Edit a playbook

Business Benefits

Condense language, optimize instructions and ensure that playbooks meet CXL’s content, style, and formatting requirements.


Check that the use case refers to the business benefits of the task and not just rephrase of the title

  1. The use case should complete the sentence, “Your business will be able to…”
  2. The bad example below reads like a short blog post introduction. Distill this further like the option below it.

Check that every step can be executed without using the step explanations.

  1. The step should not be a summary of or heading for the explanations.
  2. Do not bury vital details in an explanation.

  1. If a step is a summary of the explanations underneath, condense that information and move it from the explanation into the actual step.
  2. Each step should be a concrete, detailed action that starts with a present-tense verb. (Watch this video for more details.)

Replace vague directives with specifics and examples.

  1. For example, instead of “Inventory your website,” write “Create a spreadsheet with URLs and page titles for every page of your website.”
  2. Adjectives usually signal the need for greater clarity. “Create a high-level overview of everything you want to cover in the post.” What is “high-level”? A better version would be “Create an outline with a title, headers, and key bullets for each subtopic.”
  3. If specifics are not available in the source material, flag the unclear portion for the editor to review.

Omit obvious actions like “Type your name in the name field,” “Click continue,” etc.

Remove jargon and simplify word choice.

For example, instead of “utilize,” write “use.”

Check the playbook for images and ask the author to correct the images if they do not meet accessibility requirements.

  1. Don’t use a graphic that’s all text - transcribe it.
  2. Images should always be explained in the step, rather than just pointing the reader to an image (they might not be able to read it).
  3. For example sometimes the author needs to use screenshots of spreadsheets to give the reader an example of how to follow the instructions, but make sure these are high-quality images (if the text is blurry when you increase the zoom, it’s not good enough), and ideally add alt text that explains the exact layout and important content.
  4. Add useful alt text to every image. Imagine not being able to see it at all. What would you need to know so that you could reconstruct it in your imagination? If the image doesn’t seem important enough for the effort of alt text, reconsider putting it in.

Focus steps on the actions someone takes, not concepts they learn.

  1. Steps that start with “know,” “understand,” or “keep in mind” are rarely useful. What does someone do with that knowledge? That’s the step.
  2. For example, instead of “Keep in mind that some channels are more valuable than others,” write, “Go to the Acquisition > Channels report in Google Analytics to identify which channels generate the most traffic.”

Remove any introduction or conclusion that’s not part of the use case, a step, or a step explanation.