Editor’s note : The following blog by Scott Deuty might be a great interest for any of you as engineers. I never thought in my entire career that I would become an editor/tech writer, but engineering takes us sometimes on unexpected journeys and turns, so one day you may be interested in tech writing either as a part-time freelancer (how I started) or a full-time tech writer or editor or both like me—-I absolutely love my audience, EDN and what I am bringing to my readers. So continue reading even if you have no inkling of being a tech writer/editor and keep an open mind and learn a little about communication—it can’t hurt!
My written material must attract the reader therefore I am obligated to produce a dynamic title as well as an attractive opening statement. That is why I didn’t open this article with, “As a technical writer that also produces marketing material…..”. That opening lacks the impact of hooking the reader when compared to my original opening, or so I thought. As it turns out, I was actually incorrect with that thought process. According to the Emotional Marketing Value tool that I use, the second statement actually ranked higher as shown in the bulleted summary.
- As a technical writer that also produces marketing material 33.33%
- My written material must attract the reader 28.57%
In the competitive world of power electronics which I chose as a career, cost rules and performance can offer a solution that meets the customer’s needs. However, the overwhelming amount of information that one must weed through on the internet can bury the best solution behind a well written technical article that entices the reader. As a blog writer for a venue as valued as Planet Analog as well as a technical writing business owner, I need to know the impact of the material I produce if I am to succeed. As I learn these ways, I like to share them with my audience. Writing the opening statement for this blog taught me some valuable lessons in terms of this blog in addition to the one I originally set out to write. I’ll get to the second blog in a bit. First, I’d like to present the results from researching various headlines for this blog.
The titles I evaluated had the following scores. Note how adding one word to the title improved the score by almost 30% (if you look at nine percentage points as being one third of 29%).
This evaluation tool provides a score as well as text as to the impact of the statement. Newbies rarely score above a 40%. Experienced people can score upwards of 80%. 100% is very difficult to achieve. I have hit a 75% for my weight loss book with the statement, “Yes, you can have the body you always wanted”. Of course I had my chest puffed out when I put in the titles for this blog and as you can see it wasn’t as easy the second time around. Things couldn’t get much worse, could they? Sure they could which brings us to the second part of this blog.
I started writing this blog in order to evaluate the best equation editor for you, my technical audience. That blog will have to wait for another time as I got side tracked when I was evaluating various titles. However, I did encounter some valuable data that I would like to share with you.
As technical writers we have mundane subjects to write about such as equation editors. Even then, there is a way to play on the words and spice them up. This goes for your presentation material as well as your written documents. The word play game works well for titles on PowerPoint slides.
Without further ado, here are the results from researching my blog on equation writing for technical documents.
Four balls would have walked the average individual however my ego kept me at the plate determined to get on base with a hit. As you can see, I struck out. The ego that I carried over from my earlier success was deflated like a Tom Brady football. I did however learn that no matter how mundane a technical topic is, there exists a way to word the title in an effective manner.
I’ll leave you with a final tip on effectively presenting your material. There were two ways to present my results. The first was in a table as shown with various colors weighting the results. The second is to use a graph (which Excel refers to as a chart). The graph below has the same results illustrated in a different manner. Comparing these two methods is, you guessed it, the subject of a third blog.