• brochure writing collage
    Brochure Writing,  Client Work,  Throwback Thursday

    Throwback Thursday: Writing and Design of LeDoux Brochure

    A throwback post today, about some brochure writing I did for a local client. At the time that Mr. LeDoux approached us about creating a brochure he typically marketed using humorous postcards with cartoon illustrations, so he didn’t have much in the way of content that could be repurposed. I took detailed notes at our initial meeting about what he wanted to convey, and wrote text geared to appeal to his target market. Since his postcards were humorous, I kept the tone light-hearted and casual.  We went through a couple of rounds of edits to get the text right where Mr. LeDoux wanted it. Most of the time when I…

  • Social Media,  Technology,  Tips & Helpful Info

    Twitter Activity Analysis Tool

    Are you wondering if the time you spend on Twitter (either marketing yourself or a company) is well spent? Thanks to Jane Friedman’s Electric Speed newsletter I’ve learned about a new tool that can tell you how much you’re using Twitter, what types of Tweets you’re posting, what hashtags you’ve used and whether you tend to repost or post all new content. Account Analysis Tool I think this tool is especially valuable for small- and micro-biz owners who do their own tweeting. For example, a business owner might discover they aren’t retweeting enough people in their business area, or that they only use hashtags that correspond to their favorite sports…

  • sunset photo of beach showing silhouettes of people
    Technical Writing

    Working Remotely

    An interesting blog post from May on Technical Communication and Urbanization caught my eye this morning. I lived in the heart of the Silicon Valley when I started as a tech writer, but moved to be closer to family. You couldn’t pay me enough to move back, or to move to one of the other cities known for tech writing jobs. It’s not the cost that’s keeping me away (although that would be enough on its own). It’s the lifestyle. Here in Salem I’m just over an hour from the coast. I’m a short drive from three of my favorite wineries, and can easily drive a little further to find…

  • stock photo of hands on a portable computer keyboard
    Technology

    AI and Tech Writing

    Interesting article on the STC (society for technical communication) website. “One aspect of AI that is often overlooked is the role of the technical writer. Amidst the appeal of new technology, technical writers serve a vital role in development of AI applications, including chatbots, by being the subject experts most equipped to address the content requirements of chatbots.” AI, Chatbots, and Content, Oh My! (or Technical Writers Are Doomed—to Lifelong Employment)

  • Building photo showing the word "Criminal" carved into marble
    Client Work,  Technical Writing

    Re-writing and Updating

    Working on re-writing and updating three manuals for Gov. users in Pennsylvania this week. I now know a lot about how fingerprint-based background checks are processed by the software (and by the users of the software) in PA. The more manuals I write the better my chances of someday winning on Jeopardy.

  • facebook header image showing computer screens, a notebook, and a camera
    Technical Writing

    Technical Documentation and Crowdsourcing

    Extremely interesting post on the I’d Rather Be Writing website about crowdsourcing documentation. My major takeaway is this: “It takes more of a sense of expertise and authoritativeness to write documentation than to answer a forum question.” I agree completely. I also agree with his premise that our jobs aren’t going away any time soon because of that. Read more: http://idratherbewriting.com/2017/08/05/why-stack-overflow-documentation-effort-failed/

  • header image with computer monitor and iPad showing a website
    Technology,  Tips & Helpful Info

    Online Store Checklist

    With the closure of the Amazon Hosted Stores on the horizon (official date sometime in 2016) we’re talking to potential clients who have been using that service. Whether considering other hosted services or doing a “build/host your own” store we’ve noticed that we’re giving clients the same basic list of items to think about when deciding which software/service to move to. The standard set of “store things” are: Ease of associating a custom domain. Ease of adding items (sku, description, weight, price, category, photos). If the photo can be zoomed into by the customer to look at details (Amazon provided that). Being able to group items by category. How to…

  • photo of cinnamon rolls
    Client Work,  Tips & Helpful Info

    Redesigning Text-Heavy Handouts

    Here’s a recent response (with a few edits to protect confidentiality) to a question by a PR person who wanted to know how I’d redesign some single-page flyers for a client of theirs. “I think {your client’s} projects are as much “information design” as they are graphic design. In other words the project isn’t just “how do I make this look better” but also involves thinking about how to categorize and “chunk” the information so it has more of an impact, and then design a layout that does a good job of both branding the client and getting the information read. I’d be looking at the text not just as…