Content marketing strategy: we’re all just students, really

by Dan Smith

Content marketing strategy: we're all just students, really

Suze’s son Tom who is still a student doing a Masters in Marketing Management

If you read my feverish rant (the first paragraphs, anyway) in my recent article about companies that plough expensive resources into developing sophisticated content marketing strategies but use rather feeble and random efforts to find inhouse writing/blogging talent, you will know that I took the delightful Dan Smith to task about not going far enough in his companys efforts to find and train people properly to write blogs for his company. [Read more…]

How To Write Training That Works: marketing training

 

How to write training that worksWriting training material is a specialized job. But often, in a small business, nonprofit organization, charity or similar circumstances, there isn’t the budget to bring in a specialized supplier. Here’s the HTWB solution, with Jackson Rawlings…in this final article in the series, he looks at marketing training. [Read more…]

How To Write Training That Works: customer service

 

How to write training that worksWriting training material is a specialized job. But often, in a small business, nonprofit organization, charity or similar circumstances, there isn’t the budget to bring in a specialized supplier. Here’s the HTWB solution, with Jackson Rawlings…

To see all articles in the How To Write Training That Works series, check out the category “Training That Works” in the side bar to the right —>>>

Customer Service

Training a ‘soft’ skill like customer service involves a certain amount of personal interpretation. This is because there’s no objective, tangible structure to good customer service; just opinions on what is good and what is bad.

Writing customer service training material then, requires a higher level of creativity and imagination than for a topic like management skills or health and safety, for example.

So let’s take a look at some key aspects of what makes good customer service training material: [Read more…]

How To Write Training That Works: health and safety

 

How to write training that worksWriting training material is a specialized job. But often, in a small business, nonprofit organization, charity or similar circumstances, there isn’t the budget to bring in a specialized supplier. Here’s the HTWB solution, with Jackson Rawlings…

To see all articles in the How To Write Training That Works series, check out the category “Training That Works” in the side bar to the right —>>>

Health and Safety

Health and Safety has, let’s face it, quite a bad reputation in our society. ‘Health and safety gone mad’ horror stories are abound in the media and it’s difficult to view it as anything other than an unnecessary layer of bureaucracy.

The truth is, most of these tales of ‘OTT’ rules and regulations do Health and Safety a big disservice: much of what is outlined in systems like IOSH is just plain common sense.

So writing training material for such a controversial subject is not easy, but it is rewarding in that you are in a unique position to change people’s perceptions about the real usefulness and necessity of Health and Safety. Here are some tips to get you on your way:

Take it seriously…but not too seriously

As mentioned, people are often very sceptical about the benefits of Health and Safety. It’s your job to convince them otherwise, but be careful how you attempt to do this.

It’s a bit of a case of ‘the lady doth protest too much’; if you spend your whole session convincing your delegates why Health and Safety is so great, you’ll probably put them off it even more.

Instead, admit the shortcomings with a pinch of humour. If something does seem over the top, explain how it needn’t be. Most of all, don’t be defensive. You won’t seem assured and your delegates will lose trust and confidence.

Justify everything

This may appear contrary to everything I’ve just said but I assure you, it’s not. There’s a big difference between justifying something with a reasoned argument and just sounding petulant and defensive.

Make sure you come across as the former. Justifying the need for Health and Safety is important, as to some it can seem like a waste of time. Use real-life examples of how Health and Safety has had a positive impact to make your points for you.

Give examples of myths

medium_3530629696Another great way to explain the need for Health and Safety is to dismiss the common misconceptions held about it.

Schools making students wear safety goggles to play conkers? Myth. Graduates no longer allowed to throw mortar boards in the air? Also a myth.

The Health and Safety Executive has a great list of these classic myths for you to choose from, as well as their ‘myth of the month’. Pepper your material with these myths as (reasoned) rebuttals to any potential ‘health and safety gone mad’ claims.

Do it by the book

With Health and Safety training, there will usually be a set structure and set of principles to which you are subscribing. The reason for this is that Health and Safety regulations are often legal requirements or at least heavily promoted by governments and institutions.

In that sense, diverging from the ‘set text’ can be tricky and is therefore best avoided unless you’re so comfortable with the material you can teach it in your sleep (a state to aim for, but not necessarily all that realistic!)

Simply put, use the resources available and don’t try to ‘blag’ it.

Don’t be wishy-washy

The last thing you want to do when training Health and Safety is fumble over or worse, make up reasons for its importance.

If you really don’t know the reason for a certain regulation, be honest and say you’ll endeavour to find out. This will generally be better received than some mumbled excuse about a non-existent or undefined rule.

Be straightforward and to the point, and use all the methods outlined above to back yourself up.

Hopefully this helps you address the most common problems faced by Health and Safety trainers. Remember:

  • Don’t be too serious
  • Justify with examples
  • Bust those myths!
  • Stick to the rules
  • Be straight to the point

Don’t forget – to see all articles in the How To Write Training That Works series, check out the category “Training That Works” in the side bar to the right —>>>

How to write training that works

Jackson Rawlings

Thanks for reading!

Jackson

Jackson Rawlings
Digital Marketer
Silicon Beach Training
www.SiliconBeachTraining.co.uk
jackson@siliconbeachtraining.co.uk

Meanwhile, train yourself to write even better… (instant downloads)

“How To Write About Yourself”…how to make the most of yourself, whatever you need to write
The MAMBA Way to make your words sell“…how to think  your way to superbly successful sales writing
“Banana Skin Words and how not to slip on them”…over 1,500 spelling and grammar tips to perfect your written English

photo credit: KraftyMiles via photopin cc

How To Write Training That Works: new managers

 

How to write training that worksWriting training material is a specialized job. But often, in a small business, nonprofit organization, charity or similar circumstances, there isn’t the budget to bring in a specialized supplier. Here’s the HTWB solution, with Jackson Rawlings…

To see all articles in the How To Write Training That Works series, check out the category “Training That Works” in the side bar to the right —>>>

Training new managers

Writing training material geared towards those who have recently landed a promotion or new job in a management role requires more than anything that you should think and act like (and hopefully be or have been!) a manager yourself.

Maybe you’re focusing on a core skill or perhaps you’re giving a general introduction to multiple skills required to excel in management.

In any case it’s worth considering these five elements:

Use ice breakers

Getting your learners acclimatised is important because it will allow their true personalities and therefore management styles to shine through.

This is what you’re aiming for: you want to be able to identify the sort of learner and manager they are from early on so as to be able to tailor your material to them.

Loud extroverts will want plenty of time to talk for example, while quieter, introverted types will perhaps need more coaxing for input.

In terms of writing the material then, think about this initial ‘getting-to-know-each-other’ time and factor it in to your time-plan.

Focus on soft skills

This is by no means a hard and fast rule: it may be that you’re teaching your manager(s) about a specific technical skill relevant to their particular role.

Usually though, management training centres more on soft skills like communication and confidence building.

In that sense, it’s important to provide evidence and examples of these skills in action because they aren’t as obviously effective as ‘hard’ skills.

Keep it varied

As mentioned, you may have a mix of extroverts or introverts (and all that’s in between) in your group.

In which case, some activities will be better geared towards some individuals than to others.

Public speaking or presentation practising, for example, will be a breeze for the extroverts but may induce nerves in the introverts.

Don’t focus all the time on one activity then; even if you are predominantly focused on one skill, there will be plenty of different ways to approach it.

Think about this when creating your material and it will prevent individuals from feeling excluded.

small__6829422155 (1)Be authoritative

This I can’t stress enough.

How do you expect your managers to exude the necessary confidence and self-belief required for the role, if their ‘teachers’ possess none of those traits themselves?

Not only does this help to build trust with your delegates, but also it will make the whole session run more smoothly – confidence in your methods will project a straightforward and easily understood image throughout.

Get all your facts straight in the material and use the correct tone of voice; somewhere in between formal and chatty.

Use humour

Like many others I’ve mentioned in this and previous posts, this tip is not exclusive to a particular subject area, but in here it’s particularly relevant.

Management can be a dry topic, depending on the focus, so don’t be afraid to inject a bit of well-intended humour into your material.

Using humour is in itself a communication skill that can be extremely useful in management, as a means to building rapport or for defusing charged situations.

By using it, you’re showing your learners how it can be effective, as well as making the experience more pleasant for everyone.

So those are my top tips for writing training material geared towards those new to management. If you have any others which you feel are important for this subject, I’d love to hear them in the comments.

Otherwise, remember:

  • Ice Breakers are a great way to build confidence
  • Focus on soft skills but give demonstrable examples
  • Mix it up, think about the differences in your ‘audience’
  • Be confident and authoritative in order to build trust
  • Have a laugh with it!

Next time, we’ll be looking at another niche and giving some tips specific to writing for that subject matter. See you then!

Don’t forget – to see all articles in the How To Write Training That Works series, check out the category “Training That Works” in the side bar to the right —>>>

How to write training that works

Jackson Rawlings

Thanks for reading!

Jackson

Jackson Rawlings
Digital Marketer
Silicon Beach Training
www.SiliconBeachTraining.co.uk
jackson@siliconbeachtraining.co.uk

Meanwhile, train yourself to write even better… (instant downloads)

“How To Write About Yourself”…how to make the most of yourself, whatever you need to write
The MAMBA Way to make your words sell“…how to think  your way to superbly successful sales writing
“Banana Skin Words and how not to slip on them”…over 1,500 spelling and grammar tips to perfect your written English
photo credit: Victor1558 via photopin cc

How To Write Training That Works: technical training

 

How to write training that worksWriting training material is a specialized job. But often, in a small business, nonprofit organization, charity or similar circumstances, there isn’t the budget to bring in a specialized supplier. Here’s the HTWB solution, with Jackson Rawlings…

To see all articles in the How To Write Training That Works series, check out the category “Training That Works” in the side bar to the right —>>>

Writing training material for technical subjects like software testing or web development is not an easy task. It involves explaining complex and often confusing subject matter in simple, comprehensible terms.

As such, I’ve put together five tips that will make this process a whole lot easier and hopefully give you some insight into how technical skills can be imparted with ease.

Not too wordy

Technical subjects require clear and concise instructions. With that in mind, when writing your material, make sure that any unnecessarily ‘flowery’ language is avoided.

In fact, keeping words just to those which are essential throughout is a good rule to follow. Something to think about: if you can’t explain it in a few simple words, are more words (and more complex ones) going to help at all?

Wireframing/graphical representation

I have mentioned in previous posts how important it is to use images and visual aids as a means to making your material more engaging.

This is particularly important for technical subjects. In web development for example, it is useful to use wireframing or storyboarding devices to show how each stage of the development process should appear.

This step-by-step visualisation allows learners to fully grasp each individual aspect of the job at hand. Take a look at this post for the pros and cons of wireframing and storyboarding.

Use existing examples

It’s often the case that whilst wireframing may provide a decent account of the individual stages that make up a process, a ‘mockup’ finished product is never quite as impressive as the real thing.

That’s why it’s always a good idea to provide real-life example, so that learners can understand the context of their work.

So if, for example, you are training someone in how to design a basic web site using HTML and CSS, showing them an actual web page that uses the particular bit of code that they are learning will help to cement their understanding.

Don’t try to write from memory

It may be that the particular software or techniques that you are training others in, you yourself have been using for years.

Don’t be tempted, though, to write your training material off the top of your head. To you, a simple oversight will be easy to correct but when training someone with less experience, it will only confuse them.

Follow through the exact process as you write the material, to make sure you haven’t missed any steps.

Write summaries at the end of chapters

In subjects as complex as web or software development, it will be difficult for learners to remember each aspect or point of an often long, convoluted process.

For that reason, write summaries at the end of each chapter or even stage, readdressing the key points that the learner will need to remember.

Writing material in this way will also help you reaffirm the key ‘takeaways’ of your training too.

So remember:

  • Use only essential words
  • Use visuals and existing examples
  • Go through the process yourself as you write it
  • Sum up key points at ‘jumping-off’ stages

Hopefully these tips have helped to make a difficult writing task that little bit easier. If you have any other tips for writing tech-centric training material, I’d love to hear them in the comments.

Thanks for reading and see you all next time!

Next time, we’ll be looking at another niche and giving some tips specific to writing for that subject matter.

Don’t forget – to see all articles in the How To Write Training That Works series, check out the category “Training That Works” in the side bar to the right —>>>

How to write training that works

Jackson Rawlings

Thanks for reading!

Jackson

Jackson Rawlings
Digital Marketer
Silicon Beach Training
www.SiliconBeachTraining.co.uk
jackson@siliconbeachtraining.co.uk

Meanwhile, train yourself to write even better… (instant downloads)

“How To Write About Yourself”…how to make the most of yourself, whatever you need to write
The MAMBA Way to make your words sell“…how to think  your way to superbly successful sales writing
“Banana Skin Words and how not to slip on them”…over 1,500 spelling and grammar tips to perfect your written English

 

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