Subject: Re: marketing writer + webmaster = content director?

Subject: Subject: Re: marketing writer + webmaster = content director?
From: Chris Despopoulos <despopoulos_chriss -at- yahoo -dot- com>
To: "techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>
Date: Mon, 11 Sep 2017 07:46:43 +0000 (UTC)

My experience (in a startup, granted) has been that I need to know javascript, HTML, CSS, and XSLT along with XML and general tech writing. Add to that experience with APIs (Java and REST). I've had to implement delivery and presentation of content in HTML, PDF, and embedded in the product GUI (both HTML and Flex).Â

That might go beyond any trend, but it seems tech writers are expected to know "tools" -- these days that includes generating static web sites, SWAGGER, hosted products like Paligo or Confluence, integrating desktop-tool output (CS Help from Flare or RoboHelp), DITA OT... What am I missing here? Oh, and add in ability to test the product and contribute to UI design for software writers. Do you have a team? Then somebody has to be team lead, if not manager. Between all that, I'd say I'm lucky to spend 25% of my time actually writing.

What's interesting is the persistence of the silo effect... There's no defined integration with Marketing in all this. Even the holy grail of DITA puts you in a silo -- aside from Adobe, I'm not aware of anybody who brings DITA into Marketing (and I don't see great uptake of the Adobe solution). An interesting point is that Marketing and Tech Pubs have different tool and review requirements. Tech Pubs manages DOCUMENTS, and you can log bugs against them. Marketing manages EXPERIENCE, and I have yet to see that included in the bug database. If there's no technical way to integrate Marketing and Tech Pubs, how can you do it in an org chart?

Also missing from the discussion is social manager... Generating a social buzz is important to Marketing. For Tech Pubs the social component can help to crowd-source content... Comments, problem reports, suggestions for improvement, and even customer-specific work flows.Â

We use our social site for content that can't really go into our official docs. For example, how to configure your AWS account so that we can gather more utilization and pricing data (and make better decisions for you)... I can tell you WHAT you must do, but I can't tell you HOW without documenting the AWS GUI. I have no control over the AWS GUI, so I can't guarantee that my explanation will be viable. Instead, we post articles on our social site, and link to those from the docs. In addition, search from help also brings in links to related articles on the social site. My point is, both Marketing and Tech Pubs can get value from the same social site... But managing that, curating that content, and building it into a strategy seems to have fallen off the table. This is another "vector" along which Tech Pubs and Marketing should join forces.
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