My old marketing approach was boring as hell. There’s a harsh personal realisation right there.
It didn’t matter how useful or well researched my posts were (and they were), they fell into that boredom trap. Into that I’ve-read-something-like-this-before trap. So, after a bit of soul-searching and a fun chat with my buddies Andrew and Pete, I’ve decided to make some changes to the way I go about these blogs.
I haven’t lost all sense of perspective, though. I still know how to rock a list. So, I’m going to make my posts:
❌ less boring
❌ less formal
✅ more fun
✅ more human
Um, isn’t this just New Year Resolution-itis?
January is probably the month in which the boldest and bravest blogs are written. Makes sense: people have had time to reflect; they’ve had Christmas arguing with their family; they’ve done price comparisons at all the local gyms; they want something to change in their lives. No surprise that January’s the time when they’re more likely to stick their neck out and be a little ambitious about their future plans.
I’ve spent a lot of the last year thinking about my marketing, so I’m hopeful that New Year Resolution-itis isn’t going to strike me down. In 2016, I was fortunate enough to discover the Content Marketing Academy, and through that I’ve been in touch with people such as marketing legend Mark Schaefer and the epic marketing duo Andrew and Pete. I could write out a who’s who of awesome people I’ve met in the past year, but I’ll save myself the bother and instead point you to my Know, like and trust list on Twitter.
I won’t give you chapter and verse on my marketing journey. But I will explain one thing that’s a major problem in the technical writing industry: the technical writers themselves. I say this sort of thing in person all the time and it makes sense to do the same here on my blog. So, what is the problem?
The problem with technical writers
Quick definition for people who’ve turned up late:
Writing that aims to educate and inform an audience about a product, service or process.
Think of support documents, how-to guides and helpful stuff like that.
Here’s the thing. If you pictured a technical writer, you’re probably thinking this:
- Lifetime saddo
- Wears checked shirts not in an ironic way
- Has lots of clear space around him at parties (on the rare occasions that he’s invited to parties – and yes, it is usually a ‘he’ we’re talking about, and that in itself may be part of the problem: tech writing would probably be far more interesting if there were more women in the field).
So, there’s the problem. It’s a boring industry littered with boring people. That looks so harsh in black and white. Sorry. I do think it’s true, though.
Thankfully, problems can often be turned into opportunities (that’s what all those corporate PowerPoint presentations tell us, anyway), and when it comes to this particular problem, the opportunity is the chance to stand out and be a little different. So that’s what I’m going to do.
One of my plans is to start explaining how some useful bits of software work. No boring condescending junk, mind – just simple and helpful explanations with a bit of fun. Sounds good? Stay tuned.
Questions, cheeky comments and general banter welcomed. If you’re really cool, you’ll tweet me @espirian.
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Who wrote this?
John Espirian – the relentlessly helpful technical copywriter
I write B2B web content, blogs, user guides and case studies – all aimed at explaining how your products, services and processes work. I also offer LinkedIn profile critiquing and rewriting.
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