Re: New job profile..some questions.
Last week, my boss advised me to take interest in sales / marketing type of
writing, and specifically mentioned case studies as an example. Now the
problem is that I am substantially illiterate about business, sales, and
marketing and similar stuff. And I mean substantially.
So here are my questions:
Am I being asked to do Marcom?
Arguably, yes... though with case studies and white papers and the
like, it's not terribly clear where "technical writing" stops and
"marketing communications" begins, particularly on very technical
Case studies typically describe the fabulous success that a single
customer has experienced using your mindblowingly wonderful
product(s). White papers take the same sort of subject matter and
trowel a thick layer of false objectivity over it, and tend to discuss
how to solve problems (in a more abstract way) working in regular
mention of your company's mindblowingly wonderful product(s).
While I am willing to do what the job now requires, career wise how good or
bad is this?
Personal experience only: In the US, tech writers who can also do
marketing stuff get paid more and have more opportunities for career
advancement. Your experience may vary.
What books can I read, to get started on the basics of business, and
business / marketing communication? (I may get a small budget to shop on
Amazon, so a bibliography of the MOST essential reading would be useful)
Actually, you have access to excellent (and free) resources all over
the Web: to learn how to write case studies and white papers, read a
whole hell of a lot of case studies and white papers with a critical
Fortunately, tech companies are publishing case studies and white
papers all over the place, in most cases with no strings attached
(though occasionally you have to supply an e-mail address and some
demographic information.) Read all of them that you can get your
hands on, especially those of companies in the same market sector as
yours; some will be great, some will be awful, most will be mediocre.
Think about what works and what doesn't as you read them. Resolve to
do better than most people currently producing them; that won't be
One excellent resource with a high concentration of case studies and
white papers is TechRepublic (http://techrepublic.com.com/ - and the
two .com's are not a typo.)
Where on the Internet are the resources that will be useful?
Also, I note that your company has offices in the US, the UK and India.
To improve your knowledge of business rapidly:
If you are in the US, try to read (or at least skim) the Wall Street
Journal every day.
If in the UK, the Financial Times.
If in India, the Financial Express.
Hope this helps a little.
Barry Campbell <barry -at- campbell-online -dot- com>
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