Winning Strategies for Technical Writers: 5 Key Steps for Success

End users tend to escape documentation when it comes to encountering issues with specific products. And there is a reason for this to happen; there are still many products which have useless end user documentation which does not offer clear flows; which lead to higher support costs for the companies. Why? A customer which cannot easily find solution to an issue will almost always pick up the phone and call the support department to get help.
The need to bridging the gap between end users and product documentation is vital across multiple industries. Learn how to overcome these challenges and successfully “deploy” valuable technical writing services.

Key Steps 1: Explore the product functionality

Learning the product helps you reduce the likelihood of making the common mistakes in documenting the flows. Always have in mind that hands-on experience with the product will make you the most valuable first user.
How do

Tracking the translation/localization of your documentation

Tracking the translation of your products’ documentation might give you headaches if not properly managed. Being in charge of managing the translation/localization of documentation in more than 12 languages for various products, I found out that the best way to ensure consistency between various product versions and languages is to organize documentation in products and product versions on the local file server also taking into consideration the file naming conventions.

Tracking the translation/localization of your documentation on the file server

  1. On the local file server, create a folder named Documentation.
  2. In the Documentation folder create folders for each product.
  3. Within each product file, create folders per product versions.
  4. Inside each product version folder create a folder per language.
  5. Within each language folder save the documents for the specific language taking into consideration the product and product version.

Tracking the translation/localization of your documentation using language filenames

Another important aspect for…

How to set the chm title in Help and Manual

This is a very short article I will use as a reminder to myself on how to set the chm title in Help and Manual projects.
  1. Go to your help project.
  2. Go to Configuration Help Windows.
  3. In the Title bar text field enter the title of your help project.
  4. Click File Publish and from the Publish Format drop-down list select HTML help (.chm) then click Publish.
This is a paragraph. This is a paragraph. This is a paragraph. This is a paragraph. This is a paragraph. This is a paragraph. This is a paragraph. This is a paragraph. This is how your project title will like:

How to sell your tech colleagues that they should help you write good whitepapers

I’ve been talking to a good friend of mine the other days, Ioana Serban, Marketing Director at Computaris. A highly dedicated and passionate professional always trying to get the best out of people and delivering high quality marketing services to the customers. One of the issues she confronts with lately is convincing their global sales team and the system/solution architects that they should get more involved in their content creation strategy.
Read below Ioana’s thoughts on how to sell your tech colleagues that they should help you write good whitepapers. We all know that marketing is so hard to sell! Especially to the top management but also to the colleagues from the other departments. And when you need their input to promote your thought leadership in a technical domain you get stuck if you don’t manage to convince them to put some enthusiasm into helping you implement your inbound… Read more...

How to choose a new localization vendor

Created by sheelamohan on

I admit to not having attended any terminology classes but I used to read a lot about terminology and products localization.
A few months ago, I have been given the great opportunity to test the market in terms of localization vendors. Scenario: a new product to be translated into several languages. The localization project involved two phases: UI localization and documentation translation into several languages.It was a great way to temporarily forget the usual tasks I dealt with and immerse myself in some market research. There are some steps to follow when choosing a new localization vendor. I will share with you some things I learnt on the fly.

1. Create a top-3 vendors list

In order to choose a new localization vendor, start writing down the top-3 localization vendors list… Be aware that evaluating more than 3 localization vendors might be time-consuming… Read more...

Business Unit Manager key responsibilities and required skills. To be or not to be?

In a previous article I was talking about restructuring a company in business units and I only provided a brief description of Business Unit Manager responsibilities.
You might have been given the opportunity to drive an innovative and strategic direction for a specific business unit and you wonder which key responsibilities you may have. Or you might be a recruiter in charge of defining job description for a Business Unit Manager position. This article gives a clear view on Business Unit Manager (often referred as BUM), responsibilities as well as the set of skills required for such a position. A BUM is in charge of achieving product line growth and profitability; owns the financial success of the business unit through establishment and achievement of current and long-range objectives, plans, and results.

Business Unit Manager Responsibilities

Key responsibilities for a Business Unit Manager are:
  • Determines and formulates operational and business strategies

How to recreate the company in business units and address the missing ingredient to be successful

I’m always trying to get the whole business picture and striving to understand the reason for the lack of involvement within a company. In general, people tend to avoid responsibilities and point the finger to the one “next door” saying “it is not my business to do that” and so on. As a consequence, you start having issues with deliverables and long useless meetings; it seems like this is never going to end or the worst case scenario: you will not be living “happily ever after”  It is a fact that over the past 5 years many companies have adopted the Agile methodology without really understanding how it works or being inspired to adapt it to the internal functionality and the customers’ needs. There are many successful stories talking about working in business units which sustain the fact that recreating a company in business units might bring a new… Read more...

Answering RFP: 3 Original tips

I’ve been missing writing on the blog. After 2-week vacation, I’ve been down in my knees within documentation and translations. A lot of things to finish for three releases coming very soon 
Now I am a bit relaxed and have a few things to share with you; but let’s take it one at a time.
A few days ago I had the chance to learn something new. I’ve been given the chance to see a Request For Proposal (RFP) document one of managers was preparing for a prospective customer.
For those who don’t know what an RFP is, let me give you a short overview:
An RFP is a document written by a company/client who wants to purchase services or products. It contains questions the client is particularly interested to find an answer. The answers to these questions will determine the client to purchase the services /product or not.… Read more...

Technical writer challenge: Amazon Cloud

More than a month ago someone from the Operations department told me they need a helping hand updating a product architecture and security document upon a customer request. I agreed updating the document although I only had a slight idea of the effort required to complete this task. Imagine I didn’t know very much about products’ security, or about security of products hosted on cloud solutions.

What is the purpose of a product security document?

The purpose of a security document is to ensure the customers that the product environment is secure. The document also provides security information including: infrastructure security, account security, service specific security and more. It worth mentioning that a company might have internal security documents covering confidential data and procedures in terms of business continuity; data that you should never publish to your customers.

Technical writer challenge: Amazon cloud opportunity

There I was, taking over the…

Technical writer: Passion outside of work

As an exceptional professional, my time is extraordinarily precious – much more precious than others might appreciate. It’s Wednesday and I need some good ideas for an infographic. I navigate through the Shutterstock images and by fortune or just a divine coincidence, a photo captures my full attention, a beautiful musician playing guitar, an image created by Ollyy. I valiantly attempt to calm down and gather my thoughts. I shake my head and realize that I somehow identify myself to the beautiful girl playing guitar. My heart steadies to its regular rhythm, and I can breathe normally again. I save the photo and send it to myself by E-mail. The only explanation for the strange sensation that worth mentioning is that when I listen to Metallica music, my mind unleashes any frontier; I operate at my full capacity of creativity and inspiration, being very effective at work. Waiting for the… Read more...