Nicely said is nicely written!

With the internet ruling this century, writers wonder how to write for the web, more than about how to write, per se. What follows this is the difficulty in judging the quality of the work and the numerous rounds of revisions that are inevitable.

My English teacher once advised that the best way to judge your own writing is to read it with a fresh pair of eyes, after a while. She would also insist that we covered details in such a way that even our 90 year old grandmother would be able to understand what the idea is. This is pretty much what the authors of ‘Nicely Said’ have conveyed too.

Nicely said — Cover

Nicely said’ is a book written by Nicole Fenton and Kate Kiefer Lee. This book helps marketers to write content appropriate for their audience. The book is well-structured and covers the process of writing from laying out the plan, choosing the right tone and words, until revising the piece.

In this book, the authors have devised a simple four-fold process that asks the writer to:

  1. Research
  2. Clarify
  3. Write
  4. Refine
Four fold procedure to write
  1. Research is about conducting a study at various levels — the market, the customers, the issues that the product tries to address and identifying what makes the product stand out from the rest. This predominantly involves understanding the needs of the audience, their demography, psychology and how they will be able to connect with our product, as customers. This is followed by analysing what sort of issues the product will be able to address and how much percentage of the consumer requirement can be satisfied by the product. This step requires networking with people, reaching out to trusted friends who can give honest feedback about the product, checking out what the competitors do and where the brand positions itself in the niche. Depending on this study, the marketer should decide on the kind of content that would be required. For instance, a regular customer would like to receive newsletters, where as a new customer would prefer getting acquainted with the brand. In essence, research is deciding the how, where, when, and why of the campaign.
  2. Clarifying is the process where the business owner and the bunch of marketers understand what their goal is. Goals can be of various types- beginning from brand reach, reaching a target audience number, getting milestone conversion numbers to achieving revenue targets and so on. In clarifying the thoughts, the marketer also gets to understand the different types of content he/she needs to generate to communicate with the audience, and decides on the tone of the brand and the overall message it needs to convey. Each kind of communication — viz interface message, interpersonal message (comments, newsletters), editorial message (blogs, articles), legal message (terms and conditions), support message, marketing message, needs a tone for itself. Some need to be directly addressed and some should be softened to a passive tone. In this step, the marketer also puts all of the content together as a design, for different interfaces.
  3. Writing requires picking up the right tone to match the ethnicity and demography of the audience. It needs an empathising tone, honesty, clarity and straightforwardness to establish the right connect with the audience. The language should be simple and scannable. More than anything else, the text should directly speak to the audience in the most natural tone possible.
  4. Refining is about going through the content again, taking constructive criticism and fixing flaws. It also involves laying out best practices for the rest of the organization to follow so that the message, tone and style of the brand across platforms is consistent.

These 4 steps not only help you put up the most beautiful facade in front of the audience, but also help you make your product better.

Overall, nicely said is nicely written!



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