Selling your services

Might seem a bit of an odd topic for a tech author who is employed, as opposed to contracted to, a company, but someone made this comment in passing and it kind of struck a nerve as it applies regardless of your current position. We all have something to sell.

It took me sometime to develop enough business-savvy to realise that, despite knowing that doing X instead of Y makes more sense for my users, and my team, business decisions and the drivers behind them don’t always work that way, and sometimes you have to take some pain before getting to where you want to be.

A lot of authors I’ve worked with in the past that share that mentality, are usually now managers, or senior writers or whatever the next step up our career ladder happens to be, so from my limited experience, I’d suggest that it makes sense to understand the business impacts and opportunities available, and how you can sell the services of a technical communications teams to the rest of your organisation.

There are some obvious things to try, and looking at how your marketing department are selling the product is a good place to start. But I’m curious to hear if you have tried anything in this area, and if so, what worked for you?

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Long time blogger, Father of Jack, geek of many things, random photographer and writer of nonsense.

Doing my best to find a balance.

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Absolutely important to sell your work internally and to build your own profile *if you want to* move up the corporate ladder. It can be very rewarding to think about how tech dox fit in with the product and its marketing. For technological gadgets, technical manuals are increasingly relevant for pre-sales. Apple already have the iPhone manual up on their website; they realised this years ago. It’s marketing in a different voice. Less pushy, more facts, but no less powerful for that. There’s much more to fitting tech dox into the company than slapping the right logo on the front page of a manual.

The tech dox / marketing link is obvious, but what about tech dox / recruitment or tech dox / corporate strategy? There are all sorts of angles you could consider, and just turning up and discussing that with the right key people will open opportunities to make your daily work more interesting and get you known in the company. The higher up you can go, the better.

As you rightly point out, the adage of “thinking outside the box” is worthwhile. Having just moved jobs I’ve found that teaming up with Product Management, and Marketing gives you an automatic ‘shoo-in’ to product strategy discusssions. Admittedly you need to have some valid points to bring to the discussion.

I’ve been pondering the idea of ‘marketing’ my team internally, and anything that raises awareness of what we CAN do is always beneficial.

What’s your team/department called? A descriptive name always helps. Tech Dox or Tech Comm stand out and are fairly descriptive. Intranet page? Standardised email signatures used by everyone in the team?

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