TIPS FOR CONTENT CONSTRUCTION AND PLACEMENT
This approach was honed from several years of designing and producing print products. But the same approach can be used for digital/web executions.
HOW TO GET STARTED
If you are a budding author you will need to know publishing guidelines. This will also apply to all organizations wishing to tell their story either in print or in digital form.
Consider the Inverted Pyramid approach starting with headlines:
Create a main / large headline that sums up all or most of what you are wanting to communicate
A sub headline (smaller in size) that articulates the point a little more clearly
Employ the “Nutgraph” which is a paragraph one or two levels into your information that makes the most important point (and could be an extension of the main headline.)
This approach is also good for graphics and informational illustrations.
HOW TO CONSTRUCT A PUBLICATION
Identify your audience and consider how they are prone to absorb information. For example, older readers (or executives) will benefit from larger point sizes and succinct summaries.
Younger readers are much more visual, and respond to colors and shapes. So incorporate visuals into your presentations whenever possible. This includes adding video. Video mesmerizes people and holds their attention much longer than written text.
A perfect balance of visuals, succinct content, and sharp headlines will appeal to most audiences.
Next: Determine “Booking.”
Booking is the construction of a content outline primarily used for print publications. It identifies the content that will appear on specific pages of the book and guides the production staff on how to best position and produce the project.
You can also employ the "Booking" technique with organizing a site plan for a website or storyboarding a video.
Ideally, you should employ a writer, editor and a copy editor. It is possible to have one person do all three, but better to have different sets of eyes look over content.
Start with “reporting” or researching the content, writing the story using the Inverted Pyramid approach and then submitting the firs draft for editing. The editor will then tighten and question elements to fine tune the effort. It’s akin to adding was after you wash your car.
The story then should be copy edited. It is customary to use Associated Press (AP) style guidelines. Their guidbooks are available for purchase on www.ap.com
Design & Production
You will need a designer or someone proficient with electronic layout of pages. This exercise will also facilitate the creation of digital extensions such as files that can be easily uploaded and viewed online or mobile.
The designer should be brought in at the very beginning so they help you manage and track progress.
The designer should establish a production schedule with clear deadlines walking back from the date the customer must have the product in hand to give to customers.
Here s a quick deadline outline (adjust as warranted).
Allow two weeks for printing. Printing is complex so the designer will work behind the sceneswith the printer to resolve any issues during the print process.
Allow time to proof a “hard copy proof” from the designer and the printer. The designer should print out a version of the book since it is easier to spot issues on printed paper than on screen.
The printer should produce a final printed proof for the client to approve before the actual press run takes place.
Before the printer can get camera-ready files (aka PDFs) the production flow is as follows:
Preliminary project meeting with principals, designers and writers.
Outline of the project is produced by designer or editor
Booking is created by editor
Overall design direction created by designer. This will determine the look and feel of the product starting with the cover and establish design parameters for inside pages. For example, should page numbering be used? Should each page carry an overline to identify the product (recommended for additiona reader retention).
Content is generated by writer
Content is edited and proofed by editor/copy editor.
Content is delivered to designer electronically.
Designer flows content to appropriate pages and adds illustrative effects.
Designer produces first draft electronically following approved design direction established earlier.
Designer may introduce additional visual ideas at this point for consideration
First approval by Client with any corrections or editing that is require turned into designer
Designer finalizes layout and produces second PDF version for final proofing
Once second prrofing is completed, designer will produce the printed piece for final proofing before files are sent to the printer.
Final files prepared by designer and sent to printer.
Printing process begins.
Hard copy proof by printer is provided.
Approval or any last minute changes executed.
File is printed.
As with any project, it evolves during the engagement, so it is key all members stay focused and supportive of each individual role as outlined and adherence to established deadlines. And don’t stress when things don’t go exactly to plan as it is normal to have surprises. They key is how to manage those surprises.
Tony De Feria, president, tdeferiamedia, inc.