1.1. Identify relevant constraints, possibilities and opportunities offered by the selected target medium/platform
1.2. Identify key constraints or considerations arising from the use of an online content management
I typically write content for websites using the WordPress CMS. WordPress offers a basic text editor allowing you to set text styles and import media, it is however rather limiting. Often making your content appear just how you want it requires additional CSS. A lot of the websites I work on use the Divi Theme which does offer more freedom in layout and style due to the Divi Builder plugin. This essentially offers a grid system with pre-made modules which offers more freedom in how content is laid out. Additionally, created layouts can be saved allowing you to load previously made layouts for new posts and maintain a consistent style for similar posts.
A benefit of using the WordPress CMS is that there is a multitude of plugins available to improve functionality and experience. A common plugin we use is a Social Network Auto-poster. This allows us to define certain post types that, when created, will automatically be shared to connected social media accounts. Furthermore, the Divi Theme (and most modern themes) is fully responsive, meaning that it will display nicely on various screen sizes.
I also write content for printed media, generally for advertising purposes such as flyers or displays. This is usually done in Photoshop or Illustrator. Working with text in design software essentially allows full control over the appearance. What isn’t available is spelling and grammar checking, so this has to be done manually or outside of the design software.
2.1. Identify a style that is suitable for the target audience and purpose of the communication
The attached copy is from a roller banner for the company I work for to be used at events. The target audience of the copy is essentially anyone in attendance at the event where the banner is being used, with the aim of it to express the core identity of the company. As such, the writing style needs to be clear and concise, conveying the key facts about the company in a way that it can be comprehended quickly.
As the banner is generally used at events, the copy has to be written in a welcoming tone to encourage people to talk to us. Rather than referring to the company by name “we” is used. This personifies the company, which makes it more approachable. Verbs such as “offer” and “provide” are used as they aren’t forceful and have charitable connotations. “Sell” could have been used instead of “offer” and it certainly would have made much clearer the fact that what the company does is sell a service, yet it would have had a colder tone and focused too much on the business aspect of the company rather than the charitable aspect (as a CIC).
2.2. Maintain a consistent style both within texts and between related texts
Show at least one other example of a post to show that you have a consistent style by analysing this as before and commenting on the similarities in style.
The provided example is an advert highlighting the services the company offers. Like the previous copy, “we” is used to personify the organization and make it appear more approachable. Again, verbs like “help” and “provide” are used as they are less forceful and indicate the company’s focus on helping.
2.4. Structure the text-based content for readability and accessibility
2.6. Format copy, following relevant writing conventions, style guides and policies
As a lot of the copy I produce is for printed media, length/amount of text is often depending on size and context of the media. For example, the roller banner is 200cm tall and 80cm wide which gives me a lot of space to add text. However, in the context it is used it is better to include less text. This is because it will generally be viewed from a distance, meaning text needs to be large. Additionally, the audience is usually viewing it at a busy event and it is not suitable for them to be standing still reading large swathes of copy. Whereas an A5 sized flyer is much smaller in physical size, it is more appropriate to include more text as the reader can hold it and spend more time looking at it.
I generally have to be quite adaptive with the style I write in as I often produce copy for different clients. If I am given a guideline on the tone they use in their writing I will follow it, otherwise I will read through other copy they have and reflect its style in my own writing.
As demonstrated in the previously attache examples, I will use paragraphs to break up text as it allows the reader to distinguish different points easily. Similarly with the list of services, I chose to include one item per line as it enforces that they are separate items, which can be important when using terms that the reader may not know as to avoid confusion.
2.7. Produce appropriate captions or descriptions to accompany content
When adding images to WordPress, the media library allows you to define the image Title, Description, Caption and Alternative Text.
2.9. Produce and embed metadata
We use the SEOPresser plugin on our WordPress websites which allows us to add metadata to pages and posts on the website. Here I have defined the Title Meta, which indicates the title of the page, and provided a Meta description, which provides a brief overview of what the page is about. Utilising metadata help with SEO and the data can be used as snippets when displayed in a search engines results page.
3.2. Check the accuracy of any facts and figures quoted, seeking advice as required
How I check facts and figures depends on the context of the information. For example, if I am writing about the services a client offers I will contact them for an accurate list of check their website/social media to see what they have previously stated. If it is a more general fact, I will use google to see if I can find a reputable source that backs up the claim.
For example, for the advert attached above, I asked my line manager for an up-to-date and accurate list of services the company offered to include in my advert, and then had her check the final version to ensure it was all correct.
4.1. Review the content against any legal and ethical considerations
4.2. Make any necessary changes to comply with relevant legislation
One of the main legal and ethical considerations when producing copy is that the information is truthful and not misleading. I ensure this by fact checking and confirming the information is indeed correct. Furthermore, it is important to write statements in a way that is clear and comprehendible and not to word text in such a way that its interpretation is ambiguous. Not adhering to this would breach certain laws and open the company up to legal issues.
With the advert attached previously, I ensured that the information was all accurate and truthful and had my manager check it to both see if it was correct and that it isn’t worded in a way that could mislead the audience.
Another consideration is copyright. If I have used someone else’s copy it is important to get their permission to reproduce it, or if I am quoting them to ensure I include adequate reference to them. Copy can be protected under copyright law so using it without permission would be a legal issue, there is also a matter of how ethical it is to use someone else work without permission, even if it is technically legal to do so.