Writing a guest blog post

Scott Nesbitt has asked a number of technical writers, and I’m one of the privileged, if we’d like to write a guest post on the DMN Communications blog. So I did: What makes a technical writer tick?

Writing for someone else’s blog is fun! It’s also interesting.

What’s different

You suddenly have all sorts of new considerations. You don’t know exactly when your post will be published. Potentially, you don’t know your audience as well as when writing on your own blog. You’re not sure how much editing the blog owner will do on your post after you’ve submitted it. You don’t have hands-on control of the formatting and you can’t make final tweaks just before publication.

Publication date arrives

I waited with bated breath. Seeing my post appear: Fun — almost as if reading it for first time. Surprise — the format is unfamiliar. Even though I’ve visited DMN Communications often before, it was still odd to see my words up there in that format. When writing on your own blog, you write in a WYSIWYG editor. You craft the appearance along with the words.

Hmmm. That’s the way most of us operate in our day jobs too. This made me think again about the trend towards content reuse and single sourcing, such as via DITA, where you need to write format-agnostic content. It’s difficult!

From the point of view of the blog host

On the subject of inviting guests to blog on your site, Scott has written some interesting notes from his perspective.

Scott added some headings into my post. That was a good editorial decision. He also let me know that he had done it before he published the post. He added the image at the top, and then added my fish image at the bottom when I emailed it to him later. Awesome to-ing and fro-ing. Scott also let me know how much extra traffic my post had generated. That was cool. Thanks Scott!

Comments from readers

I’m thoroughly enjoying the comments other technical writers are leaving on the post. Who can resist the “fish called Rhonda“? Bring on the puns, guys and gals! And if you want to add more serious stuff, well, that’s OK too😉

Writing a guest blog post

Writing a guest blog post

Technical writers are simply the best. Better than all the rest. With another bow to Douglas Adams: It is a bizarrely improbable coincidence that anything so mind-bogglingly useful could have evolved purely by chance.

About Sarah Maddox

Technical writer, author and blogger in Sydney

Posted on 25 June 2009, in technical writing and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

  1. Sarah,

    It was a great post, and a fun read.

    Have to admit that getting posts from contributors in whatever format they chose is a bit of a pain for everyone. Luckily, I haven’t had to do any heavy editing in the two guest posts that we’ve run so the backing and forthing has been minimal — pretty much what you described here.

    To be honest, I thought about getting everyone to do their posts in a wiki (DokuWiki, which is what we use). And that is still an option for the folks who are still in the queue to write guest posts.

    Thanks again for taking part in this little experiment!

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