Documents as Objects
Shifting from writing paper documents to digital media is the subject of this third series Writing for the Web. Writing well is not only about words anymore but has become more about structure. Once hundreds of files or documents are created we need to give an assist to our viewers so they can:
- Glean the messages we are sending and
- Find what information they are looking for
- Achieve success almost immediately
When creating a tournament or game for your Chapter:
- Write an article for the newsletter AND Website
- Use the announcement feature
- Use the site registration description area
- Use the glossary and links for detailed descriptions of the rules of the game (add this if it is not available)
- Don’t stray off with extraneous details in your article that loses readership
As authors we need to see our writing as distinct pieces or objects that can be reused and referred to
on multiple parts of our site. In our Blogs section we have the ability to create conversations by adding comments, ratings, or relevant links to the article. In doing so we add greater value through these linked objects.
Gradually the idea of an article is being decomposed into smaller parts containing other objects nested within other content. By connecting to discussions and comments this creates the ingredients of a great community experience. As our sites continue to grow and our members begin to utilize the tools of our microsites and begin to build objects within objects (comments, ratings, discussion threads, blogs) conversations and relationships develop that will add value to our organization locally, regionally and nationally.
The biggest change for writers moving into the world of Web authoring is that now you must think more rigorously about structure and creating little ‘Lego’ bricks of content, destined to be assembled and reassembled in ways we do not always anticipate. You are no longer making a single article but instead are creating an object that can be put together in many other structures, formats, and media.
- Think of what you are doing as creating “chunks” of texts that have multiple functions: Each of these informative objects starts life as a category of content
- Each object has a job to do
- Objects ‘talk’ with each other
- Objects can be reused in other locations and media (announcements, newsletters, comments, discussion board threads)
- Objects can be assembled quickly to create customized content
Cut through the Noise
This ‘objects’ approach helps improve the EFFECTIVENESS of your writing and member information. Here are some ideas to help make your writing more effective.
- As you write define the purpose of each object and leave out the interesting but extraneous details that confuse people (put these elsewhere)
- Create object (story) templates that help others write to your site
- Heading, time, date, location, marketing tag, keyword callouts are items that authors provide.
- Offer multiple perspectives on the same information
- Identify the audience for each object using an attribute in your template as ‘Audience’ for you contributor’s to decide
- Cross post to announcements
- Utilize other sites content: blogs, videos, library items and our national site
The Web will ultimately provide our organization with enormous amounts of data; some relevant for a short time, other content will last for years. Defining each content object with a distinct purpose, audience, and subject can at first feel constricting, artificial and a bit abstract. Soon however, your writing goes faster, gets to the point, and does the job more effectively because you understand what the purpose of the piece is and do not get distracted and lose focus (and take our viewers with you.) This can lead to uncovering new perspectives, understanding your subject in more depth, and shape your content for the benefit of our members and not yourself or your leadership.
What you give up in originality you gain back in impact and effectiveness of message!