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Content Process

An introduction to pair writing

Robert Mills • 2 minutes

When it comes to creating content, effective collaboration is key. Take a peek behind door six of ourContent Strategy Advent Calendar and Jonathan Kahn will introduce you to the technique of pair writing.

✏️ An introduction to pair writing​, from @lucidplot

Video transcript

I’m Jonathan Kahn and my tip for you is to use pair writing to collaborate with your stakeholders.

Instead of sending drafts back and forth, making corrections in red pen, arguing, you can use pair writing to sit down together side-by-side with your stakeholder and to work out how this content can work in a way that works for both you the content expert, and them the subject matter expert.

First of all you need to decide what your need is. What your objective is. One way to do that is to write a user story or you could have a user journey map or a mental model diagram. And you may need to use research to do that.

“Decide what your need is. What your objective is. One way to do that is to write a user story.”

When you’ve got that objective, that user need, you can sit down with your stakeholder in front of a computer, one of you take the keyboard, start writing. The other person needs to be reading stuff out, making suggestions, asking questions and then holding up that user need and saying, does it meet it?

After a short period of time you need to switch roles. So if the person was just sat there, they need to start typing and the person who was typing needs to start asking questions, providing feedback. Keep going until you have a draft you’re both willing to publish. And at that point, if you can publish it, great, get it out there. If you can test it with users, that’s fantastic, or if you can get feedback from the broader team.

“This technique creates really effective content, without jargon, but also with full buy-in from your stakeholders.”

This technique creates really effective content, without jargon, but also with full buy-in from your stakeholders. And it also builds trust.

If you’d like to try out pair writing and other content collaboration techniques, then come to Agile Content Conf this January at Sadler’s Wells Theatre in London.

About Jonathan

Jonathan Kahn organises agile content conf, where you can learn practices to help teams work together on content. He also organises the London Agile Content Meetupwhich has 2000 members. He’s @lucidplot on twitter.

✏️ An introduction to pair writing​, from @lucidplot

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Robert Mills

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