Variations on a theme

You don’t always have to present information as a long, thoughtful article. Some people want a quick grab. In fact, a lot of people do. That’s why things like Top 10 lists, checklists and Frequently Asked Questions get a lot of clicks.

Best of all, those are all variations on a theme. If you have the information, you can present it any of the forms.

I can write an FAQ as:
Q: How often should I check the water level in my artificial Christmas tree stand?
A: Every third day at the start, but check it daily after a couple of weeks.

I can write the same thing as a Top 10 item:
1. Check the water in your artificial Christmas tree stand every third day at first, then daily after a couple of weeks.

Or as a checklist item:
• A dried-out artificial Christmas tree can be a fire hazard, especially if it’s strung with hot electric lights. Your tree may be soft and pliable when you first take it out of the box, but you may need to add water if you want it to stay that way. At first the water in the tree stand will last a few days before it needs a refill. But if you’ve had it up for a couple of weeks, give it a daily refill.

You could even do it as an infographic, with art of an artificial Christmas tree and text boxes that point at various parts.

The important thing is to make sure you start with solid information. As you read through my examples, for instance, it should have occurred to you that artificial Christmas trees don’t need water. In fact, the typical stand for an artificial tree wouldn’t have any place to put water even if you want to do so.

It’s OK if you display an artificial tree, but don’t hurt your readers with artificial information.




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