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About the client

Paperlike is a company on a mission to change the way that digital artists interact with iPads.  Their flagship product is a screen protector that is applied directly to the glass surface of the iPad, replacing the slick screen with a surface that feels like paper.

For artists and notetakers, this is a game-changer.  Most artists start out drawing in a traditional medium — think sketchbook and pencil — before transitioning to screen after their skills have developed.  Paperlike gives these individuals a way to translate their skills from physical paper sheets to digital screens more effectively.

Because this tool is such a hit with the artist community, Paperlike regularly interviews artists to spotlight what can be done on the iPad.

I was hired to interview a variety of digital artists and write long-form content articles for the Paperlikers Insights blog.

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Creating the Interview

After speaking with the client, it became clear that both consistency and budget were major concerns.  No client has an infinite amount of cash on hand, and I believe in providing consistent pricing for consistent products.

Having done a number of interviews and similarly-styled content articles before, I suggested that we automate much of the production process to keep costs down.

For example, based on the type of content that we needed to create, I knew it was probable that we’d be asking each artist similar questions.  We’d want to know how they got started, what influenced them, and what they were doing with their artistic career.

Rather than creating a fresh interview from scratch every single time, I created a template that with all of the basic questions and used that each time I prepared for an artist interview.

While I still asked personalized questions to make each interview unique, this drastically sped up the time it took to generate an interview, thus eliminating unnecessary overages and wasted time from the budget.

I’d then send these questions in advance so that each artist had a chance to review the information before sitting down to talk.  From there, I connected with them via phone or Skype and conducted the interview in real time

Deciphering the Interview

I always record the call and take notes during an interview.  Taking notes as the conversation progresses helps me figure out how I want to style the finished content, and a live recording ensures that I never miss some critical piece of information.

When I take notes during an interview, I timestamp quotes, turns of phrase, and key topics on my notes so that I can refer back to the recording for direct quotes when writing the piece.

This is all part of deciphering the interview.  It’s very rare that I write content which translates exactly from the interview to the finished product.  Often, the interviewee will provide a few great details on the tenth question (near the end of the interview) that actually makes more sense to place near the beginning of the article.

It’s my job to review the conversation, construct a meaningful and engaging story from it, and build that into a content piece that my client can use.

The Finished Product

After completing the draft, I sent it to the artist for a final review.

I often do this so that the interviewee has a chance to modify their quotes before an article goes live.  (This isn’t something you’d do in traditional journalism, but totally fine for brand journalism and content marketing.)

After that, the article is nearly complete.  I often helped with a final step before the content was scheduled for publication: Placing the images throughout the piece.

As you might’ve guessed, writing a content article geared for digital artists need something more than words.  That’s where the images come in!

Before getting too deep into the production process, we always requested images from the artist to accompany the article and then worked with them to place those images throughout the piece in a way that made sense.

At the end of the process, Paperlike had an article they could share with their artistic community.  The artist could leverage the content for additional publicity and brand growth.

It’s a win all around.

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