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Timeless TechComm Tips - STC New England Interchange Keynote 2020


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This is the keynote presentation for the STC New England Chapter Interchange Conference. It discusses ways for technical communicators to add value and celebrate the victories.

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Timeless TechComm Tips - STC New England Interchange Keynote 2020

  1. 1. ed marsh stc interchange april 24, 2020
  2. 2.  26-year technical writer ▪ content strategist @ major financial firm ▪ stc associate fellow 2020(!) ▪ content content podcast – ▪ lavacon podcast - ▪ stc “speaking of techcomm” podcast co-host ▪  @edmarsh
  3. 3. This is the moment we’ve been waiting for!
  4. 4. you are more than “just a writer” Technical communicator Librarian Translator Detective
  5. 5. technical communication is a customer service role • helping people do their job • accommodating new and existing content • quickly responding to user requests and updates
  6. 6. help your technical support teams  are there recurring topics that can be addressed?  share best practices/war stories  create connections  break down silos!
  7. 7. what’s in it for me
  8. 8. why does it matter? how does it help me? how much of my (physical and mental) bandwidth does this take? what are the benefits to my team/company/? what are the costs/risks? how many resources does this require? how many resources does this alleviate?
  9. 9. governance is not a dirty word retain knowledge
  10. 10.  find out how your users write and think  are you speaking the same language as your users?  are you considering misspellings/typos?  are there additional keywords you can add?  generate new topics
  11. 11. robohelp and madcap both have analytics products
  12. 12. git (version control) doesn't work well with pdfs pdfs are evil on mobile just because a spec requires pdf, it doesn’t mean that your users want it
  13. 13. let go of the words (sorry, ginny redish)
  14. 14. the number of words you write is not a measure of success (MoS) or Objectives and Key Results (OKRs) delivery and engagement are management (and the bottom line) doesn’t care if you use two spaces after a period, or if you use ‘displays’ or ‘appears’
  15. 15. bots voice (Alexa/Siri/OK Google/IoT) more!
  16. 16. “chunks, not blobs” -karen mcgrane
  17. 17. flare/framemaker/robohelp/webhelp outputs are all: • html • css • javascript
  18. 18. docs as code use the same tools your developers do • text editors (ms vs code, notepad++) • unstructured languages • markdown/asciidoc/restructuredtext • oXygen xml editor has built-in md conversion • github/gitlab/microsoft azure • slack/ms teams • there are stc-related slacks if you want to get your feet wet
  19. 19.  news  breaking  industry  conference coverage  research  what are your customers doing/thinking?  what are their pain points?  what are your competitors doing?  crowdsourcing  anyone know why x is crashing when y?  what’s best practice for x?  you can answer questions, too!
  20. 20.   @edmarsh    
  21. 21. yes, please.