I received an email the other day from a podcast listener in Germany. K. writes,
Today, I've been listening to some of your podcasts which I had saved up, and I wanted to say thank you: You won't believe how invaluable they are to me - and I hope to many others as well.
As the lone tech writer at my company in Frankfurt, Germany, I'm missing out on community effects, for better or worse. And since I write documentation for software only and in English mostly, I feel more comfortable hanging around blogs like yours or Anne Gentle's or Sarah O'Keefe's than mingling with German tech writers in my area who write about heavy machinery or pharmaceuticals in German.
Thanks to the episodes with Scott Abel and Linda Oestreich, I'm firmly plugged into the latest trends and developments. Scott's made some excellent arguments that will actually help me to convince my boss that we should encourage user feedback to our blog (allowing users to help each other, even at 2 a.m. when we're fast asleep). Linda's vivid portrayal of her STC office gave me an intimate insight into how the STC actually works.
So thank you, Tom, I really appreciate you putting such effort into producing your podcast as I'm convinced that only such a conversational medium delivers this particular rich mix of excitement and reasoning. Your podcasts are an invaluable resource as I continually try to improve my TW skills and to stay up to date!
All the best, K.
P.S. I've even recommended the Zoom H4 to our choir director to streamline our rehearsal recording workflow after you'd written it up... :-)
I receive feedback on the podcast on a weekly basis from listeners. But given the recent controversial posts on the STC, I thought this email was especially relevant. K. gave me permission to post it.
Here are links to the resources he mentioned:
By the way, on the topic of podcasts, I think more chapters should focus on podcasts rather than virtual meetings. I recently presented in a virtual meeting for STC-Phoenix, and only about a dozen people showed up online. It wasn't recorded, and although I felt it went pretty well, the reach was small.
In contrast, podcasts offer time-shifted and location-shifted media. Listen anywhere, anytime. This is incredibly more convenient. Listen while you drive, or while you work out, or while you're reformatting that 250 page manual.
The average downloads for each podcast are about 250 to 500 downloads, which isn't actually that much, but our community is small and highly targeted. Downloads continue to accrue even for podcasts recorded 12 months ago.
If you're going to the STC Conference in Philly, be sure to attend my session on podcasting. I'll reveal all my secrets. At the very least, come up and say hello to me if you read my blog. I do have a cool business card I'm handing out.
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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.