CHOOSING THE PRODUCT FORMAT—WEA GUIDES THE PROCESS

by Cynthia Warger | July 07, 2019 | Writing and Content Development
An important step in developing a publication is choosing the format for the final product or products. It starts with strategizing about the best way to showcase your ideas for the maximum impact. It involves knowing your audience and how they would prefer to receive your information. And, it requires an understanding of the available communication formats and how each can be used to influence an audience. This blog describes commonly used formats used for developing educational products.

News-worthy formats. These formats often are used when the message is brief and has a personalized appeal. The intended purpose is to get people’s attention about something—a person, a story, a topic, a finding, a resource, and so on—by announcing something, testing the waters, reporting on new findings, providing an update, or sharing information. These types of products tend to be more conversational in style and are crafted to engage readers in the story. Examples are newsletters, feature stories, editorials, blogs, social media posts, and special publications on a topic.

Choosing a product format that is a perfect fit with your message and audience is an important step in developing your product.
 

Briefs. These formats typically are one- to four-page documents that are used when the message is succinct and requires an objective, formal presentation. Brief formats often are used to refer to a larger document, as is the case with an executive summary, essential findings from a large study, questions and answers on a topic, or recommendations customized for a specific audience (e.g., policymaker implications).

Practical tools. Tool formats help the user become knowledgeable about a topic, develop skills, and/or take action on something. Examples include how-to or step-by-step guides, manuals, and booklets. Tools include various items—such as assessments, checklists, forms—that assist the user in implementing a strategy or approach. In recent years, toolkits have become a popular format for packaging a variety of items or tools designed to help users implement an idea or take action on something. Toolkits might contain a print or web-based guide and a digital feature (e.g., USB drive) that contains a range of supplemental files, including PDFs, PDF fillable forms, MP4 movies, audio presentations, slide presentations, Excel files, professional development tools (face-to-face and virtual formats), and so on. These may be web-based, printed, or a combination.

Novelty items. These product formats are intended to raise attention and distribute limited information into people’s hands quickly. They also help users stay linked to a larger community of users. We typically think of novelty formats as conference or workshop give-aways (e.g., inscribed pens, posters, keychains, bookmarks, magnets, etc.). However, the format may be a novelty feature that makes a product unique and noteworthy (e.g., an easel back to a manual, a flip book of tips, a laminated desk guide that summarizes an approach, wallet-sized cue cards, and so on).

Public relations materials. These product formats help advertise your message. They create awareness and are designed to get you noticed. Examples include brochures, flyers, postcards, announcements, space ads, greeting cards, press releases, social media campaigns, and events (e.g., panel discussions, press conferences, etc.).

Multimedia formats. These product formats are used when your message is enhanced by seeing it and/or hearing it. Often, media compliments other products by providing multiple access points. Examples include websites, video programs (e.g., public service announcements, documentaries, vignettes, short ads, how-to demonstrations, original programming, etc.), audio programs (e.g., podcasts, toll-free messages, etc.), and social media. 
Choosing the Product Format—WEA Guides the Process
Armed with an understanding of various product formats, you are in a better position to choose which product format (or formats) is best for connecting your message with your audience. WEA has a successful track record in helping clients decide the best approach for influencing their audiences. We specialize in developing customized books, brochures, briefs, newsletters, annual reports, video scripts, multimedia products, and specialty publications—and have numerous examples of how each format can be maximized for the greatest impact.

When it comes to choosing the product format, WEA takes several factors into account.
  • Your message.
  • Your audience.
  • Your goal, purpose, and/or objective.
  • Your budget. 
While this analysis might add some time onto the project, WEA believes it is time well spent in ensuring that your ideas and information make a difference.

Choosing the product Format—WEA Guides the process

by Cynthia Warger | July 07, 2019 | Writing and Content Development
An important step in developing a publication is choosing the format for the final product or products. It starts with strategizing about the best way to showcase your ideas for the maximum impact. It involves knowing your audience and how they would prefer to receive your information. And, it requires an understanding of the available communication formats and how each can be used to influence an audience. This blog describes commonly used formats used for developing educational products.

News-worthy formats. These formats often are used when the message is brief and has a personalized appeal. The intended purpose is to get people’s attention about something—a person, a story, a topic, a finding, a resource, and so on—by announcing something, testing the waters, reporting on new findings, providing an update, or sharing information. These types of products tend to be more conversational in style and are crafted to engage readers in the story. Examples are newsletters, feature stories, editorials, blogs, social media posts, and special publications on a topic.

Briefs. These formats typically are one- to four-page documents that are used when the message is succinct and requires an objective, formal presentation. Brief formats often are used to refer to a larger document, as is the case with an executive summary, essential findings from a large study, questions and answers on a topic, or recommendations customized for a specific audience (e.g., policymaker implications).

Practical tools. Tool formats help the user become knowledgeable about a topic, develop skills, and/or take action on something. Examples include how-to or step-by-step guides, manuals, and booklets. Tools include various items—such as assessments, checklists, forms—that assist the user in implementing a strategy or approach. In recent years, toolkits have become a popular format for packaging a variety of items or tools designed to help users implement an idea or take action on something. Toolkits might contain a print or web-based guide and a digital feature (e.g., USB drive) that contains a range of supplemental files, including PDFs, PDF fillable forms, MP4 movies, audio presentations, slide presentations, Excel files, professional development tools (face-to-face and virtual formats), and so on. These may be web-based, printed, or a combination.

Novelty items. These product formats are intended to raise attention and distribute limited information into people’s hands quickly. They also help users stay linked to a larger community of users. We typically think of novelty formats as conference or workshop give-aways (e.g., inscribed pens, posters, keychains, bookmarks, magnets, etc.). However, the format may be a novelty feature that makes a product unique and noteworthy (e.g., an easel back to a manual, a flip book of tips, a laminated desk guide that summarizes an approach, wallet-sized cue cards, and so on).

Public relations materials. These product formats help advertise your message. They create awareness and are designed to get you noticed. Examples include brochures, flyers, postcards, announcements, space ads, greeting cards, press releases, social media campaigns, and events (e.g., panel discussions, press conferences, etc.).

Multimedia formats. These product formats are used when your message is enhanced by seeing it and/or hearing it. Often, media compliments other products by providing multiple access points. Examples include websites, video programs (e.g., public service announcements, documentaries, vignettes, short ads, how-to demonstrations, original programming, etc.), audio programs (e.g., podcasts, toll-free messages, etc.), and social media. 
Choosing the Product Format—WEA Guides the Process
Armed with an understanding of various product formats, you are in a better position to choose which product format (or formats) is best for connecting your message with your audience. WEA has a successful track record in helping clients decide the best approach for influencing their audiences. We specialize in developing customized books, brochures, briefs, newsletters, annual reports, video scripts, multimedia products, and specialty publications—and have numerous examples of how each format can be maximized for the greatest impact.

When it comes to choosing the product format, WEA takes several factors into account.
  • Your message.
  • Your audience.
  • Your goal, purpose, and/or objective.
  • Your budget. 
While this analysis might add some time onto the project, WEA believes it is time well spent in ensuring that your ideas and information make a difference.

Choosing a product format that is a perfect fit with your message and audience is an important step in developing your product.