Reduce, Reuse, Recycle (Your Content)

If you haven’t checked out Karen McGrane’s presentation, Adapting Ourselves to Adaptive Content, we suggest that you do.

The UX guru observes how content loses its oomph when translated from format to format. Many content creators experience this in one form or another—newspapers shrink their front page illegibly on a tiny screen; manufacturers pour paragraph-long product descriptions into a 60-word mobile slot; mobile-first proponents stretch and reiterate their content to fit a dozen-page website.

We think of content in terms of the space it fills: a page, a fold, a slide, a screen. Reworking copy for a new format might take as long as writing the whole thing from scratch.

Karen suggests an alternative: “Start with content. Clean, flexible, reusable content that is written from the start… to be used in different places.” This format-adaptive content works modularly, built from short, sweet nuggets of copy that communicate the benefits of your product or service.

At MarketSmiths, we believe one measure of good copy is its ability to be chopped and screwed: remixed, rearranged, and reformatted to suit a range of platforms. While we’re often thinking in terms of web pages, within each page we create branding messages that can stand on their own two feet.

Here’s how:

  1. We put benefits first and give them room to breathe. This makes them super-easy to indentify and reuse.
  2. We keep our copy clean and simple. Forget the five-paragraph essay—we can build powerful persuasion in twelve words or less.

The result? Nimble copy that can be rearranged, expanded, and shortened with ease—and can shine across all formats.

Image courtesy of Nicolas Raymond.

A winsome wordsmith, Gregory M. Lewis loves nothing better than absorbing new information and crystallizing it into clear, captivating copy. Greg brings his incisive insight and easy-going approach to every project. In his free time, the Chicago native can be spotted at Nets games, art galleries, and local concerts in Brooklyn.

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