B2B Content | Write by Design

In Lean manufacturing, there’s a concept referred to as DFM, or design for manufacture. Occasionally, this idea is expressed as DB or DFB, design for build.

In simple terms, DFM means every part or product is designed with the cost, quality and efficiency of the manufacturing or build/assembly process in mind. The component must perform as specified, but through intelligent design, the manufacturer can reduce material, machining, assembly and application costs.

We use a modified version of this principle when we’re creating B2B content. In essence, we write by design.

The first step isn’t writing, it’s pinpointing how and where the information will be presented and what type of imagery will be used. (There are other considerations, of course, but those are topics for another day.)

After these design parameters are established, we tackle the process of creating precisely the volume of content that suits the medium, space, look, images and application.

This approach sometimes puzzles clients, who believe we’re putting the cart (design) before the horse (copy writing). Years of experience have taught me there’s little to no value and an extraordinary amount of time and cost associated with generating lots of copy that will never be used.

Let me share one quick example.

The client wanted a compact, six-panel brochure. With a short timeline and rapidly approaching deadline, we all felt the pressure to quickly move forward. Nonetheless, we focused first on creating a visual concept, developing a working layout and obtaining top-level approval.

Graphic and photo elements occupied roughly half of each panel in the final design, which left little space for copy. It was a challenge to fit the essential content into this space, but we hadn’t wasted time or the client’s money creating copy destined to end up on the cutting-room floor.

It sounds so obvious, doesn’t it? Are you building a website? Creating a brochure? Developing a success story or case study?

First, determine what the look, feel, layout and venue (print, digital, web) will be. Then, create content that fits neatly into the selected format and available space. Make every word carry its weight.

Try the write by design strategy and let me know how it works for you. I suspect you'll find you've created an end product that is crisp, effective and rich with only the details that matter most.

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