A directory of resources inthe field of technical communication.


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What's Your Position in the Client's Mind?

Marketing, copywriting and design are a triangle. They influence each other. Marketing however, is the key element as your copywriting and design should be based on previous marketing research.Even if you do not deal with marketing and you are only designing, you should know some basics of marketing because your designs are still influenced by the message and the image your company or client is trying to communicate.

Bruno, Elisabetta. Elisabetta Bruno (2005). Design>Information Design>Marketing


When Customers Want You to Close the Sale

The voice of commerce grates terribly online when it is misplaced. When I'm reading someone's weblog, I do not want to be offered the opportunity to buy a t-shirt or baseball cap.

Usborne, Nick. ClickZ (2002). Design>Web Design>Usability>Marketing


When Metaphors Fail to Keep Their Distance

Was I being too literal when I made the following change? I don't think so. A name-brand financial columnist wrote the following paragraph in a piece about Web-based credit cards: Most issuers mail you a plastic card, usually a MasterCard or Visa, which you also can use in stores. At Citibank, however, plastic has become uncool. Instead, it's offering ClickCredit, a virtual card (www.clickcredit.com). It acts like a credit card, but exists only in Citi's computer. You use it solely for making purchases on the Web. The problem is, I have one of these Citibank cards, and while it's true that it's not an ordinary credit card that you carry around in your wallet and use at stores, it's also true that the ClickCredit people do mail you a card, and it's made of plastic.

Walsh, Bill. Slot, The (2001). Articles>Style Guides>Marketing>Tropes


Whither Your Business? In Pursuit of Policy and Procedure Assignments   (PDF)

If work coming in the door is not bringing in enough income or is just not satisfying, it may be time to cultivate new clients. However, moving into an unfamiliar field presents a new set of challenges. How do you navigate your way into that field? How do you demonstrate your credentials? A step-by-step method does exist. It requires research to identify the right niche and more research to focus on the right customers. Only after sufficient information has been gathered is action appropriate.

Smith, Gem. STC Proceedings (1998). Careers>Freelance>Marketing


Who and What are You, and Why Should Anyone Care? Shaping, Telling and Retelling Your Organizational Story

In the waning weeks of 2004, discussion of integrated communication is, to paraphrase my teenage daughter, “so yesterday.” Like cascading communication, any talk today about integrating organizational communication is on par with contemplating one’s navel. Integrated communication should be a given for any organization. What is integrated communication and why is it so passé? To have a chance at being heard in today’s cluttered environment, all facets of the organization’s story need to be coordinated and consistent. No matter where you touch that organization, the story must be the same.

Grates, Gary F. Communication World Bulletin (2004). Articles>Business Communication>Public Relations>Marketing


“Whose Brochure is This, Anyhow?”—An In-House Writer’s Guide to Working with an Ad Agency   (PDF)

Even if you’re part of a strong “in-house” marketing communications group, sooner or later your company is likely to hire an advertising agency. Whether they’re brought on board for a specific project or to provide ongoing services, the idea of working with these flashy, high-dollar outsiders can make you feel threatened, frustrated, or jealous. It doesn’t have to be that way. With a little time, understanding, and effort, you can come to see the ad agency’s team as allies in getting your work done—and advancing your own career.

Sutherland, Sam. STC Proceedings (1995). Presentations>Collaboration>Marketing


Will Plain-Text Ads Continue to Rule?

Text-only advertisements work far better than banners, but is this only due to their novelty? Search engine text ads will retain their superiority over time, but text ads on other sites will work only if they focus on directly meeting users' needs.

Nielsen, Jakob. Alertbox (2003). Design>Web Design>Marketing>Usability


With the Latest Software, Track How Your Readers are Interacting With Your E-Newsletter

While webmasters have long been able to study how site visitors interact with a web site, e-mail has been more elusive. No more. With the latest generation of smart e-mail software, marketers can now essentially look over the shoulders of their readers, seeing first-hand what works, what needs improvement and what is simply falling on deaf ears.

Dysart, Joe. Communication World Bulletin (2005). Articles>Business Communication>Marketing>Email


Writing Effective Brochures: What Goes Where? Part 1

If a brochure is ineffective, it's rarely the fault of an awkward phrase or unexciting adjective. Most paper-based brochures that fail, fail right in the planning stages. This article presents one method of organizing information for a three-panel (2-fold) 8  by 11 brochure.

Bennaco (2004). Articles>Writing>Marketing


The Writing of Marketing Materials as Technical Communication   (PDF)

Writers of marketing materials seem to be stepchildren at best in the family of technical communication. Yet one cannot engage in writing effective marketing materials about technical products or services without being a technical communicator. And the more "typical" technical writer--such as an author of documentation--will perform better when she understand-s the marketing component of her work. We will serve the marketing communicator and his technical writer counterpart well by breaking down the barrier that seems to exist between the disciplines.

Baker, Dina. STC Proceedings (1993). Articles>Business Communication>Marketing>Writing


XML and Marketing Materials

Marketing materials are always important, and in these difficult times, they are critical to the success of the organization, and there are huge pressures to do more with less and for less money. Enter XML. XML is often perceived as complex, rigid and horrible to work with (geeky, technical) — anathema to the average marketing communications author. But this is no longer true. XML and the tools that support them have matured to the point where the XML is hidden, much in the same way RTF is hidden from the average Microsoft® Word author. Using XML for marketing materials provides considerable benefits, including consistent messaging, reduced time to create content, reduced costs to maintain content, reduced translation costs, and powerful multichannel conversion capabilities. XML is creating a profound shift in the way we create, manage, deliver and control marketing materials. It is a shift that is resulting in significant ROI and increased levels of success.

Rockley, Ann. Rockley Group, The (2009). Articles>Content Management>Marketing>XML


XML for Creative Content and Page Layout Applications

While technical documentation has traditionally been the domain for structured authoring, there is increasing interest in using XML for more “creative” materials such as sales brochures and marketing collateral. Such pre-sales materials often have even more compelling opportunities for single-sourcing and reuse than technical documents. Up to now, these materials have been produced one at a time in page-oriented publishing systems like Adobe InDesign and Quark. While this provides maximum flexibility in controlling exact page layouts, it can create a nightmare when small changes must be replicated across all the independent pages and documents. Why can’t we use XML to more flexibly handle this kind of content? In fact, we can! Using page formats from real marketing content, this whitepaper demonstrates how XML tools can be used to maintain highly graphical sales collateral, web pages, and product catalogs from a single source of XML information.

Severson, Eric. IDEAlliance (2004). Articles>Document Design>Marketing>XML


You Can Create Effective Marketing Materials: A Technique for the Technical Writer   (PDF)

Technical writers can create effective marketing materials by following a six-step process. First, interview your customer to define the audience, usage venue, goal (desired audience action), benefits of the product, any obstacles or competition it faces, and the strategy and means to attain the goal. Next, work with the designer to determine the major elements of the piece. Then write a text that reflects a buyer’s typical mental process. The writer then supports the designer in creating a model or “comp” of the intended finished product. Writer and designer pitch the comp to the customer to obtain changes and final approval. The last step is to let go!

Bradley, Gerald A. STC Proceedings (1995). Articles>Writing>Marketing


You Get What You Pay For: What's Your Business Image Worth?

Unfortunately it seems that more and more companies are choosing the lowest price in deciding which white paper writer to engage. Why would a business that would never bat an eyelash paying for a high-quality website, choose the low price provider for a white paper?

Kantor, Jonathan. WhitePaperSource (2006). Articles>Writing>Marketing>White Papers


"You're a Guaranteed Winner": Composing "You" in a Consumer Culture   (peer-reviewed)   (members only)

This article explores the functional elegance of direct mail as it constructs its target audience. More specifically, it examines direct mailings included in a nationally publicized court case involving Publishers' Clearing House and articulates how the use of particular genre-based, rhetorical and linguistic strategies in these mailings construct reader identity. It argues that the documents use you-attitude to construct the identity of the reader as winner, implied reader devices to reinforce the reader's identity as winner and to establish the reader's identity as the writer's friend, and linguistic politeness strategies to build feelings of solidarity of the reader toward the writer. It concludes with the observation that the direct mail in our study, rather than being "junk," is really a skillfully written set of documents, successfully interweaving various discourse strategies and raising both ethical and professional issues in the process.

Ewald, Helen Rothschild and Roberta Vann. JBC (2003). Articles>Business Communication>Marketing>Rhetoric


Your Agency's Clients Deserve the Truth -- Can You Handle It? The Digital Age Will Force You to Give Up Pseudo-Science and Rules of Thumb

If you aren't yet, get really digital, really fast. Don't just hire some kid out of college that knows .NET or PHP and talks of something called Cold Fusion. No, go find one of those really expensive geeks that has been in the biz for a while. Then get out of their way.

Martin, Tom. Advertising Age (2009). Articles>Business Communication>Management>Marketing


Your Customer is a Search Engine

While consumer confidence in advertising is at an all-time low their confidence in search engines is growing. Why? Search engines offer consumers what advertising does not: relevance.

Janisch, Troy. Icon Interactive (2004). Articles>Internet>Marketing>Search


Your Own Best Ad: Promoting Yourself as a Contractor

Most contractors can't afford the time or money to advertise. If they can, there probably aren't many places where an ad would reach potential clients anyway. By default, then, your reputation as a contractor rests on your behavior at each job. Leave a happy client behind at the end of each job, and you'll soon start a word-of-mouth campaign that will keep you employed the rest of your working life.

Byfield, Bruce. TECHWR-L (2008). Careers>Consulting>Freelance>Marketing


Your Website: An Extended Infomercial?

Your website serves as an opportunity to give your new contacts a deeper understanding of what your business can do for them.

Bennaco (2004). Design>Web Design>Marketing


The Zen of Craigslist   (PDF)

During a recent move, the author not only acquired and sold many items via Craigslist (www.craigslist.com), but gained insights about herself as well as running her business.

Frick, Elizabeth G. 'Bette'. Intercom (2006). Articles>Business Communication>Marketing>Online


Align All Your Messaging With This Simple (and Fun) Tool

Maybe you think that your company is too big, too loosely structured, or too [fill in the blank]. Don’t throw up your hands. Tools exist that can help you bring your organization’s messaging into alignment. One such tool favored by many content strategists – a surprisingly simple but powerful tool – is the message architecture.

Johnston, Marcia Riefer. Content Marketing Institute (2016). Articles>Content Management>Content Strategy>Marketing


Metadata 101 for Content Marketers: Your Questions Answered

Metadata is information that expresses context and meaning about something. For example, when you show me a photo of yourself eating ice cream, I can see that it’s you eating ice cream, but I may not be able to tell where you got it, what flavor it was, what time of year it was, who took the photo, and other things like that unless you explicitly tell me. Metadata helps content creators provide better connections so they can reveal related content to their audience, and it makes those connections much more precise.

Linn, Michele. Content Marketing Institute (2015). Articles>Content Management>Marketing>Metadata



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