About Ellis Pratt

Ellis Pratt is Sales and Marketing Director at Cherryleaf. You can follow Ellis on Twitter. Cherryleaf helps you provide technical and user documentation your customers will love - through our content development, recruitment, consultancy and training services. See the main Cherryleaf web site for more details.

Cherryleaf “green screen” videos

We’ve been putting together some short length videos that we can use on the Cherryleaf website. These are “quick and dirty”, three to four minute videos, shot behind in front of a green screen.

One explains why technical communication is changing:

Another looks at recruiting a Technical Author:

Each video takes a couple of hours to create, and we hope to add more over time.

Microsoft’s “No more robot speak” in action


Our post about how Microsoft is changing its writing style (Microsoft moves away from “robot speak” in its user documentation) generated a lot of interest, so I thought it might be useful to post some examples of it that we’ve spotted.

These examples are from Office 365 Premium Edition.

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Reframing technical communication as marketing

We’ve noticed a few slidedecks and blogs recently that have been looking at the value of technical communication in marketing a product successfully. With the trend towards earning revenues over a lifetime (rather than in a single upfront payment), the marketing strategies employed by organisations is changing.

Scott Abel has posted a slidedeck called “The Future of Technical Communication is Marketing”, which you can see below:

Acrolinx has also been posting blog posts on a similar theme, such as How Technical Communicators Help Build Customer Relationships and Building Customer Relationships: Why Content’s in the Driver’s Seat.

Marketing is becoming, particularly on the Web, about designing User Interfaces for prospects and for customers.

Technical Authors will need to understand how marketing is changing in order to understand and explain how they can add value to that activity.

Webinars – which topics would you like to see?

Our migration to new computers and IT systems went pretty smoothly last week, and we now have a new webinar system. This platform supports up to 250 delegates, who can attend via a Web browser or a desktop application.

It’s been a while since we ran webinars (these would be free), so it would be a good time to find out which topics people would be interested in us discussing. If you have any suggestions, please use the comment box below, or send us an email.

Adobe launches Tech Comm Survey 2014

We have been asked to forward this message regarding the launch of Adobe Tech Comm Survey 2014:

The purpose of the survey is to understand how you create, publish and distribute content; and how you measure the effectiveness of content. We want to understand which tools you use, how you use them and how they can be improved.

It does not matter if you use Adobe products or not. As long as you are a Tech Comm professional and want your voice to be heard, you can fill out the survey. Please spare 20 minutes of your precious time to fill out the survey and stand a chance to win one of the 20 exciting prizes!

Survey Link: http://survey.douwriteright.com/

Here is your opportunity to share your opinions, influence the direction of Adobe Tech Comm products and win some cool prizes.

We’re changing IT systems this week, and emails might be delayed in getting to us

We’re changing some of our IT systems this week, including our email system. This involves some changes to DNS and TXT records that may take a while to propagate around the Internet.

If you send us an email and it seems like we’re taking an unusually long time to reply, please feel free to call us on 0207 100 4513. If we detect any serious problems that might take days to fix, we have a backup alternative gmail account we can ask you to use temporarily instead.

What’s happening with the ISTC’s marketing?

I’ve had some time in the last few days to initiate some the ideas mentioned in my post Marketing the technical communication profession. This relates to improving the marketing of the Institute of Scientific and Technical Communicators. Most of the work we do for clients is confidential, so it’s a pleasant change to be able to talk about a project as it’s progressing.

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Marketing the technical communication profession

ISTC logoI’ve been asked to join the ISTC’s Council and take on the responsibility for marketing the organisation. The ISTC is is the largest UK body representing information development professionals (it’s the UK version of the STC or tekom), and this is a volunteer, unpaid, part time, role.

Happily, I’m building upon the work carried out by Rachel Potts (who was the previous ISTC Marketing lead) and other ISTC volunteers.

Increasing the awareness of the technical communication profession

In addition to encouraging people to join the ISTC, it’s important to increase awareness in the wider world of the profession. If the ISTC can encourage companies to use technical communicators, it’s likely there will be more technical communications who could potentially join the ISTC. This should also benefit Cherryleaf and others who provide technical writing services.

Below are some initial ideas I’ve had for how the ISTC can increase the awareness of the profession.

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