
 The Four Rules of Saying What You Mean Image credit: Redbubble user JurassicArt
  50. 50. And, most importantly…
  51. 51. You’re a person, talking to people. Write like it. Be human. Image credit: Deviantart user zillabean
  52. 52. Bonus tips
  53. 53. You are not required to avoid using contractions. It is awkward and makes you sound like you cannot relax. Image credit: Hascora, kwejk.pl
  54. 54. You are not required to avoid using contractions. It is awkward and makes you sound like you cannot relax. Image credit: Hascora, kwejk.pl
  55. 55. You’re not required to avoid using contractions. It’s awkward and makes you sound like you can’t relax. Image credit: Hascora, kwejk.pl
  56. 56. Words in a row do not make a sentence. Image credit: Threadless user DinoMike
  57. 57. What is the most intuitive language we can use to easily navigate consumers through the optimal dinosaur experience? Image credit: Threadless user DinoMike
  58. 58. What is the most intuitive language we can use to easily navigate consumers through the optimal dinosaur experience? Image credit: Threadless user DinoMike
  59. 59. What’s the most intuitive language we can use to help consumers easily navigate the dinosaur experience? Image credit: Threadless user DinoMike
  60. 60. Over the course of the recent redesign, we evolved the dinosaur experience to better support the raptor promotion by making more of the content available, a better support system for individual species information and results as well as ensuring enthusiasts could easily find the page through search and our own navigation. 
 Parallelism is your friend. Image credit: Deviantart user Mr. Jack
  61. 61. See? Over the course of the recent redesign, we evolved the dinosaur experience to better support the raptor promotion by making more of the content available, creating a better support system for individual species information and results, and ensuring enthusiasts could easily find the page through search and our own navigation. 
 Image credit: Deviantart user Mr. Jack
  62. 62. One last thing
  63. 63. Safety first. Always check your contractions. Image credit: Redbubble user thekohakudragon
  64. 64. Your = belongs to you You’re = you are T. rex, your incorrect use of “your” means you’re not communicating well. Their = belongs to them They’re = they are There = location/placeholder When it comes to velociraptors, their impressions of how they’re communicating are neither here nor there. Its = belongs to it It’s = it is It’s not hard to see why grammar has its detractors. Image credit: Threadless user ILOVEDOODLE

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