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What stages will you go through?

How will you actually go about producing your information? It's never as simple as just sitting down to write it.

Below is an example of a standard production process.

Project plan

Your project plan is where you lay out exactly what you want to do and how. Thinking through all the issues at an early stage will make the production process much smoother and mean that everyone involved will be singing from the same hymn sheet. You can use the 'Project Plan Builder' to help you put your own plan together.

Outline

Your writer, perhaps in conjunction with an expert, should produce an outline showing a proposed structure for your information resource, including an overview of the main areas you want to cover. You may want to send your outline to intermediaries or other sections of your organisation for comments.

Drafts

The next stage is to flesh the outline out and produce a first draft. This draft can be sent to colleagues and intermediaries for comments. A second draft should be produced based on their feedback.

Pilot a draft with users (see How will you ensure it meets the needs of your audience?). As well as making the information more useful for readers, piloting helps you to resolve any contentious issues and avoid unforeseen problems.

Peer review

Once you have a draft you're happy with, you need an expert to check it for accuracy. This shouldn't be someone who was involved in the production of the information. Generally, if you've engaged experts and intermediaries earlier in the process there won't be many surprises at this stage (although there is always room for a difference of opinion).

You may need to pay an expert to take on this role, but sometimes voluntary organisations or government departments are happy to do this as part of their job.

Depending on the issue, you may also want to check the information for tone (see What sort of tone is most appropriate?).

Pre-publication final check

You should also carry out a final check of contact details like addresses, telephone numbers, and URLs, as these may have changed during the writing process.

Order your copy of the handbook - FREE!

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Contact us to order you copy of the Better Information handbook. We'll only charge you postage and packing. Alternatively you can download the Better Information Handbook (1.4 MB). Or contact us for the handbook in an alternative format.

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