October 29, 2014

6 Reasons Your Marketing and Tech Doc Departments Should Be Thinking Together

Many product-based companies view technical documentation as an isolated instance that has little to do with the rest of their communication-related operations, like marketing. This often overlooked disparity cannot fare well, however, in today’s information age, where everything you write or take a picture of ultimately ends up on the internet— whether it’s you who’s put it out there, or your customers themselves.

You see, your customers are no longer turning to the physical user manual for answers about your product-- they’re Googling instead. Already online? Great. But you’re only half way there. Your user manual won’t even be findable within your customers’ preferred channel if the terminology used in your marketing communication and technical documentation are not in alignment.

What I’m referring to here is SEO, (Search Engine Optimization). If you don’t know what I’m talking about, Google it or talk to your marketing people. Extending this essential marketing strategy to your technical documentation is an absolute must. Here are some of the benefits you’ll gain if your tech doc and marketing departments think together on this one:

1) Quality Control. Since everything ends up on the internet sooner or later, make sure that you’re the one to put your (quality-proofed) product information there and nobody else.

2) Become findable. Marketing is working hard on the major keywords, while technical documentation people are putting a lot of effort into establishing common language via terminology databases. Align them to ensure that you are your customers’ first point of contact when it comes to obtaining both product and company knowledge.

3) Measure your impact. Once you have your keywords in place you can leverage them as a means of measurement by using web reporting tools which will ultimately reveal to you how much your “documentation” is being used. If you create searchable html user guides, manuals, or other techdoc, you can quickly see via MarketingVox, Alexa, or Google Analytics which parts need to be improved or changed.

4) Decrease your workload. With the right searchable documentation, your support will have less work and you will have happier customers. Everybody knows that happy customers come back for more.

5) Attract more business. The purchase behaviour of today’s consumers always begins with an internet search. With you sitting on top of that search results list (because of the SEO work you’ve put in), your customers will, again, be very happy. Happy customers tend to spread the word of their positive experience via blogging, forums, and social media. Plus, the online cross references themselves created from such activity will get you higher up on the search engines’ priority lists.

6) Create a customer community. When you’re more findable, it also becomes easier for your customers to find each other. Facilitate valuable conversations by starting user groups on the web. Better still,  integrate online support and Q & A. You’ll gain insight into what you may have missed or miscommunicated in your documentation. Plus you’ll be able to join the conversation and provide answers which can be linked to specific sections in your documentation.

What are you waiting for? Get your marketing and tech doc departments together, put the SEO thinking cap on, and soon you’ll either have to start buying your competitors or saying no to customers, because you won’t be able to expand fast enough to quell all the attention you’ll receive!


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About the author

Niklas Thorin

Niklas specializes in marketing and sales, and is backed by extensive experience in leading positions within frontline global technology companies.

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