Articulate The Assumed

Anything that is born is history. And, what else can speak better than a museum about history. I admire the rich culture of museums that thrives in the west.

I was in awe with the detail and choice of material on display at The Ellis National Museum of Immigration [2], New York. Despite being a lot more recent than many other events in India, the storyboard of the immigration process and movement was captivating.

The museum curators told a story about each era and each object. I had never experienced similar attention to detail in many other Indian museums. Their choice to bring those details to the spectator’s notice meant to me that they wanted to ‘articulate the assumed’. This was not the only instance. I also experienced this at The 9/11 Memorial Museum in New York, and the art museums in Boston and San Francisco.

And, some of my Indian friends who visited museums in Europe also witnessed the same.

So, here I learnt the hybrid form of communication to articulate the assumed messages. Speak about the assumed while self-introduction as well as when you spread the word.

You must be wondering what happens to those messages hidden in Indian history. I will talk about it in some time, right below.

How to Connect With Your Customer’s Heart?

In the world of content, articulating the assumed applies to the website — the self-introduction of your brand. It also applies to PR, social media, and ads which relates to ‘spreading the word’.

Read out this short dialogue between a founder and his friend.

“Why does your website copy not convey the message that you just spoke? Your description and voice has more passion in it than what is said on any of these pages.” asked the new visitor, the founder’s friend, who was willing to provide feedback to a new SaaS company.

The founder said, “I assumed they (customers) would understand it (the message) because that’s what they are looking for.”

This conversation conveys something very powerful to those businesses who are trying to fix their communication. Despite bad grammar some websites gain traffic, but some with the most high-definition images lack the traction — “Why?”

Simply because those who crave for the customer’s mindshare do not leave any fact about the brand to the mercy of assumptions. Articulating every bit of important information in the form of a story helps connect to the customer’s heart.

So, what should the self-introduction include?

  • A one-liner description about yourself that is positioned well.
  • Any credibility or validation to the description.
  • The core value proposition.
  • Solutions that you could offer to the problems that your audience is facing.
  • What should the audience expect from you?
  • Your availability.
  • And your invitation. Marketers call this CTA – Call to Action 🙂

These are very obvious aspects about your introduction, but are often lost in the urgency to deliver too much.

Spreading the word about an idea or concept is equally not obvious. Just because you mentioned once does not mean the meaning is kept intact each time you repeat yourself. Each time, your audience is different.

This is how Indian history is articulated.

Indian history is left to the assumed. And, this is where grapevine helps. Yes, owning parts of a grapevine network always helps in filling the dents and potholes of diluted messaging.

Though, India has the heritage and culture that dates back to about 500,000 years ago and is considered the cradle of civilization [1], there little proof to boast about it. That is because the articulated is lost due to invasion and geographic metamorphosis, and little is left to the museum.

Now, the articulated is among the assumed culture of stories, fables, and folklore. To keep them intact you need a trusted authority. I mean it. You need to trust that person and she should also be an authority in that field of affairs, who could be further trusted by your audience. Analogous to the head of the large Indian family is the safekeeper of the Indian history. None, but an influencer in the marketing context.

They fix the holes and fill the dents. That is how you articulate the assumed.

If you share a similar story of how had to articulate the assumed, please do share in the comments section below.

References

[1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_India

[2] https://libertyellisfoundation.org/immigration-museum

Do Content Writers really enjoy a great Work-Life Balance?

Most articles around content writers that project a six-figure monthly income, multiple vacations during a year, a lot of free time, unimaginable family time are very enticing. They are not completely true. To be among the top and shine as the most sought after, you need to work your ass off.

From my previous article … Wake up at 5.30 am. Run through a few quick stretches, breathing exercises. Slide into the kitchen, grab ingredients from the refrigerator to cook food for your kids and husband. They need to step out of the house by 8.00 am. Grab your book so that you reach your daily reading target. Somehow find 30 minutes before everyone wakes up. Be ready to wish ‘good morning’ to your toddler or children so that you ensure they have a wonderful day ahead.

After ‘Good Morning’ …

Sing along as you give them a bath and dress them up. Oh! By the way, if it is India, also multi-task with your domestic helper. Supervise their work, ensure all dishes are washed, every corner of the house is cleaned, and other work is extracted out of them; so that you don’t have to do it later.

You have almost forgotten the tea you made for yourself. It’s cold now. So, you just gulp it. Half of your sanity is lost by now. But, you have to begin your work day with a client call, who would like to share some iterations to the draft you thought was perfect.

The call is scheduled for 30 minutes, but extends to another 30 minutes, pushing the rest of your day into a roller-coaster ride. Despite sending 6 reminders, you still have a client who is unwilling to share feedback or inputs. You send out the seventh reminder, drafted in a poised and polite tone. You have another client yet to process your last month’s invoice.

You have to complete research for two case studies which involves reading twenty different sources or more! You also have to complete the second iteration for another three drafts. While that sounds tiring, you are excited to close a new client, today. In the meantime, you realize that you need to complete content for two other web pages.

While you somehow manage to complete all this miraculously, including your lunch. You have to be ready by 3.00 pm to ensure that you are five minutes ahead at the school gate or at the bus stop to receive your kids with a smile. You pep them up, hear out their challenging day. Help them with homework and after-school classes, either cook dinner or be a supervise your cook to accommodate different tastes.

You give your children a bath, serve dinner to your family, and tuck them away in bed. You just realize you need to give those last few touches to your kid’s pending project.

And then, you are ready to close the kitchen and sit at your work desk to pen down your top priorities. Just then, an email pops up from your client. It is about a new announcement to be made to the media. This should be submitted in two days. You priority list reshuffles.

One document is still open with the cursor blinking at you. It reminds you that you still have 400 words to close the draft. You sketch some diagrams and flows so that you don’t forget those brilliant ideas.

With a sigh of relief you sleep in bed. But then, you also remember that you have a personal target to write two pages for the book you dream to publish. You quickly scribble your thoughts and hit the bed. On few days, your eye shuts at 10.30 pm and on few days they gaze at the sky with the dark roof in between and you sleep by 1.30 am of the next day!

Yes, it can get this crazy.

If this has scared you enough, take a look at the exciting content development process here.

What Really Goes Behind the Content Writing Process?

Wake up at 5.30 am. Run through a few quick stretches, breathing exercises. Slide into the kitchen, grab some ingredients from the refrigerator to cook food for your kids and husband. They need to step out of the house by 8.00 am. So, your clock starts ticking soon. Grab your book so that you reach your daily reading target. Somehow find 30 minutes before everyone wakes up to meet your reading goal for the day. Be ready to wish ‘good morning’ to your children so that you ensure they have a wonderful day ahead.

I will stop here.

If you really want to know what happens to this content writer, read the story in the next episode of this article. But let me tell you, it is not different from the life of any other professional. If writing is just another gig, then you can flex and have a lot of time in your arsenal. But, professional content writing is really not like how it seems.

Calling myself a freelancer invites looks and responses that mean, “Oh! You have a lot of time on your plate. You get to do what you want to. You get to go on more number of holidays than us. You are having a ball of a time each day. Your job is easy because anybody can write.”

My answer, “Really, then why don’t you try it yourself.” When someone actually tries they hibernate into an empty synapse zone which is called a ‘the writer’s block’. The result of which is to hire a professional writer. While many look for help from professional writers out of frustration, there is little information about how exactly the content process works.

I have had some clients who just drop a topic and ask me to write 1000 words about it. The topic often looks like this ‘write about chatbots for retail industry’ or ‘innovative ways of reducing costs of your martech business’. While they seem like good topics to write about, the writer is not furnished with anything else apart from this information.

“Like, really !!!” Each topic can take its own course. When you google these topics you will find at least ten different articles with a different scope on the first page of search results, followed by a few other hundreds of perspectives.

Just the topic is not enough for someone to write a compelling article that will convert readers into customers. Sadly, such topics are created with a lack of a decent goal or objective in mind. As much as, marketers need matured and professional writers, awesome writers equally need matured marketers too.

I will hold off my tantrums here and dive right into the content process.

So, how does the content process look like?

Top 3 phases of Content Process

From 30,000 feet high, it looks like this.

Content Process and its three phases
Three phases of Content Process

It also includes Content management, distribution, and measurement. So, here is the answer to what each phase mentioned above consists of.

Content Strategy

  • User Personas User Journey
  • Define Content Types
  • Audience Strategy
  • Positioning Statement
  • Empathy and Experience Maps
  • Build Your Story
  • Content Audit
  • UX Writing Flow
  • Content Mix
  • Content Distribution Mix
  • Budgets & Costing

Content Marketing & Management

Most of this deals with practical and realistic planning and finding resources to execute the content strategy. You have to include the 4Ps of marketing. The product equates to the content piece. Place is about where you publish your content: owned, shared, vs paid media. Promotion is where and how you intend to distribute the content. Price is often the CTA combined with the consideration you are seeking: an email ID, reader’s information and preferences, and so on.

  • Content Goals and Targets
  • Keyword lists
  • Content Calendars
  • Website Revisions and Updates
  • Paid vs Organic mix
  • Distribution Plans
  • Content objectives
  • Call-to-actions

Content Production

This phase of the process is where writers and designers are in full form. It involves editing, writing, and designing.

  • Asset creation: content writing and illustration
  • Article outlines
  • Graphic outlines
  • Reference and research links and sources
  • Editing

After, production and publishing, you will get down to measurement and analysis.

Many people are involved in bringing out a masterpiece that tells the story of a business. For the benefit of time, I am going to focus on three crucial roles imperative in a lean content production process.  

Meaning and Scope of Each Phase

Content Strategy answers ‘why a content piece is being created?’

Content Marketing is all about discovering the channels and media to be used to distribute your content piece. For instance, here are some of the channels that are a must for me to distribute content published on www.nischalagnihotri.com

Content Production includes the following steps:

  • Use the topic to generate article outline
  • Create questions that become sections to an article
  • Each question is one segment of the article
  • Google each question to find answers
  • Have the keyword list by your side.
  • Research each question upto atleast 4 to 5 layers until all your questions are answered. By this time you would have a skeleton of a story in mind.
  • Best articles are created when the writer gains command over two aspects – experience and empathy that comes out of it. Read enough until you have an empathetic sense of the experience that your audience will go through.
  • Have a vocabulary list that meets the language standards of that audience
  • Mix them up and start writing.
  • Edit grammar, wordiness, and facts.
  • Read one last time. Push it out to for feedback and inputs.

I have also added a guide here that explains the content development process.