A directory of resources inthe field of technical communication.

Kissane, Erin

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Attack of the Zombie Copy

You can keep copy from turning zombie by starting with a clear idea of exactly what you want to say. It's tempting to just start writing, but this approach can leave your pages vulnerable to zombification, because it's easier to sound like you’re making sense than to actually make sense. Outlines can serve as an effective vaccine against living death.

Kissane, Erin. List Apart, A (2005). Articles>Web Design>Writing


A Checklist for Content Work

There’s really only one central principle of good content: it should be appropriate for your business, for your users, and for its context. Appropriate in its method of delivery, in its style and structure, and above all in its substance. As Erin Kissane explains, content strategy is the practice of determining what each of those things means for your project—and how to get there from where you are now.

Kissane, Erin. List Apart, A (2011). Articles>Content Management>Content Strategy


Content Templates to the Rescue

Getting even semi-publishable writing from experts is notoriously difficult; they may be immersed in their “real jobs” and too busy to write even a first draft of content, they may not understand why web content matters at all, they may not be fluent in the language(s) in which you publish your website, or they may just be terrible writers. Define a content workflow as early as possible, preferably as part of a unified content strategy that includes a content audit (a detailed analysis of what content you have, what content you need, and how to bridge that gap), voice and tone guidelines, and a schedule for collecting and generating content.

Kissane, Erin. List Apart, A (2009). Articles>Content Management>Content Strategy>SMEs


Typography Matters

It's a style thing. It's a usability thing. It's a tricky thing for large content sites and a step up for independents. It's typographically correct punctuation on the web, and ALA's associate editor makes the case for it.

Kissane, Erin. List Apart, A (2001). Design>Typography>CSS>Web Design


What Do Content Strategists Do?

In real life, content strategy falls somewhere between traditional editorial leadership, communication strategy, and information management, all of which have their own distinct connotations. It’s easy for discussions of terminology to float off into abstraction, so instead of talking about “content strategy” or what “a content strategist” does, I’m going to say what this content strategist does.

Kissane, Erin. Incisive (2010). Careers>Content Management>Content Strategy


Your About Page Is a Robot

An About page should provide context and necessary facts, but should also give the reader compelling reasons to do what you want them to do.

Kissane, Erin. List Apart, A (2006). Design>Web Design>Rhetoric

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