Earlier this year we took on a copywriting for social media training for a team of experienced in-house social media managers. The goal was not to teach them how to write, but to enrich and enhance their creative writing, especially for digital and social media. Our philosophy at In2 is to build internal capacity in teams, not to build long term dependencies on agencies and freelancers, so this project was a great fit for us.
When I asked the team what their main challenges were in developing social media content, the overarching response was that they struggled with vocabulary and using different copy to ‘say the same thing’ and to promote or sell the same product in different ways.
As trainers and professional communicators, we know that you can’t increase someone’s vocabulary overnight or change someone’s writing style in a week. It takes time, and more importantly, practice. Lots of it.
When we train, we don’t merely teach or explain how to do something, it’s all about giving learners the information, tools and tips to develop these skills themselves and we guide them in the process.
As Maria Montessori said: “Growth comes from activity, not from intellectual understanding”. And this is so true for writing.
To make the training last beyond the face to face sessions and to make sure the programme delivered the right impact, we focused on providing tools to use in their daily work, either individually or as a team, to continue to enrich their creative writing. Besides useful tools such as Test Your Vocab and Grammarly, we explored the use of games in copywriting.
Games don’t just make learning more fun, they’re also an effective way of stimulating creativity. Our aim was for the training to continue naturally as part of the team’s daily routines without impacting their already busy schedules.
With the games and tools provided, teams can do effective vocab building exercises, engage in productive peer reviews and tackle the common writers block phenomenon.
Here are some of our favorite games to explore:
- Practice your storytelling with Rory’s Story Cubes®: https://www.storycubes.com/play
- Create a six-word story: http://www.sixwordstories.net
- Play Charades (you can play this with chosen vocabulary themes instead of the traditional categories): http://charadespro.com
- Host a Big Brand Brainstorm:
- Activity 1: Brainstorm a list of 25 words that could be used to describe a chosen brand/product/service you’re working on - be as specific to the values and personality of that brand, product or service as possible
- Activity 2: Pick 10 of the words from activity 1 and see if you can come up with useful synonyms, collocations or word play for each of the chosen words
- Create your own cross word puzzle: www.puzzlefast.com . Once the puzzle is solved, give teams the task to tell a story using as many of the words in the crossword as possible
- Word Scramble: Pick 4-5 words that relate to a brand, project or theme you’re working on, prepare a set of letter tiles for each of the words and mixed them up and get participants to unscramble the words