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Technical writing is a commercial trade.

Can Content be Engineered; Can Writers be Certified?

tl;dr: We can apply engineering methods to content development, but we do not have the body of proven algorithms or known-good data to justify formal certification of communication professionals they way we have for doctors and engineers. We talk about content engineering. I call myself a content engineer sometimes. But can content really be engineered? Is […]

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Successful Patterns are the Best Guide to Information Design

This entry is part 2 of 4 in the series Topic Patterns

This entry is part 2 of 4 in the series Topic PatternsI am very grateful to Jonatan Lundin for a lengthy conversation on the subject of topic patterns because it helped me to crystalize something important about the basis for the principles of EPPO information design and how they are derived. Approaches based on psychology […]

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Reuse is a good tactic but a poor strategy

I’m hearing people talk more and more about developing a reuse strategy. This is troubling. Reuse is a tactic at best. It is not a strategy. At least, it is not a good strategy. Content strategy has an acronym COPE: Create Once, Publish Everywhere. But COPE can mean something a little different from tech comm’s […]

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Portrait with bookcase.

Content as Furniture

Summary: Content is no longer furniture; it is a utility. We have to learn to treat it as such. I am in the last throes of our move from Ottawa to Kitchener-Waterloo, Ontario, which involves moving a lot of content. Boxes and boxes of great heavy lumps of paper and ink content. Great gaping room-swallowing […]

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Short: good policy, bad metric

We seem to agonize endlessly over how long content should be. Metrics are regularly proposed for the perfect length of a blog post or content marketing piece, and the move towards topic-based writing has tech writers worrying about similar issues. Keeping content short is certainly good policy. No one wants to read more than they have […]

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