Every month I write a new post on my blog.
This blog has been a pretty useful tool for me. I’ve used it to market myself to new employers, to network with other tech writers and to form my ideas into something more coherent. It has accomplished these goals without receiving an enormous amount hits. Enough people read it every day that I don’t feel like I’m speaking in a vacuum or wasting my time. Reaching large numbers of people was never the goal and I would be foolish if I ever thought a blog about technical writing was ever going to compete with Perez Hilton.
However, since the blog was meant to be a learning tool, it is time for me to start thinking about the number of hits I do get. In my last post, I wrote about the need to constantly seek new skills during the career of a technical writer.
For my next personal project, I will be working on the Search Engine Optimization (SEO) of the Website. My goal is to double the current number of visitors to the blog. If you have any tips or tricks for the SEO of a WordPress Blog, please let me know.
I’ll be posting regular updates on this project along with my regular updates.
I started this blog about a year and a half ago as a fun spot to work out ideas regarding tech writing and to track my own career development within the field.
I’ve had a lot of fun doing this and have personally developed my career in a lot of rewarding and enjoyable ways. Most of my professional work as a writer has come from focussing on my own previous work as a trainer which was built off of my background on performing. A real smart professional move is to take an inventory of everything you have to offer and then focus on how that can be put into a larger package to benefit the client.
I recall an old interview with Johnny Carson where he said that hosting the Tonight Show required the experience of every job he had before that. In the course of hosting the iconic late night talk show, he drew on his past work as a stand-up comic, radio broadcast interviewer, game show host, actor, jazz musician, and gag writer. On nights when things were really slow he had to bust out some of the old magic tricks that he performed as a teenage magician.
However, I think that occurs in every job that I have ever had. It is important to use the sum of this experience to create a whole.
In my case, I really try to sell that fact that I am not just able to create documentation. I can also train people on that new documentation.
Creating this specific niche for yourself can also do wonders for your sanity when searching for work. There might be others out there with a stronger experience in technology or engineering that I won’t be able to compete with. However, if you want someone to follow up the documentation with a fun and engaging training session – I’m your man. The key is to make sure that I’m reaching out to a client that needs that and not the client that needs someone with an extensive engineering background. Look for every opportunity to ask a client “Exactly what are you looking for?”
The engineer and I are both qualified as technical writers. It was the extras in performing or technical writing that got us our jobs. When selling yourself it is important to know the extra qualities that separate you from the pack. Be ready to present the value. Over the past year I have been constantly rewriting and honing my resume and portfolio to highlight these extras as needed.
If you can offer more extras, you will be open to more opportunities. This is where the development of technical writer never ends. It might require night classes or volunteer work. It could mean creating new documentation in new formats. I’ve downloaded free trial versions of different software just create documentation that shows I can work my way around a new system even if I may not be an expert. In the upcoming months, I will probably end up doing some sort of volunteer work to try and hone my HTML skills. It might not pay in the present but one day there will be a job that I’ll need it for – even if I don’t know what it is right now.
It’s funny but sometimes it isn’t the technical writing that gets you the technical writing job.