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Unencumbered, Numbered Words: Creating (to Your Heart's) Content

Written by: Mariah Shanice Basa
May 8, 2015 • 4-minute read

understanding content writing

Writing, essentially, is communication.

It's the basic language of understanding: any well-crafted piece of writing that transcends the bounds of time and space to deliver a message with pinpoint accuracy. Words, when used right, can be very powerful things.

This principle illuminates the path of StraightArrow's Content Marketing team. We produce all forms of content -- from witty one-liners for print ads to highly technical eBooks -- with one thing in mind: to make sure that our words hit all the right spots. How do we do it? With the help of research (lots of it), caffeine, and lots of music.

What happens before all this?

Let me tell you the story of a day.

Her day begins with a cup of coffee, thirty minutes before the shift starts. It could be coffee with breakfast, or coffee with a cigarette, but always, always with coffee. Some days begin with coffee, sunshine and silence; some with coffee, sunshine, and talk. The day moves further with each sip (and/or drag), and then it's time to go up and start working.

She puts her earphones on and greets the day with music in her head. Today, it’s The Beatles’ “Dear Prudence.” Lennon croons about the beginning of a brand new day, as she checks her emails for new job requests, tasks, and other important matters. As the tempo picks up, she gathers her instruments: wit, imagination, research, and reference material. 

The next song on her playlist pops up as she marches on to today’s battle for the perfect string of sentences. “La la la la, l-listen closer to the words I lay/ la la la la, it's all about the wordplay,” Jason Mraz sings. She nods, understanding. The ones she lays? Headlines and slogans that resonate -- ones that stick, and ones that would make anyone stop, look, and think.

Imagination is like the cherry on top of the ice cream that is her day. It’s something that she has in abundance. “Let us create,” her favorite band Jukebox the Ghost says, “let us create what we need each other to be.”

She draws the buyer persona in her mind. She talks to them about the problems they might be having. She assures them: "I understand, and if you want, I know someone who could help." She imagines how the client sees the business, and uses words to bridge the distance between the client and their potential customers. For this, she uses metaphors: life’s little reminders that experiences -- personal as they may be -- need not be misunderstood.

We use research, because information is the structure of writing. Research is a central part of her day -- for blog articles, eBooks, and white papers, among other things. Research is essential in revisions, too. With the help of other specialists, she is able to align her sentences to the needs and concerns of both the buyer persona and the client. She does research when she’s proofreading, to sharpen her feel for the right phrases, to make sure that no phrase ungrammatical or ill-formed makes its way to the final copy. She needs research to make sure that the message gets out there, so crystal clear it sparkles.

“Show me dear, something I’ve not seen / Something infinitely interesting.” Sipping her coffee, she listens to Incubus, poring through an endless supply of reading material, both for fun and learning. She has her favorite writers, favorite columnists, and favorite go-to website for articles. When she reads, she always learns—she appreciates, absorbs, and uses everything she has gathered to develop her own style.

The day ends with a bunch of finished articles, or a huge chunk of an e-book. Words with a purpose, words that would be read, words that would reach someone’s consciousness. Words that would affect.

And she stretches, thinking about Mraz’ unencumbered, numbered words -- all in a day’s long and fulfilling work.


StraightArrow believes that every brand has a story worth telling. Contact us - we're here to tell yours to the world.

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Mariah Shanice Basa
Mariah Shanice Basa



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