Teamwork: Communicating with Writers
The written word is a key component to an overall project outcome. After all, how can one understand a concept clearly without a concise explanation of process, branding, operation or appeal? Communication is imperative in not only the final product, but in the creation process. How do you relay the proper information from an internal standpoint to make an external point, and whose input is necessary in between?
Creating open lines of communication within a team environment is absolutely essential.
Project Managers Know All
The flow of communication between the project lead and writer is of utmost importance. Clarity on direction, concept and expectations are all key components. Project managers need to be organized, detail oriented, easy to communicate with and, above all, patient. The all-important creative brief/project description or requirements document is the PM’s kick off to such communications, and should be looked at as the baseline for the project, which can easily be referred back to to ensure everything’s consistent and on track.
Defining the overall direction is key, along with reference points and brand expectations.
Demystifying Engineers & Developers
The brilliant minds that actually create the physical elements that go into a project are great resources, but they often think in very technical terms. A good writer should be able to draw information out of these creators in a way that helps convey not only their technical process, but the heart and soul behind the design.
While not always an easy feat, its important that developers and engineers offer an open line, and help their writer boil down technical elements into something understandable and engaging for the average person.
Conveying technical concepts to non-technical people
A Variety of Brand Platforms
Words are delivered in many forms, from video and telephone scripts to marketing and brand assets and sales materials. Being able to form words to be relatable on multiple platforms is not as across-board as one would assume. Conversational tone, fluency, brevity and clarity all factor in. Brand language sewn throughout materials, written or oral, has to have a broad appeal while at the same time taking the delivery into account. Working together with different departments and key players to identifying these platforms from the very beginning, and pinpointing the style of each type of communication, is vital.
Using the right style and tone for each platform
Tips for Communicating with Writers
Here's what you can do to work as a team with your tech writers. Find out:
What they need from you
How the info will be used - blog, video, website, help, marketing materials, internal project documents (requirements or specifications), presentation materials for execs and stakeholders
Who their target audience is (technical or non-technical people)
If their audience is non-technical, you would help greatly if you could translate your information into concepts, examples or metaphors that your grand mother would understand. (Assuming, your granny isn't a techie).
What their deadline is
If you don't have time, see if they can meet you for coffee or lunch so you can multi-task eating with information sharing. Be kind, they have goals and deadlines too.
Remember: A good writer will help make you look good