The Benefits Of Paired Content Writing

The Benefits Of Paired Content Writing

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Does your web content appeal to users? Does your content generate any feedback? Quite often we can be so thought focused that we fail to ask our audience whether we are producing good content.

Every day, copywriters, clients and editors publish content without much input from their stakeholders. This process can often be a waste of time. Wikipedia proves that using the web for collaboration enables people to create valuable content and it speeds the process up. We all know that content is an essential part of a website’s user experience. Without it, there’s nothing for users to consume.

Working In Pairs

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One way to create high quality content, is working in pairs.

It’s proven. Agile software development introduced the concept of “pair programming” and work environments have never been the same. In pair programming, one of the programmers (the driver) writes the code while the other (the observer) reviews each line of code in real-time as it’s written (like a real-time debugger). Pair programming improves the knowledge of the team, the quality of the code and the overall delivery time.

So, why not use an agile approach to develop content? A pair-oriented, exploratory, collaborative approach is extremely valuable for crafting content, too. Some benefits of using this method includes:

  • The team thinks before publishing.
  • It forces authors and editors to stay focused.
  • It helps colleagues form a mutual understanding of their content.
  • It results in a more uniform tone.
  • It allows authors to share best practices in regards to writing for the web.

5 Steps To Ensure Effective Paired Content Writing

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Step 1: Analyse Your Content

Make sure you know what content you’ll want to work on – for example a product page, a news article, or customer service content. Focus your efforts on content that is visited often and that you want to improve.

Secondly, do your research. Use Google Analytics and Crazy Egg to understand how user are engaging with your most successful content and why that content is successful.

Step 2: Hold A Content Workshop

Gather all the people who need to feed into the process: product owners, marketers and any other stakeholders. Remind them that this is a collaborative process, and that nothing major is expected of any individual. Try and capture what stakeholders want to portray from this particular content.

Step 3: Work As A Pair

At Cancer Research UK, this takes place after the content workshop. The content workshop is used to capture the goals and content elements that should be present on the page and content pairing happens where a stakeholder comes to your desk and you write the content together.

The main writer (the driver) is the editor and digital person. This will ensure that user and business goals are continually referenced. Meanwhile, the stakeholder and other person plays the role of the “antagonist” (the observer). As the writer writes, the antagonist should ask critical questions like:

  • What is the text meant to solve for the end-user?
  • Is this the best angle?
  • Is the most important content at the top?
  • Who is the target audience?
  • What do you mean by this?

Step 4: Allow The Stakeholder To Be The Writer

Different people, be they product owners, marketers or advertisers will look at the same page differently and have a wide variety of input. This makes switching roles both fun and instructive.

Step 5: Demo Your Work

Once you as the digital writer and they as the stakeholder writer are happy with the content produced, you should demo to the stakeholders from the original workshop. Usually because there have been two people from different sides of the business involved, there is less push back and more happy faces.

Overall, paired writing helps tackle human error and is great to see the reaction of your partner so that you can interpret whether your users will understand it. It’s faster and effective way of producing content.

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About Christina Latham

Christina is currently a key part of Cancer Research UK's Digital Production team. She also writes for allmygoodness.com and London newspaper; Fitzrovia News. Previously, she worked in Digital Advertising and Marketing for London agencies and as a Journalist for Bader TV News and Cultural Diplomacy News in Berlin.
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