From the Hart: Blogging with Hillary Hart on Communicating the Value of Technical Communication

by Kevin Cuddihy on 25 April 2012

Posted on behalf of STC President Hillary Hart

This week, I want to let you know what STC is doing to implement the second goal of the newly refined Strategic Plan:

2.    Communicate the value of technical communication

Like any strong strategic plan, the specific goals overlap somewhat; thus, effectively communicating the value of the profession depends upon STC having the credibility that comes from being a recognized global leader in the profession (Goal #1). STC’s visible and ongoing support for the Plain Regulations Act of 2012 now before Congress is a way of communicating the value technical communicators bring to government communications and to the public interest. That support is a way of implementing our first goal (being a global leader) as well as communicating value. We intend to keep supporting public policy initiatives that benefit technical communicators and the profession.

One of the negative consequences of the recent recession is that fewer employers are paying for professional development of their employees, including membership in professional societies. Thus, starting this coming year, STC CEO Kathryn Burton will lead development of a signature program to promote the value of technical communicators to employers, raising the percentage of members whose dues are employer-paid. We need to examine our current efforts and change what is not working in our attempt to communicate directly and effectively with executives and development managers in companies that employ technical communicators.

Several staff and Board members (including incoming Vice President Nicky Bleiel) have already been working on a thus-far limited survey to get managers’ perspectives on how technical communication professionals contribute within their companies, so that we can ensure that our programs help develop professionals appropriately. Understanding those perspectives will also help STC formulate a strategy to better promote our profession and its professionals to these managers. In the coming year, we plan to beef up that survey and use the results to develop targeted messages to employers.

In the past year, STC has improved its external and internal marketing. We send 15-17 emails per month to members, letting you know about upcoming events and Society news. We’ve recently upgraded News & Notes to the new TechComm Today, which includes newsbriefs from around the industry instead of just Society news and is open to both members and nonmembers. The new website has helped us keep members and visiting nonmembers informed as well, with easier navigation, a section for news, and rotating banners to put important information in the forefront. We’ve established ad shares or other cross-promotional activities with many organizations similar to STC. And, of course, you already know about STC’s Notebook, the official STC blog. Now we need to refine our messaging for different audiences and different types of employers. Stay tuned for the results.

I can’t wait to tell you next week about the initiatives planned to support our third Strategic Goal: Improve the Practice of Technical Communication.

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