IDW Session: Theory and Practice in Creating Effective Content

How to Make Your Content Findable, Readable, Understandable, Actionable and Shareable

Presenter: Ahava Leibtag, President & Owner, Aha Media Group, LLC

iDW-summary-effective-contentAhava Leibtag balanced information and theory with detail and real world examples in this full-day session on creating effective content. She explored a wealth of content strategy information and dove enough into the details to give the attendees a solid understanding of the topic, and some key resources to find more information.

Ahava she runs a tight ship, starting on the minute, taking short breaks, and ending on time. All of which were absolutely essential—the content available in this workshop comes at you fast and furious. In fact, there’s enough here to make a two-day workshop, one devoted to strategy and planning, and one devoted to the practical tasks of creating effective content.

A common theme throughout the day, and what became a theme throughout IDW, centered on developing quality content and getting it to your users at the right time, in the right format.  Ahava firmly believes in brand strategy and having that strategy drive your content.

This workshop had it all, including many pauses to do activities from the workbook provided.  As any good teacher knows, you can teach a topic, but if your students can’t actually perform the task, they haven’t learned the information.  So we had many chances to stop and do a task (either alone or with a group) to immediately put the skills we were learning into practice. The result? At the end of the day we created a persona for our target user, named web pages, and developed meta tags and meta data for SEO (search engine optimization).

We dug deep into SEO and looked at a variety of free tools to use – Google Analytics, Google Webmaster, Google Trends… notice a trend here? Google reigns supreme in this field and we  spent time on each tool with real-world examples of searching for trending topics to get to those all important meta tags and meta data.

The second half of the day focused on writing content for the web, which Ahava defined as writing for anything with a screen. She imposes strict writing guidelines in her method:

  • Two sentences per paragraph, that’s all you get!
  • Chunk your text and use bullets.
  • Remember that your readers are consuming this data on a screen.

These guidelines get the writer to findable, readable, understandable, actionable and shareable.

Ahava reminded us that the rules are different for print publications, the traditional forte of the tech writers in the room, and even some of the marketing writers. But with a day focused on web content–strategy and application, the participants happily left those print rules behind for awhile to focus on being effective for the web.

Emily Alfson

Emily is Technical Writer and Knowledge Manager at MOTOR Information Systems in Troy, MI. Outside the confines of her cubicle, you will find her in a Bikram hot yoga studio or enjoying the 3,126 miles of beautiful Great Lakes shoreline in Michigan.

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