Writing, essential for communicators

Who says communication says writing! 🖋 Writing is at the heart of our business, that's why the team We Are COM went to find Mathilde Aubinaud. This true pen, also author, teacher and communicator shares with us her insights in the matter. In addition to the fundamentals, such as grammar and spelling, what are the best practices to implement to arouse both interest and curiosity on the part of our public ? ???? Follow us in this literary interview: Once upon a time a workshop of Club We Are COM devoted to writing ...

First and foremost, the fundamentals of writing

At first glance, writing may seem simple. However, it is not enough to master the language to be able to communicate successfully. Writing requires real technical skills and takes practice. Before getting started, it is essential to ask yourself what you have to say. Your contents text be the bearer of intrinsic value? 🤔 What will this bring to your audience ? To do this, you need to document very seriously about your audiences. Gary Halbert, American copywriter and author, likes to talk about the "shoebox technique". (I.e. The principle consists of sorting and storing the information collected on your receivers in "boxes". Carrying out this thematic file work upstream allows you to keep in mind the expectations of your recipients. 

Once your strategy initial well-defined, then the editorial process can be put in place. Once again, it is necessary to question yourself. Readers' attention rests on 5 natural laws of proximity. ✅ Also the attractiveness of a message depends on these.

  1. Geographic proximity : we are more affected by what is happening at home, which the local press understood.
  2. Temporal proximity: fresh news is the vector of more interest. We find this in the daily press. 
  3. Affective closeness: it is essential to fascinate your readers. This is the very foundation of the tabloid press or people.
  4. Practical proximity: above all, we value practicality and simplicity. This is why we peck the news in the free news press.
  5. Utility proximity: the concrete turns out to be more attractive than the abstract. This is how the service and leisure press developed.

When you have managed to precisely identify your audiences, their expectations and you have these 5 laws of proximity in mind, then content production can begin. It is above all capital to define its structure, the course of your remarks. For it, the simplest is to obey the concept of the inverted pyramid, which advocates a gradual descent from the most general to the most specific. ❓ Indeed, starting from the essential, and responding successively to the famous 5W (who? When? Where? What? Why?), You must progressively tend towards more and more characteristic and detailed content. 

And as in writing it seems that we like pentagonal systems, here are the 5 golden rules of a successful expression ???? :

  1. Have a clear expression! Never forget the rule "subject + verb + complement", while not omitting the linking words.
  2. Follow a strict line of conduct, which will prevent you from getting lost in your prose. 
  3. Structure your words : each paragraph must state an idea, just one. If necessary, develop a detailed plan.
  4. Organize your text so as to highlight a progression, a development. It is important to always go from point A to point B.
  5. Detach your fundamental thesis, the strong idea of ​​your content. It must be both visible and proven. Do not hesitate, for this, to accompany it with reinforcements (examples, quotes, key figures, etc.), which will support your speech.

???? Expert advice

👌 Mathilde, what are the right questions to ask yourself for a flawless editorial line? 

It is necessary to always question yourself in communication. 

For who ?

The secret of writing lies above all in a perfect knowledge of the audience. You need to define "persona" according to the recipients of your communication. Who are they, a particular audience or a multitude of stakeholders? Where are they ? When do they connect? What are they looking for ? What is their level of understanding? What is the key to their research? What can you offer them “in addition”?

In communication, the receiver is the key issue. Socio-demographic criteria are far from sufficient. You have to be extremely attentive to his desires, his needs, his centers of interest, his pains. For this, nothing better than studies and surveys to discover its targets and their expectations. Depending on the level of knowledge of the subjects, it is essential to adapt your speech. Finally, if the topic treated is not obvious in relation to the target audience, leave aside the technical jargon, acronyms, etc. 

Why ?

Once the recipient has been carefully identified, the question turns to your intentions. Why, indeed, transmit such or such information? A main objective clearly defined upstream represents a real gain in time and quality : it will prevent you from any unnecessary rambling. 

What?

Finally, comes a questioning of the content, strictly speaking. What is the theme of your writing? What is the main idea to convey? And above all, what should your readers take away? The trick, in order to see more clearly, is to draw up a summary in a few lines. Again, this will allow your editorial slant to remain coherent and meaningful. 

(I.e. What about the channels? What are the best practices depending on the communication media used? 

Any speech must adapt to its average, and vice versa. A common editorial line can be developed. However, a content must above all be adapted to its broadcast medium, media acclaimed by the target. For this, it is necessary - in addition to keeping an assiduous watch on the supports and their evolutions - to remain attentive to your previous publications. Continuity is a guarantee of understanding and quality for the reader. Your content is a regular illustration of a unique identity, or even of a vision. So what to focus on? The thematic, the angle and the tone. Each hearing has a specific expectation and should not be missed. 

Best practices in web writing

In the very specific writing that the writing represents website, keep in mind that reading is never done in a linear fashion. It is above all hypertextual. It's the magic of serendipity, depending on the vagaries of your research, you land on such and such website. However, this is not the result of pure chance, but of the linking of sites to sites; from web pages to web pages. So redouble your vigilance on the co-text and the reception it could have with your audiences. The connections, whether internal or external, are a plus for your notoriety and your SEO. Don't neglect them anymore!

More and more, reading is done on smartphones, sometimes even without sound ... take these possibilities into account, and always test your content on the various reception channels. SEO approach is essential because your first reader is the Google robot.

As for the content, be explicit in order to optimize audience understanding. However, be careful not to plagiarize: to offer high added value, your content must be unique. For unequivocal content, illustrate your words with useful and concrete examples. Quotes and key figures are real assets, both in understanding and in SEO. 

Ban long sentences, dating, acronyms, jargons, convoluted style effects, puns, exclamations ... Keep it simple and clear. Finally, it is important to grease the essential elements, but remember, that underlining is to be banished from your habits (it could be mistaken for a hyperlink).

In web writing, keep in mind the reading in F of Internet users : their gaze most often sweeps the content by following this zoning. 

Best practices for writing a newsletter

La newsletter is a must for many communicators. However, not all are experienced in its development. Like web writing, newsletter writing is very specific, requiring very specific techniques.

This content has the particularity of being periodic. It is therefore essential to create a real meeting with your reader. The regularity of the sending is essential, the editorial structure must be recurrent, and the rubric meticulous. Do not hesitate to spice it up by slipping sections a little lighter: quote, key figure, offbeat portrait…. Adopt the style that suits you and stick with it.  

Ideally, the information should be prioritized from top to bottom, going from the most significant to the most secondary. Be sure to work well on your titles and your catchphrases: they are the guarantors of this pyramid structure necessary for understanding. 

The subject of your email is not to be neglected either: it must set you apart from your competitors, other emails and of course allow you a good the opening rate. The trick is to use an incentive, even enigmatic, object and modify it to refer to the newsletter to non-openers. Finally, play on the formats : texts, videos, gif… the monotony is not a source of interest. 

Good practices in print writing

Choose a suitable print format: mooc, magazine, book, publishing work ... all co-branded or not with a medium. GKeep in mind that your readers expect a unique user experience, a way to customize the medium as they wish: corner the page, highlight it, etc. The paper medium is called upon to last over time, so it is important to appropriate this object. Finally, it is essential to transform the chosen format into a place of the imagination and the identity of your company. A prospective customers or a special edition intended for your employees, are all opportunities to organize the operation. 

Best practices in text layout

Once again, put yourself in your readers' shoes, under the same terms of use. It is indeed important to create visual cues: titles, paragraphs, greased words, colors ... all while remaining obviously consistent. And always remember that airy workouts are popular. If you can, incorporate quotes, visuals, video clips, anything that will keep people reading. Finally, do not forget the conclusion since it constitutes a necessary outcome. The top? Drag an opening sentence to other content. 

Good illustration practices 

Because textual content isn't everything, take care of your illustrations. Your prose must be illustrated in an original way. Image banks are multiplying, enjoy it! At the time of digitalHowever, beware of the high definition and the size of the file (endless downloads push your readers to look elsewhere, just like the Google robot). 

If you have visuals that speak volumes, don't keep them to yourself! They are extremely appreciated, as long as they are titled, explained (if necessary) and sourced. Mentioning an illustration can enhance your SEO. 

🔎 Do you have any infallible tips to arouse interest and curiosity in a very competitive world? 

Here are my 5 tips to make your content perform: 

  1. The title : it's the gateway to your content. It should be both informative and inspiring. In other words, the reader must instantly understand what it is, while feeling a kind of collusion that will push him to click. He must be the creator of promise and event. A good title is a title that we remember. 
  2. The hook: it is in a way the airlock. The reader has clicked, of course, but he can very quickly turn back if you cannot call him or surprise him. Key figure, quote, reference to popular culture… The choice is yours.
  3. Figures of speech: they create sound or image effects and will bring density to your words: substitution, analogy, amplification, construction, preterition, etc. L'interactivity is for communication. By mobilizing emotions, you generate empathy. 
  4. The choice of the word: watch out for repetitions! The choice of a word must be done as accurately as possible. Look for synonyms, come back to etymology, define your lexical fields and above all don't skimp on adjectives because they are there to clarify your thinking. 
  5. The spelling: it's not always a pleasant thing, but read it again. Careless mistakes happen so quickly and discredit your words. Also, do not hesitate to have people who are familiar and foreign to you read about you. 

💡 Do you have concrete tips to optimize our pen?

I share with you three techniques that I recommend to anyone who wants to progress in their writing. It is neither in vain nor time-consuming: 

  1. Reading : first and foremost, my advice to any aspiring editor is to read! Always read and read everything. In addition to opening yourself up to the world and acquiring more knowledge about it, reading allows you to build up a fabulous vocabulary, to broaden your lexical fields, to enrich your style and above all to progress in spelling.
  2. Writing : reading is not always enough to optimize your pen. The trick is to start by writing short texts. Write a few lines on a hot topic, a movie, an event, a passion… whatever. And resume your prose on a regular basis, constantly asking yourself which word you would change, which sentence you would rephrase. 
  3. The structure : To maintain a clear editorial line and therefore optimized content, it can be very useful to use a reminder. I usually advise writing down the questions mentioned above, on the audience, the key message, the progress of the plan ... This sheet, always keep it near you, it will guarantee you a flawless structure. 

💻 What are the best practices for expression on the web and social networks (familiarity, inclusive writing)?

These are questions that remain. Once again, you have to ask yourself the question of who your recipients are and what they expect from you. Anything is possible as long as it is based on duly conducted documentation. 

  1. Tutelage: study readership, while also remaining attentive to the sender and the message. Is the reader a business leader, a public service, a "young person"? How does he wish to be viewed by the issuer? Does the brand that you embody hold a posture of institutional authority or an affinity link with its target? Is your content official or is it more about hobbies? It is therefore important to find the right balance, by constantly questioning yourself. On the Social networks, it is now customary to call out Internet users by their first name, especially when following the “@”, but be careful not to show too much familiarity. 
  2. Inclusive writing: this is a matter of debate. Responses were provided for administrative and institutional frameworks. As far as the communication sector is concerned, once again you must ask yourself these essential questions: by whom, for whom and why? We must take into account the issues behind the practices of inclusive writing, and pay all the more attention to the position that they may induce. The editorial charter remains the best way to fix things. 

Thank you Mathilde and thank you for reading the writing. The We Are COM team hopes that the writing has no more secrets for you. 💪 A little summary anti-dry for the road? 

We summarize !

Let's watch and watch our recipient, always keeping the proximity plan in mind. 👀 The tools of rhetoric are major assets when we manage to wield them brilliantly, and for that nothing beats a good practice. Finally, as in any communication campaign, let's not get lost: let's keep the tone that shapes the identity of our brands. 🎯



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