Re: marketing vs engineering vs tech writing

Subject: Re: marketing vs engineering vs tech writing
From: John Engler <spillman!jengler -at- UUNET -dot- UU -dot- NET>
Date: Tue, 19 Nov 1996 11:50:41 -0700

Hey all,

This is a topic that really interests to me. I am of the opinion that my
focus as a tech writer (at a software
company) is the user. And so with I agree with the idea that effective
communication with the real live people I work with (ie. engineers,
programmers, marketers) is crucial because it enhances my ability
to reach my audience. If I communicate with the programmers, the result
is more accurate information. If I communicate with the marketers, the
result is a better understanding of my audience. In my mind, there's
just no reason to build walls.

With this in mind, I am exploring ways that I can use the skills
normally associated with other writing professions like marketing, but
also journalism and even creative writing, to further enhance my ability
to reach my audience. Obviously my audience *has* to read the software
documentation, but I'm looking for ways to make their reading easier,
more enjoyable, etc. I also need to be able to show my superiors that
any additional time spent on documentation is justifiable when it comes
to the bottom line (in a small, conservative company).

I curious about any opinions out there on this matter. I guess the major
question I have is this:

What skills/approaches that are normally associated with other writing
professions might be help technical writers better appeal to their
audience?

I'd also be interested in any published articles on the subject,
theoretical or practical.

John Engler
jengler -at- spillman -dot- com
Spillman Data Systems, Inc.
Logan, UT


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