How a CMS Can Broaden a Technical Writer’s Career

Technical writing is considered by some to be a dead-end job. That does not need to be the case! The introduction of a content management system (CMS) into a technical communications department creates new opportunities for employee development, particularly for writers with years of experience. Take a look at some of the many job possibilities for technical writers.

Controlling Your Content

Ensuring consistency in the message and content can ensure your message is received the same way across every media platform it is published through. That’s where implementing a content management system (CMS) comes into play. Making the change from unstructured content to a CMS helps companies provide more effective content development, content management, process management, technical translation management, and publishing strategies while reducing cycle times and increasing productivity. They can also help your company create more effective multilingual and XML management, greater flexibility and performance advantages that will optimize resources and processes. Once you have your CMS, what can you do in terms of reuse to gain greater control of your message?

What Not To Do When Moving to Topic-based Authoring

With the ability to reduce costs, shorten project schedules, and meet an organization’s strategic goals, topic-based authoring using a content management system (CMS) is a cost-effective way to create content. If you’re thinking about making the move, here are some things that you should not do. If you already made the move and you’re struggling, these “do not’s” may show you where you took a wrong turn.

Tips for Choosing the Right CCMS Model

When looking for a place to live, there are a lot of things you take into consideration to find the home that is just right for you. Let’s face it…choosing a home is a big commitment, and one that you may be living with for a long time.
Choosing a component content management system (CCMS) model requires the same thoughtful consideration as choosing a residence. This is also a decision that you will have to live with for a long time. Here are a few things to think about if CMS implementation is a possibility for your company.

3 Tips to Conquer Your Fear of XML

Technical communicators often cringe when they hear talk of using XML to write their content. Despite all of its benefits, XML may be perceived to be overwhelmingly technical for writers who are used to authoring their content in MSWord. If you are one of those writers who fear XML, keep reading. We’ve provided three tips to help you better understand XML and ease your anxiety:

Tweetable Takeaways: A LavaCon 2013 Recap

This past October, we had the pleasure to attend the 2013 LavaCon Conference in Portland, Oregon.  The week was filled with insightful presentations and thought-provoking roundtable discussions, making this conference worthwhile for any attendee.   Vendors, guests, and speakers took advantage of Twitter throughout the conference by tweeting at the trending hashtag “#lavacon2013.” Through this hashtag, Twitter users were able to communicate their key takeaways and opinions about the sessions and the conference itself.  Here, we recap a few of the most popular #lavacon2013 tweets as shared by some of the presenters and attendees at the conference.

Roles and Responsibilities in a DITA-Authoring Environment

This month, we asked Vasont CMS user Deb Bissantz, Technology Lead from LSI Corporation, for her tips on the roles needed when moving to a content management strategy. As LSI’s Technology Lead, Deb’s responsibilities include: CMS administration, structured template maintenance, WebWorks ePublisher stationery maintenance, and training. Deb is also an active member of the DITA Technical Committee and the DITA Adoption Committee. Here are Deb’s tips:

Tips for Managing the Customer Experience

Technical communicators play a key role in keeping an organization’s customers happy. As a primary touch point between the company and the customer, the content you produce and deliver can make customers feel comfortable and satisfied about your products and services when it is accurate and easily accessible. On the other hand, it can frustrate customers and send them to your competitors when instructions and information aren’t clear and helpful. The experience a customer has when using your content can make a big difference in their loyalty to your company.

 

Tips for Getting Writers to Comply with New Standards

Scenario: After getting several reports of customers complaining about the user guides for their products, the technical communications managers spend weeks developing new guidelines to make their content more consistent and clean up the vocabulary used by the writers. They create a list of acceptable and unacceptable terminology. Then, they hand over the packet of new guidelines to their team of writers. The writers get to work.

After a few weeks, the managers realize that the writers aren’t consistently instituting these new rules, causing the content they collectively produce to be discordant. So how can the managers get the writers to comply with the new guidelines? Here are some tips to consider: