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Planning Your Web Writing

Don't worry about how to write great content at the planning stage. Don't worry about using key words or correct grammar, or even spelling. When planning writing, just focus on what you want to say.

Don't miss the 'what to say' stage and jump straight to 'how to say it'. It will take longer to write in the long term, and the result will be poor.

Create a Plan

Write down objectives as headings. Under each objective, make a list of the points you need to reach each objective.

Take each of those list items in turn and imagine your reader sitting in front of you. If this were a face-to-face conversation:

  • Would they already have background information, or would they need a brief explanation?
  • What would they ask?
  • At would point would you stop to make sure they were satisfied before moving on to the next item?
  • At what point would their eyes start to glaze over?

Write down every thought and comment.

Now, take a look at your notes as a whole:

  • Are there any gaps?
  • Did you make any assumptions?
  • Have you included information as fact without saying what that fact was based on?
  • Did you include any personal opinions without making it clear that they were personal opinions?

Fill in the blanks, find your references.

Get Some Feedback

Hand the plan around and ask for feedback.

Pay attention to feedback, especially if you don't agree with it.

Now, put the plan away. Forget about it. Come back in a day or two and look at it with fresh eyes. You will find something else to add or something to change - if you don't, you're not doing it right :)

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