Getting ready for a document review  Clip to Evernote

A businessman thinking over his papers

Note: This post was originally published, in a slightly different form, here.

When working in a corporate environment, either as a contractor or a full-time employee, you’ll have to go through a document review sooner or later. And the whole process can be quite painful and quite frustrating.

Regardless of what you’re writing — whether it’s documentation, marketing or communications copy, or policy and procedures — a review is important. Make that important. Not only does it give people with specialized knowledge a chance to help you improve what you’re writing, but sign offs are usually mandatory before a document can go out.

As I said, a document review can be a painful and frustrating process. It can be hard to pin down people to do the review. And they might let the review slide. Often, doing something like that isn’t the highest priority on their lists.

Here’s some advice that can help you prepare for a document review and make the review process quicker, easier, and smoother.

Continue reading

Announcing a new edition of Getting Organized with Google’s Tools  Clip to Evernote

Google Tools cover Scott is excited to share the new edition of his ebook, Getting Organized with Google’s Tools, with you.

Getting and staying organized isn’t easy. While there a number of tools and systems available to help you do that, those tools often don’t work well together. And the systems are just a bit too complex — they require a lot of set up and maintenance. You need to keep things simple, and Google’s tools can help you do just that.

Getting Organized with Google’s Tools explains how to use Google Tasks, Google Calendar, Google Keep, Google Drive, and Gmail to provide what Scott calls the four pillars of being organized. And Getting Organized with Google’s Tools doesn’t just explain how to use those tools. It offers techniques and tips that you can use with any tool or method for organizing yourself.

This edition of Getting Organized with Google’s Tools has been extensively revised and rewritten. The updates reflect changes to the tools, and the book includes an expanded chapter that covers taking Google’s tools mobile. On top of that, the book is wrapped in a new, professionally-designed cover.

Want to learn more? You can do just that, and view the book’s table of contents along with a sample chapter, here.

A look at a few web-based invoicing tools  Clip to Evernote

invoice

This post first appeared, in a slightly different form, here.

Part of being a freelance technical writer or a consultant is getting paid. And it’s not a small part of the job, either.

Getting paid often means sending a client an invoice. A number of freelancers we know just whip off an invoice in a word processor (Scott has created templates in Word and OpenDocument formats).

A word processor template is a quick and effective solution, but sometimes you need a bit more. Like what? How about:

  • A more professional look
  • A way of tracking invoices
  • Automated reminders
  • An invoicing tool that you can use anywhere

That’s where the web comes to your aid. There are a number of good invoicing applications available. Some are inexpensive or free, but they all get the job done quite nicely.

Let’s take a look at a few of those tools.

Continue reading

Creating an editorial calendar for your blog  Clip to Evernote

Last week, Scott gave a short talk about the whys and hows of creating an editorial calendar for your blog to a Meetup group to which he belongs in Auckland.

Scott’s posted the slides and notes to his talk to Slideshare. Here are the slides for the talk:

And here are the notes:

Going from writing to speaking  Clip to Evernote

podium This post first appeared, in a slightly different form, here.

Whether earned or not, many writers (technical or otherwise) have a reputation for not being good speakers or presenters. The stereotype is that people become writers so they don’t have to interact with others. They can just lock themselves away and pound on their keyboards to their heart’s content.

I think that stereotype is unjustified. Sure, there are a number of those in our ranks who are introverts (I’m definitely one of them). But we all have something to teach or share. We all have a story to tell.

A great way to tell that story is to give a presentation or a talk. For any number of us, doing that is a big step outside of our comfort zone. Taking that step, though, can help make you a better writer.

Here are a few tips for moving from writing to speaking.

Continue reading

Jumping into The Elements of Content Strategy  Clip to Evernote

Cover of The Elements of Content Strategy Note: This post first appeared, in a slightly different form, here.

Content strategy. The planning, development, and management of content—written or in other media. It sounds like one in the long line of buzzwords that seem to assail us daily. And, in the eyes (and hands) of some, it is.

But content strategy is more than that. Content strategy can also be an indispensable tool for anyone who writes for a living — especially anyone who writes in the corporate sector. yes, that includes technical communicators.

Many people either don’t know what content strategy is, or they misunderstand what it’s all about. That’s where The Elements of Content Strategy by Erin Kissane comes in.

Let’s take a closer look at this book.

Continue reading