Thursday, August 26, 2010

Lessons On My Journey

I'm taking a very basic technical writing class. Interesting stuff. In one of the first lessons we talked about the importance of knowing your audiences.

Really knowing them. You have to do research to understand their motivations, likes, cultural perspectives, learning preferences. The whole shebag.

If you are going to present information you have to take that into consideration and adapt that information to what you want to teach or have them understand.

Advertisers call this process creating a brief. Educators create student profiles. Historical writers research for background information before they start the writing process.

So I was thinking about the questions that many we should ask ourselves:
  • Who are you doing the video for?
  • Is video the best way to do this?
  • What do you want folks to know?
  • What do you want them to gain from viewing?
  • How can the video be of service?
  • What is the best way to transmit this information? Is it straight video, combination of video and photos, screencasting or a bit of animation tossed in the mix?
If you want to create videos that serve a purpose, documentary, education or instructive you might have to find a way to duplicate or adapt this process.

It is something to think about.


  1. Hi Gena,

    You have given me lots to think about. I started in writing and came to video via a "fluke". I had NO plan - just put up a video on YT about something that I love and watched it grow.

    That video has taught me who my video audience is (not at all the same audience as my book readers) and their questions in comments or via email tell me what they wanted to see more of.

    I like your checklist and I would add one more thing, courtesy of Simon Sinek, "why are you making video/why are you sharing this message/why do you do what you do?". I just love his talk on TED about "start with why".

    Thanks for the great post!

  2. One of my inklings or internal whispers is that some of us will have to have some skill in presenting information to diverse populations.

    I don't know how to explain it yet but it is a melding of information design, teaching, entertainment and communication. There are others that are doing it but I haven't figured out how.

    The tech writing class is part of the journey.

    I have tried to pace myself about the TED videos. I'd watch them 10 hours a day if I could.

    I will check of the Simon Sinek video for sure. Thanks.


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