It’s not uncommon – at some point their careers – for technical writers to either want to or be asked to help with the marketing department’s communications needs. Whether it’s a permanent move or only temporary, such a change can seem a bit frightening for tech writers with little to no marketing background. But is it really that big of a leap to make the change? And can the willingness to be flexible help strengthen your career outlook?
In her article, Making the Transition from Techcom to Marcom, Christy Simard looks at the desirable traits technical writers have that can be put to good use in marketing, at the similarities between the two career paths and at managing both a permanent changeover and accepting marketing assignments within a documentation group to enhance its value.
Read: Making the Transition from Techcom to Marcom and then leave a comment below with your thoughts on transitioning from techcom to marcom, especially if you’ve had first-hand experience in doing so.
Related topic: Making the Transition from Technical Writer to Manager
No matter how much you might argue this: you sometimes don’t feel as excited as you once did about your business. It happens to everyone, and while it might come back, or be transmuted in some way, sometimes passion takes a back seat to strategy. Instead of having to recreate your passion, think about how you can use the passion of someone else to light the fire for your customers and your audience.
This is where outsourcing your marketing and sales writing needs can be very useful. Contract copywriters aren’t bored by the day-to-day mundane drudgery you may be feeling and they’re committed to creating the best possible work for you. (After all, that’s their job.)
For the past two-and-a-half years or so, Google has been tightening up its search ranking algorithms (Google’s “secret sauce” for determining where pages rank for a certain search query). Starting with the original Google Panda update in February of 2011 and continuing with multiple iterations of both Panda (largely related to on-page factors) and what Google calls its Penguin updates (largely related to incoming links) that continue today, a number of websites were hit hard with these changes. For the most part, many didn’t even know it had happened…but once they saw their website traffic take a hit and not recover, they went hunting for explanations.
Do all professional writers have a blog today? Do all professional writers NEED to have a blog today?
It seems that just yesterday, online writers were told to get into social media and to get into blogging. Then blogging sort of tapered off once EVERYONE was doing it. Still, it’s quite clear that the biggest voices across most industries are still blogging.
If you don’t join in, are you going to miss out?
Here’s what you should consider before you start blogging:
Going door to door is a much more effective way of selling than the written word – or at least it would seem that way. If you’re talking directly to a customer, you can see what they respond to, what they don’t respond to, and you can, well, get in their face about what you have to say.
Making your sales writing effective
Here’s what you need to do with your writing to make it a personal ‘call’ to the audience:
Everyone has a story, and every company has a story. If you’ve been hired as a marketing writer to create materials for an organization, you need to share that story. Not only do stories help people connect to a business, but they also help to create a story in which the customer’s experience can play a part in the story.
What does this mean? When Company A talks about how they grew from a small mom and pop business into a multi-million dollar company, it’s going to attract attention. If a writer includes details that that make this story stand out, the story becomes a part of the branding message and a way to learn more about how a company does business.
Editor’s Note: This was the feature article in this month’s TechCom Manager newsletter, reprinted here with permission. Click the previous link to subscribe to the newsletter.
by Rahel Bailie
Traditionally, various types of communications professionals could, and did, work in silos. Marketing communicators worked with sales and marketing professionals, technical communicators worked with engineering professionals, social media communicators worked with community managers, and so on. Content was considered a byproduct of a larger process. Publishing content was simply the end point of a business process. How each camp handled content followed very different processes and used very different software.
In some ways, it’s still the same. However, there has been more recognition that different types of content are connected, and more cross-over as communicators move across disciplines. What ends up being a surprise is when communicators move to the other side of the house and discover that the amount of control they have over content is very different from what they’re used to. Here, we’ll look at the two fundamental differences between how content gets managed through content management systems, demystify the processes, and discuss how to work around some of the limitations.
SEO used to be so easy, didn’t it? Once upon a time, you could simply add the ‘right’ words to your web copy and the right number of these ‘right’ words and you would get to the front page of a search engine results page. Well, it wasn’t quite that easy, but it was definitely easier than it is today.
How times have changed.
As the SEO rules continue to change, the writing for websites and web businesses becomes trickier. Gone are the days of a simple formula to follow, as we now enter an age of writing for an audience that is smarter and savvier. (Google is pickier.)
When you were in school, you had to write papers that were a certain page count, no matter if you ran out of things to say on page one or page ten of twenty. You simply babbled on about something that was related to the topic and you hoped it would work in your favor. Things are different online.
As you think about today’s online readers, you realize they don’t want to read a twenty-page missive about your newest product. They don’t have the time or their smartphone doesn’t display entire webpages easily. People want to learn more in less time. Your writing should keep this in mind – regardless if it’s copywriting or technical writing.
When you think about selling a product, you might first think about knocking on doors and trying to spread the word by showing the actual product to a customer. In today’s world of online retailers, this isn’t the normal sales situation, nor can it be with the global market. (That would be a lot of doors to knock on.) Instead, retailers are faced with the need to get their message across via websites and website copy.
The problem with website marketing is that since you can’t actually put the product in the consumer’s hand, you have to talk about the product. But with the influx of competition, everyone who sells widget X will list the same features and benefits.