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Technical Documentation as a Marketing Tool

Posted by
Anastasia in Technical Writing on 2/14/20203 min read

glasses coffee marketing banner

Marketing is viewed as a separate field in business. Marketing teams are responsible for attracting potential clients and taking action to persuade them that the product holds the solution they were looking for.

However, a lot of factors influence this process, and often they are out of the marketing team's scope. Let's take a technical documentation portal as an example. The marketing team can advise on how to set it up, of course. But it is unlikely that they will throw themselves into this task. It is mostly the responsibility of the documentation team anyway.

And, this is how each team interferes with marketing processes. This can happen involuntarily, but, as they say, ignorantia legis non excusat, or... you need to approach things wisely, looking at them from every perspective to help your company prosper. And, as a technical writer, you have no choice but to acquire a general understanding of the marketing side of things. Otherwise, you can ruin customer experience.

Technical Documentation Is a Marketing Tool

When prospects are considering buying your product, understanding that they will be able to learn it fast has the highest priority for them. And, it is your task to make your documentation portal look its best.

The first time a potential client opens it can be the turning point. Clients rely on support teams to fix bugs, sure. But to really understand and successfully adopt a tool, they require a more thorough resource. And you, a technical writer, should be the answer to that.

If you take a look at the user manual portals we have in the gallery, you will understand what we are talking about here. Technical documentation should be a place where clients want to linger.

people on a meeting

Navigate Your Users

What you need to achieve with a doc portal is maximum clarity. Confused users are the worst thing, remember that. To avoid this, think like a user!

As far as adoption goes, we are mostly interested in what a new user would expect to find in a documentation portal. The answer is: structure and directions.

Make sure a user is able to see the path they can follow not to get lost in the docs. To help you with that, ClickHelp offers great navigation options like breadcrumbs, mini-TOCs, customizable TOC elements, etc.

Use Smarter Video Content

Video consumption among users is as high as ever, so make sure your documentation has videos. Of course, there is a gap between marketing videos and the ones tech writers create, but it does not mean that the rules of thumb should be avoided.

Remember:

  • Documentation videos should be branded. Adding a product logo is not enough - make good use of the design kits your company has: fonts, colors, any general notes on design.
  • The quality of the video content should live up to corporate standards. Forget about lazy how-to's with unnecessary pauses, sighs, and muttering.
  • Videos need regular updates. Videos that display the old UI of your tool are mostly useless and irritate customers.
  • Common industry practices of video making apply to technical documentation videos as well.

Everybody's talking about how great video content is. But it has zero marketing value when it is sloppy and confusing.

dark laptop on a table

There are more ways than one how you can turn user manuals into a killer marketing tool. We have named just a few. To go deeper, check out this article to learn how software for help authoring can add a ton of value to your marketing efforts.

The message we would like to get across is simple: in the age of DevOps, Agile, and continuous integration boundaries between the responsibilities of different teams become thinner.

While some time ago technical writing was about merely creating docs, now you have more things to consider and marketing is the important one.

Good luck with your technical writing!
ClickHelp Team
Author, host and deliver documentation across platforms and devices

 

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