technical communication - write a technical blog that works

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1-minute cheat sheet to write technical blogs that work

Adding useful advice to your website builds credibility, AND it gives a big boost to your SEO. Not just any article will do to increase your search page ran:

  1. It must be specific and relevant, so that Google sends you YOUR RIGHT AUDIENCE.
  2. It must be so interesting, that you are seen as a credible, trusted source on the topic.

This quick checklist sparks blog ideas, so you don’t have to resort to AI!

Where to start

  1. Who is your audience – who hires you, or buys your products, or refers you?
  2. Define their job title, their goals, their priorities and what they are bad at.
  3. What interests them, confuses them, or annoys them about your field or industry?
  4. What are they are trying to achieve when they invest in your product or service?
  5. List common problems your clients experience, that leads them to call you.
  6. List negatives your client feels, that makes it hard to achieve their goal without you.

Article approaches

  1. tips: procedures to save time and effort
  2. hacks : shortcuts to save time and effort
  3. how to get started with: first steps for people new to a topic
  4. industry trends: latest facts and figures
  5. surprising facts: something they didn’t know about your field
  6. mistakes: something they might do wrong
  7. reflections: insider insights
  8. resources: downloads, cheat-sheets, checklists
  9. ultimate guides: an in-depth review
  10. fears: tasks that are less difficult than they think
  11. failures: tasks that are more difficult than they think
  12. lessons: something you did wrong so they won’t have to

3 tips for interviewing subject matter experts (SMEs)

Unless you are personally an expert in every aspect of the topic, you will need to talk to other people.

  • If you are in engineering or industry, don’t call it “storytelling”. Talk about a case study, evidence, or a personal perspective.
  • Identify the right person to interview. I use words like “legends” or “heroes” to get the top-of-mind expert about a topic. People who have worked “in the field” have more interesting stories, many unpublishable.
  • Create a template, fill-in form or standard set of questions for interviews. It makes sure you get details like the name and title for quotes, and helps to energise the interview.
  • Email the checklist to the interviewee when reminding them about your appointment.
  • Ask if they have any photos, plans, mementos, awards. Often that gets them thinking.

15 tips to help with the actual writing

My secret checklist when I write for engineering, construction and industrial clients.

  1. be yourself… friendly, knowledgeable, helpful
  2. really short sentences – if there is a comma (and, but, because) break it into 2 sentences
  3. make posts more readable with lots of paragraphs
  4. put important words in CAPITALS or bold to catch the eye
  5. don’t use too much colour, multiple fonts – it breaks up the flow
  6. do use headlines and subheads – it gives structure
  7. make the opening intriguing and real – a fear, anticipation or irritation that matters to them.
  8. don’t make the opening sentence background detail about the topic (like AI does)
  9. it must have an image, diagram or graph to grab more attention. This takes ages! *
  10. don’t write product blogs, nobody cares about your product
  11. write the way you speak, or more accurately, the way you explain to your Mom
  12. if a word has “ing” check it’s the shortest way to say it. e.g. I will be speaking at -> I will speak at.
  13. teach something people don’t know about your field
  14. give value, even if you worry you are giving away a competitive edge
  15. don’t abuse engagement hacks like clickbait headlines, polls, outrage, or a pity party

* You must set up your website so that this image appears when people share and repost.

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