Hello Mike, can you please tell us about yourself and how you got your start in technical writing?
I wrote technical books in the ’00s, mostly on Linux. Eventually, I realized that “brick and mortar books” were not the future, so I took a job writing about Identity and Access Management for ForgeRock.
What originally piqued your interest in marketing in relation to technical documentation?
As I learned the art (and yes it is an art!) of Technical Writing, I started learning where marketing intersects with technical documentation. I learned that Getting Started guides are where users who’ve read marketing information start to use the product. You might call it “where the rubber meets the road”.
What have you learned this year about tech marketing and content distribution?
I currently work at Cobalt, and I’ve been intrigued by the focus of our marketing on API reference documentation, which is considered “Bottom of the Funnel” information. I now understand that reference docs provide a foundation of credibility for users who are most skeptical of marketing, the “developer”*.
In a recent meeting with our Marketing, I learned more about where our customers feel uncertainty about our product, and where I can help with focused technical documentation.
* I use “developer” in quotes, as that term actually includes other technical users, such as Systems Administrators, SREs, Quality Engineers, Product Managers, and more.
What are some of your go-to resources for technical content marketing?
I’m not in marketing. However, I recognize that effective marketing can use the content that I produce. I’m just learning to map the technical content that I create to different marketing funnels. The process helps me focus content on appropriate personas.
Technical Writers organize content with Information Architecture (IA). Here’s how I’d map marketing funnels to the two major IA formats (DITA and Diataxis):
TOFU = Top of the Funnel
MOFU = Middle of the Funnel
BOFU = Bottom of the Funnel