“SIG List” Yourself: How One SIG Is Using the New Mailing Lists

by Kevin Cuddihy on 15 July 2014

More and more communities and community members are taking advantage of the renewed mailing lists. We noticed that the Consulting and Independent Contracting SIG, in particular, was making great use of their mailing lists. We asked the SIG Manager Marilyn Woelk to share what they’ve done to help spur interest and conversation. See her guest blog below. If you are a Chapter or SIG member and are contacted by your community leader to register for a list, please do so. You can also sign up for mailing lists online.

The technical communication profession can be full of challenges; it’s up to you to learn how to solve them. If you are having a software issue, don’t you want to ask someone about it? Wouldn’t it be nice to know how to respond to a client that is bending your contract to the breaking point? Would you like to know how to market yourself and your services more effectively? Yes, we would, too! By “we,” I mean the over 400 members of the STC Consulting and Independent Contracting (CIC) SIG. The CIC SIG has seen a need for these kinds of discussions for many years and has had a very active discussion list. Since we now have a new list provider (and a new address for our discussion list), we thought it was time to reintroduce the list and get some interesting new discussions started. We developed a process for re-engaging our members.

First, Tracy Parkin (our acting Membership Manager) enrolled all members of our SIG in the new list and gave them the option to opt out if they chose to do so. Next, Ann Wiley (List Manager) invited all of the list subscribers to introduce themselves, explain how they got into the field of technical communication, and describe the services they offer. Finally, we added “fuel” to the current list discussions by posting a few interesting questions about how to convert documents into e-books, what the contract industry is like now, etc. We allowed members to post back and forth about specific questions. (They did this by listing the topic they were responding to in the subject line of their emails to the List Manager.)

We use(d) our lists for these discussions and also to announce and publicize our upcoming events, and update our members about changes to our websites, publications, and offerings. The lists have worked well for us because our members can access email at work but sometimes cannot access social media sites, depending on their employers’ policies.

So … don’t you want to know who is out there in cyberspace in your community? Your members will only be “names and email addresses” until you engage them enough to know who they are, what they do, and what they value. Then you will be able to interact online with members who have become friends and colleagues! In the words of Jean-Luc Picard, “You may test that assumption at your convenience.” “Let’s see what’s out there!” “Engage!”

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