How technical content on the Web is turning traditional marketing strategy on its head

Kathy Sierra famously summed up most marketing departments’ approach to content in this slide:
kathy sierra - How we treat customers

To paraphrase her, the website and brochure are a thing of beauty, while the user manual is a thing of boredom.

Today, the way people use the Internet means this approach to marketing needs to change

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Write and own your content, or someone will write and own it for you

Don't ignore your customers. flickr image by Ron PloofAdrian Baniak has written an article (3 Ways to Engage with Today’s Empowered Consumer) about how brands can “cut through the clutter” and communicate with their customers and prospect. He states one of the key ways to do this is “Write Your Own Tale, Or Someone Else Will Do It First”.

This mantra was originally made by Lisa Shalett, a partner at Goldman Sachs, and the global head of brand marketing and digital strategy. Continue reading

Panel discussion: Assisting the Millennial User – challenges and opportunities in the decade ahead

Cherryleaf’s Director of Sales and Marketing, Ellis Pratt will moderating the panel discussion “Assisting the Millennial User – Challenges and Opportunities in the Decade Ahead“, which is part of the free Adobe Day at the UAEurope Conference 2013. On the panel will be Chris Despopoulos, Craig Clark, Dave Gash, David Farbey, Matthew Ellison, Paula Stern and Willam van Weelden. This free event will be held Wednesday, 12th June, 12:00pm to 5:00pm

New case study – Helping HCC deal with the size and complexity of embedded systems documentation

You’ll find a new case study on the Cherryleaf Web site: Helping HCC deal with the size and complexity of embedded systems documentation.

HCC Embedded is a high tech software corporation that develops specialist software for deeply embedded systems, such as file systems, USB and networking software.

HCC_logo

Dave Hughes, CEO of HCC, realised that with over 100 different modules to be documented, often with inter-dependent content and frequent updates, managing the documents in Microsoft Word had become unmanageable and untraceable.

HCC’s documentation assists users developing with the products, and it plays an important role in the marketing of HCC’s products to developers. This means keeping a consistent format and brand across all this material is critical to the organization.

For the rest of the case study, see Helping HCC deal with the size and complexity of embedded systems documentation.

Webinar – Planning user documentation when you’re a startup business

We’re currently working on 40 minute webinar on:

  • Planning user documentation when you’re a startup business

If you have any questions on this topic, you can email these to us prior to the event. We’ll do our best to make sure we address them in the webinar.

Send us an email with your question

Details on the date for this webinar will be published in the Events section of the Cherryleaf Web site.

 

“Engaging your readers in the documentation. How and why social media?”

Sarah Maddox (Technical Writer, Atlassian) is another champion of engaging readers through technical documentation.

Here is a video of her presentation to the Atlassian User Group Wiesbaden. It’s called “Engaging your readers in the documentation. How and why social media?”

See also

Measuring the value of Help in desktop applications

One of the challenges for Technical Authors is quantifying the value of what they produce. For example, how can you tell how many people are reading online Help when the software is installed on someone’s desktop computer? One application mentioned in passing as last week’s UAEurope conference, ApplicationMetrics, might be able to provide the answer.

ApplicationMetrics collects usage and platform data, behind the scenes. It’s a product that is no longer being developed any more, but you can still download it. It may enable you to collect “operational funnel” data that’s similar marketing funnel data – test and track whether users are going to the help and resolving their issues.

 

Come and speak at our “Trends in Technical Documentation” talks

Cherryleaf is curating and hosting a programme of talks on trends in technical documentation. At these sessions, there’s a presentation from a respected member of the Technical Communication profession, plus the opportunity to network with your peers.

We’re looking for people who would like to present a case study or share their view of the future trends in technical communication with their peers. It’s a great place to practice a presentation you’re preparing for a conference later in the year.

Each talk is hosted by Cherryleaf in central London, and lasts approximately two hours. Spaces are limited to 12 delegates.

The first talk was held on 24/1/2012: on What will be the future for Technical Communicators if everything ‘just works’?

The second talk is likely to be on technical authoring in The Cloud (if we can find an additional speaker).

If you’d like to explore the idea of speaking at one of these talks, then contact us and we’d be happy to discuss it with you.