About This Guest Post

In today’s guest post Lauren Tormey provides the background to the workshop session which will describe how to “Create Effective Content Quickly With Pair Writing” which she is facilitating at next week’s IWMW 2017 event.

Pair writing — the healthy way to get content

Pair writing is like exercise: it can be hard to find the time and motivation, and it can be challenging while you’re doing it. However, once you get into the habit, you’ll start to notice the benefits almost immediately: higher-quality content, created much faster than before.

What is pair writing?

Pair writing is when you sit side-by-side with someone to craft a piece of content. One partner should be a content professional, the other a Subject Matter Expert (SME).

Pairs work together in a 1-2 hour session, constantly providing feedback and peer review to each other’s work. By the end of the session, the aim is to create a complete or nearly complete piece of content ready to go live on your site or test on users.

You can read more on the pair writing process on the University of Edinburgh Website Programme blog.

Just like running

Before I get into how this process can make your content healthier, I should explain what I find challenging about pair writing.

In short, pair writing can be intense. When you spend your workday bouncing between different projects and priorities, a pair writing session can feel like a long, concentrated amount of time to spend on a single topic, spewing out original thought and revising your work.

Good for your content health

That being said, pair writing is way better than the alternative of passing drafts back and forth.

A 1-2 hour session can feel like a long time, but in the long run, it doesn’t compare to the weeks you could spend endlessly exchanging drafts and trying to agree on edits.

Communicating face-to-face allows for immediate feedback and the ability to decide then and there how to best word your content. Sure, you may go back after a session and continue tweaking, but the solid foundation is there.

Plus, by working with a content professional, SMEs can take away some skills in web writing best practice, while content professionals can gain valuable insight into the subject area right from the source.

By working together, you can create better, more user-focused content in less time.

Much like running a marathon, getting started with pair writing can seem daunting, but if you want to end day one of IWMW feeling accomplished and with endorphins flowing, I’ll see you at my workshop.

About The Author

Lauren Tormey is an Editorial Assistant for the University of Edinburgh’s Website Programme. She supports web publishers around the University, advising them on editorial best practice and using the corporate CMS.

Lauren will facilitate a workshop on “Create Effective Content Quickly With Pair Writing” at the IWMW 2017 event.