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Write an Awesome Draft

Learning Objectives

After completing this unit, you’ll be able to:

  • Explain the basics of voice and tone.
  • Explain the content development process.
  • Apply guidelines for writing effective, well-organized content.

Bring the Trailhead Vibe to Your Company

An enablement site is built on the Trailhead platform, and part of what makes the Trailhead platform unique is its voice and tone. At Salesforce, we take an informal, conversational approach when we write Trailhead content, regardless of the subject matter. We talk to learners about building app components with the same levity and verve we’d use to describe our latest scuba-dive excursion to friends. 

You can (and should!) do the same thing in your enablement site content. Your goal as a writer is to make every topic feel friendly and approachable.

Apply the Trailhead Structure

By now, you’re probably familiar with how Trailhead organizes content into trails, modules, and units. Your enablement site follows the same principle. So, if you’ve spent any time earning badges and points on Trailhead, you already understand how these pieces fit together. 

If your company has multiple content creators who contribute to your enablement site, it’s a good idea to establish some guidelines so that all content creators are structuring trails and modules consistently. When you give writers some standards to work with, it’s easier to keep everyone on the same page. 

As Pure Aloe begins to turn their carefully crafted content strategy into actual trails and modules, they establish these guidelines for all content creators who contribute to content for their enablement site. 

Content Type Minimum Maximum


2 modules per trail

7 modules per trail


2 units per module

5 units per module


500 words per unit

1,500 words per unit

Learning objectives

2 learning objectives per unit

5 learning objectives per unit

For the content inside each unit, writers are reminded to keep these tips in mind. 

  • Write clear, consistent, scannable headings.
  • Keep sentences and paragraphs short.

Clear, concise headings help learners see the structure of your content at a glance. And, short sentences and paragraphs are friendlier and more approachable than long blocks of dense text. 

Adopt Voice and Tone

Establishing a strong voice and tone helps you connect to your audience; it makes everything you say feel relatable. You can write the most crucial and compelling module, but if you aren’t speaking the language of your audience, your content loses its influence.

The art of writing conversationally starts with scrubbing jargon and buzzwords from your content and replacing them with words you use in everyday conversations with friends or colleagues. We think people learn best when the content isn’t full of jargon but sounds like it was written by an actual human.

So how do you establish a strong voice and tone? First, you have to understand the difference between the two.

Voice reflects your brand and personality. It's the things you say.

Tone is the way you speak. It's the way you say things.

At Salesforce, our voice and tone guidelines help us write in a concise, approachable way. Here are some things we tell our writers. 

Be direct

  • Get to the point.
  • Avoid complex sentence structures.

Be concise

  • Use as few words as possible to make your point.
  • Don’t add text if it’s not needed.
  • Avoid unnecessary or redundant information.

Be conversational

  • Use language that you would with a colleague. Think business casual.
  • Contractions are fine.

Be positive

  • Whenever possible, phrase sentences positively rather than negatively.
  • Positive: Salesforce consolidates your data across disparate systems.
  • Negative: Without Salesforce, your data is spread across disparate systems.

Be helpful

  • The reader needs something from your writing—it could be skills training, product information, or even just a clear click-through to another page.
  • Make sure your writing provides what the reader needs in a friendly, clear, and accessible way.

Remember how we said that voice reflects your brand and personality? Your personality doesn’t change. What does change is your tone, the way you say things, depending on what you’re writing about and who you’re writing for. For example, we’ve learned that salespeople who travel frequently and are pressed for time prefer short videos and podcasts—things they can listen to on the go—rather than reading lots of text. Developers appreciate it when we just get to the point. 

Once you’ve determined what audience you’re writing for, it won’t take much to shift gears and find the right tone to craft something that resonates. 

Tell a Compelling Story

Learning new things is fun, right? But you know what makes it even more fun (besides lots of confetti when you earn a badge)? A great story. Stories resonate with learners and make content more engaging and relatable. Research suggests that stories make learning "stick”—in fact, our brains are wired for storytelling. Narratives help us understand cause and effect and relate new knowledge to our previous experiences. 

As you write, try thinking in story terms. What’s the situation? Who are the characters? What's at stake? What problem are the characters trying to solve? What choices do they make to come up with a solution? 

If you really want your content to stick with your audience, then captivate them with a strong narrative, visual language, and relatable anecdotes.

Make Your Content Inclusive 

You want your content to be relatable, informative, and accessible to everyone. We believe that content should be inclusive—we want all of our diverse readers to feel they’re reflected in the content and that it resonates. When learners read our content, we want them to see themselves in the stories you tell. We want those stories to be positive and encouraging, and we want everyone to be seen in a positive light. We avoid violent or hateful language or imagery, and we steer clear of political content. We want our content to express respect for all identities, including culture, race, religion, ethnicity, sexual orientation, gender, disabilities, and age. We also work to ensure that our content is accessible to people with disabilities. For instance, we require that videos have closed captions and images include alternative text descriptions for individuals who use screen readers.

The Writing Process

This is how we do it: Writers outline their content goals. They draft something awesome and send it to their stakeholders for review. Stakeholders provide feedback, and writers revise. Rinse and repeat. This is what it looks like at Salesforce. 

A diagram 1. Create an outline 2. Review and Feedback 3. Draft a sample module 4. Review and Feedback 5. Submit first draft 6. Review and feedback 7. Draft remaining units or modules 8. Final edits and feedback.

Outline Your Content

You’re ready to draft your outline. This is the time you lock down your target audience, decide what you want the content to accomplish, and determine what the learner should take away from your content. 

Start by writing learning objectives at the beginning of each unit. The learning objectives are a list of actionable takeaways learners should be able to accomplish after reading the unit. (Tip: Start each learning objective with an imperative verb.) For instance, if you’re writing a module about how to walk dogs, your learning objectives for the first unit might look something like this. 

After completing this unit, you’ll be able to:

  • Put a leash on an overly excited dog.
  • Identify the best dog-walking routes.

Use those learning objectives to map to your topics in the unit. We recommend including images, videos, resource links, and other assets to help create a more engaging experience. 

Once you’ve outlined your units, with topics and detailed plans for images, then circulate the outline to your stakeholders, and incorporate their feedback to create the final plan. 

When you’re ready to write your first draft, refer to your outline to help keep your points on track and your narrative focused. Go ahead and start writing your introduction—be conversational as you explain things, and be creative. 

Quick copy self-check:

  • Is your copy clear, focused, and positive? Have you verified any facts and claims?
  • Would someone you love (a friend, spouse, or parent) who doesn’t work at your company understand what you wrote?
  • When you read what you wrote, does it make you smile?
  • When you read your copy, are you excited to learn—and do—more?

Start with Content Templates

You don’t always have to start with a blank page. To help you get some content published quickly, we’ve worked with Salesforce experts and writers to develop a library of content templates: modules that are already written,ready to be imported into Trailmaker and customized quickly. Our content templates cover a wide range of topics, including both in-demand business skills and essential soft skills for modern workforces.

Visit our Content Templates hub, complete a quick form and gain access to our growing library of content templates. 

Screenshot of the Content Templates landing page.


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