The Increasing Momentum of Content Strategy

Content strategy is a topic more and more technical communicators are talking about. It's one of the dominant conversations in the field right now. David Farbey recently presented on Content Strategy for Everyone at Tech Comm UK. Rahel Bailie talked about Creating a Content Strategy at the Lavacon conference. Scott Abel continually talks about content strategy -- see this video series on content strategy he did with MindTouch. When I was ...

Eight Defining Questions that Shape Content Organization [Organizing Content #29]

Findability / organizing content 1.0 New Series: Organizing Content [Organizing Content 1] 1.2 Introducing Project Swordfish [Organizing Content 2] 1.3 Things Fall Apart, The Centre Cannot Hold [Organizing Content 3] ...

Students Contemplate Whether a Technical Writing Career Will Be Fulfilling

For the past couple of years in October, I've gone up to Brigham Young University Idaho to talk to students at their professional writing conference. I'm going up there again this year. In preparation, I asked my colleague who teaches there whether students still think of technical writing as a sellout/fallback career, or whether they're more seriously preparing for an actual career in technical writing. My colleague responded: They've ch...

Visuals Engage Users -- Why Aren't There More Illustrations in Help Content? [Visual Imagination #1]

At the last STC Summit in Dallas, one of the most attended sessions was Don Moyer's Building Visual Explanations: Practical Advice for Writers. I was recently listening to the recording of the session. I've been feeling more and more lately that I need to develop my visual imagination. Illustrating concepts isn't difficult, Moyer said. The hard part is coming up with the idea of the illustration, the napkin sketch. The rest is just "fancy...

Organizing Content for Constructivist Learning [Organizing Content #28]

Findability / organizing content 1.0 New Series: Organizing Content [Organizing Content 1] 1.2 Introducing Project Swordfish [Organizing Content 2] 1.3 Things Fall Apart, The Centre Cannot Hold [Organizing Content 3] ...

Substandard Wages for Technical Writers: A Growing Trend?

Substandard wages for senior technical writers This week's question comes from Mary in New York: I am a loyal reader of your blog and have gained more from it than all the seminars and continuing ed courses I've taken--which cost me a good chunk of my salary. Recently, I've noticed a disturbing trend which I hope you might consider blogging about. I'm an experienced technical writer currently looking for work, and I've been contacted by s...

Is Rhetoric Relevant? Considering the "Message in Context" [Organizing Content #27]

Findability / organizing content 1.0 New Series: Organizing Content [Organizing Content 1] 1.2 Introducing Project Swordfish [Organizing Content 2] 1.3 Things Fall Apart, The Centre Cannot Hold [Organizing Content 3] ...

WordPress Tip: The Concept of Inheritance with CSS

This screencast addresses the concept of inheritance in CSS.

WordPress Tip: Change Your Post Title Color

This screencast addresses how to change your post title color in WordPress using CSS.

Why No One Will Hire You: 40 Professionals Give Advice on Improving a Technical Writer's Resume [Collaborative Post]

A reader asks, Is my resume so awful that no one will hire me? I mean, I'd been laid-off so long it's pitiful really. His resume is here. I opened up this question up to my friends on Twitter and to those who follow my blog. About 40 professional technical writers responded with all kinds of resume advice. The overall trend in the responses is for the writer to add more detail to his resume, to expand on his education, tools, online pr...

Downloading Audio from the STC Summit

The Summit @ a Click offering for STC Summit attendees allows you to download the audio and slide recordings of the majority of the sessions. However, most people don't know how to download just the audio. In this screencast, I show you how to download the MP3 file from each session.

WordPress Tip: Changing the Styles on Your WordPres Blog

You can change the styles on your site easily by using Firebug and the Web Developer Extension. Both of these are extensions for Firefox. Using these two tools, you can find out what styles control the various elements of your site and then make the appropriate changes. I also explain how to add your new or updated styles to the right css file so that they overwrite the previous styles declared in other stylesheets.

Instructional Design Versus Technical Communication

Today I was trying to learn more about elearning when I stumbled across Tom Kulman's Rapid eLearning Blog and was sucked into the content for the next fifteen minutes. The visuals on his blog are intriguing. They're the kind of visuals I wish I had on my blog. They remind me a little of the visual artistry on The Oatmeal. Even more genius, he promises a 47 page ebook on elearning if you sign up for email delivery of his posts. And here's ...

Searching STC Resources for Information

One of the advantages of belonging to the Society for Technical Communication (STC) is having access to the rich information sources on technical communication. These sources include Intercom, the Technical Communication Journal, past proceedings from conferences, the Notebook blog, and more. Unfortunately, there isn't a single search that allows you to comprehensively search all of these sources at once. I this screencast, I show you how...

WordPress Tip: Making Your WP-CONFIG File Secure

A lot of people don't realize that they're missing unique authentication keys in their WordPress's wp-config.php file. These unique authentication keys will help keep your WordPress site more secure. In this screencast, I show you how to add the necessary authentication keys.