Drop the Confetti and Pick Up the Razor

Marketers are marketers and engineers are engineers. Maybe never the twain shall meet, but you have to try anyway. If every sentence of your marketing copy isn’t selling me on technical benefits or business benefits, why are you bothering to put it in front of me? Worse yet, if your copy is sprinkled with drivel […]

Show Me Some Marketing Science

How do your co-workers view Marketing? Do they understand what you do, and why it isn’t Sales? Show them some science. Leon Sterling of Compelling Concepts wrote last week about the blurred (or missing) distinction between Marketing and Sales in the minds of most people in a given organization. True, Marketing is strategy and Sales […]

When Graphics Get in the Way

Graphics and diagrams are at the heart of good marketing communications, but your writer can’t always make them work for a written piece. The deadline loomed, and still I had no more than an outline from the writer. “What’s taking so long?” I asked. “I think I have writer’s block,” replied the writer. “You don’t […]

Social Media Engineering??

“When it comes to social media marketing, engineering companies will be the last to get it,” said Mike Stelzner of WhitePaperSource renown, as we chatted about the space. Are you trying to nudge your engineering company into social media? Are you having trouble getting the engineers to go along with you? Whaddya mean by that? […]

Meat or Muffins? Be Sure the Writer Knows

The writer did what we told him to do when we hired him. “Write a series of technical articles to help evangelize the technology,” we said, “two to three pages each. They should introduce developers and customers to the new features they can use in programming on the platform. We need to get the word […]

Marketing = Starting the Conversation

When you’re sitting at the dinner table with your aunt and uncle, and they ask you what you do for a living, how do you explain what it means to work in marketing? Few people outside of the discipline understand marketing, though most of their perspectives fall into a few buckets: “Marketing is advertising.” Actually, […]


Do you ever turn around and realize somebody has done an end-run on you? It’s not easy to make everybody happy when you’re in Marketing and public relations. Engineers, VPs, execs, and firebrands in Technical Support all want to publish content to make their lives easier. Some of them don’t really know what people in […]

Preparing the SME

When you hire a writer to interview a subject matter expert (SME) or a customer, you have a bit of work to do on both sides of the relationship. Tell the writer about the interviewee’s specialty and personal characteristics, the kinds of information to elicit, and what you want out of the interview. If I […]

Set Your Writer up for Failure

Have you ever owned the budget while somebody else owned the content? It’s a bit like buying cake for other people, yet being unable to ensure that they eat it, isn’t it? One of our engineering managers had a vision for a user networking site and a budget to get content written for it. You […]

To persuade or not to persuade…

…that is the difference between a technical writer and a technical marketing writer. Figure out which one you want before you award the project. One of our engineering directors has funded a series of news articles on a technology platform we’re rolling out. (Actually, a marketing manager is funding it, but the engineering director got […]