How do I know this? Well, a couple of months ago I saw a summary of my blog post on video cameras and SMEs mentioned in the STC Intercom's Cut & Paste section (shown below).
My original blog post wasn't really that interesting and, after discovering Jing, I would in no way use a video camera in place of Jing.
But that's no my point here. My point is, how did the Intercom editors at the Society for Technical Communication come across my blog? Are they regular readers? (Of course, everyone should be.) I shrugged my shoulders and didn't think more of it.
Then a couple of weeks ago, my friend Ben Minson, also a technical communicator, mentioned that a post on his blog -- "When Tech Writers Don't Read Directions" -- caught the attention of Intercom editors as well, and they asked to publish an excerpt in Intercom.
How did they discover Ben's blog, which is less than a month old?
I asked departing assistant Intercom editor Cecily Waters for insight on exactly who is keeping up with the blogosphere at STC headquarters. She said that the managing editor of Intercom has Google Alerts set for the words "technical communicator" and "Society for Technical Communication" and some other phrases.
With those keywords in mind, let's take a look at an excerpt from Ben's post:
The common perception that all technical writers do is produce instructional manuals isn't totally undeserved; after all, that is where the profession got its start. While the field of technical communication has branched out considerably, a technical communicator's job still involves giving directions of some sort. ... I violated the Unspoken Rule myself twice this week in regard to the Society for Technical Communication.
The keywords that set off the Intercom editor's Google Alert no doubt included technical communicator, technical writer, technical communication, and Society for Technical Communication.
(By the way, you can set up your own Google Alert here. I used have a few alerts, and they were actually quite accurate, especially if you're trying to track mention of your name or blog.)
When I write posts, I often change the title to reflect a more search-engine-optimized phrase by using the WordPress SEO plugin. Keyword optimizing your first and second paragraph with the same keywords increases the SEO even more.
Now you know the keywords that trigger alerts to the Intercom editor, currently Ed Rutkowski. In fact, if I had a unique name like Ed, I'd also set a Google Alert on that too.
Given the keywords I've spread all over this article, this post will probably trigger one of Ed's alerts. So Ed, if you're reading this, be sure to drop me a line and say hi.
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I'm a technical writer based in the California San Francisco Bay area. Topics I write about on this blog include technical writing, authoring and publishing tools, API documentation, tech comm trends, visual communication, technical writing career advice, information architecture and findability, developer documentation, and more. If you're a professional or aspiring technical writer, be sure to subscribe to email updates using the form above. You can learn more about me here. You can also contact me with questions.