Advanced Technical Editing


Katherine Brown-Hoekstra
STC Fellow Principal, Comgenesis, LLC


Online Courses

Advanced Technical Editing

24 January-28 February 2019 (Thursdays) | 11:00 AM-12:30 PM EST (GMT-5)

As new technologies expand our omni-channel publishing requirements and companies extend the global reach of their products and their content marketing, the role of editor becomes both more critical and more strategic. Effective editorial processes and change management can make a huge difference to a company’s bottom line.

An estimated 70–80% of customers look at a company’s product content before contacting a salesperson. This means that our public-facing content needs to be usable and useful, as well as well-written and edited. Ensuring effectiveness and consistency can be challenging when teams are working in a structured environment. In this environment, the editorial team and style guide help ensure that the content is consistent and is written in the same voice.

In this course, you will build your editorial skills while also learning about strategies for improving your processes and global-readiness. Because the best way to become a better editor is to practice, we will have exercises and projects throughout the course. In addition, you will receive job aids, recommended reading, and other resources that you can use in your work.

Learning Objectives:

  • Understand the strategic role of an editor.
  • Make the business case for excellent editorial processes and global-ready content.
  • Improve your editing skills.
  • Learn 3 things you can do right now to improve your content.
  • Gain resources and tools for improving your processes and content.


  • Minimum of 3-5 years of technical communication or editing experience
  • Knowledge of the fundamentals of editing and/or has taken the Fundamentals of Editing course


The prework will be sent to you after you register for the class. Completing the prework will help me see where you are at and what areas you need help with. If everyone is struggling in the same area, we can make adjustments to the class and work on those things.

  • Complete the survey.
  • Complete the editing exercise.
  • Purchase a copy of The Global English Style Guide by John Kohl, if you don’t already have it (
  • Find your corporate style guide (if you don’t have one, just let me know).
  • Identify 3-4 pieces of content you want to use in the audit section.

Session Descriptions

In this first session, we will get to know each other and discuss 5 areas that impact the global-readiness of your content. As part of the discussion, we will talk about the role editors can play in each of these areas. Later sessions will cover aspects of these areas in greater detail.

  • Introduction
  • Planning
  • Structure
  • Change Management
  • Language Choice and Consistency
  • Excellent source content

In the course, The Fundamentals of Editing, Li-At Rathburn talks about the levels of edit and how to apply them. We will use the levels of edit as the basis for our discussions on structured content, data, and graphics.

  • Planning
  • Working with Structured Content
  • Working with Data
  • Working with Graphics

As more companies move to structured authoring, machine learning, automation, augmented and virtual reality, etc., having a controlled vocabulary becomes increasingly important. Senior editors and writers play a key role in the success of implementing controlled language.

  • Vocabulary and the Importance of Verbs
  • Consistency
  • Change management
  • Tools and Resources

Even if you are a team of one in a startup environment, you need a style guide. We will discuss what makes an effective style guide and how to incorporate external resources into it.

  • Components of a Corporate Style Guide
  • Resources and how to include them
  • Team Buy-in

When embarking on any strategic planning process, you need to know where you are before you know where you need to go. In this session, we will discuss what a content audit is and how to conduct it, as well as how to present the results to management.

  • Purpose
  • Methods
  • Measurement
  • Reporting

Even if you are the best editor in the world, you will not be successful if you cannot give effective feedback and explain your comments to your team and your clients. Part of being an excellent editor is being a good teacher.

  • Managing Expectations
  • Providing Effective Feedback
  • Wrap-Up


Katherine (Kit) Brown-Hoekstra is an award-winning writer, consultant, and trainer with a background in the life sciences and 25+ years of experience in the technical communication field. She is currently the Principal for Comgenesis, LLC, which provides consulting services and training to clients on internationalizing and improving the usability of their documentation, developing a coherent content strategy and content model, as well as more traditional technical writing and editing services.

During her career, Kit has worked with technical experts worldwide to successfully develop strategies and processes for creating content for a variety of global audiences, ranging from government agencies to technicians, physicians, and software end-users. Her work includes content strategy, process improvement, content audits and other analysis, usability testing and other research, as well as content creation for multichannel publishing and more traditional writing and editing. Kit holds a Master of Science degree in Technical Communication and a Bachelor of Science degree in Biology, both from Colorado State University.

Kit is a certified trainer for STC’s Certified Professional Technical Communicator (CPTC) program, a 2017 Winner of the Communication and Leadership Award for Toastmasters (District 26), a 2016 MindTouch Top 25 Content Strategist and 2017 Content Experience Influencer, a 2016 inductee of the Colorado State Media Hall of Fame, a Fellow and a former Society president (2014-15) for the Society for Technical Communication (STC).

She speaks at many conferences worldwide. In 2017, she edited The Language of Localization. In 2006, she coauthored (with Brenda Huettner and Char James-Tanny) Managing Virtual Teams: Getting the Most from Wikis, Blogs, and Other Collaborative Tools. In addition, she is a former editor of IEEE-PCS News, and a contributor to Multilingual, TC World, and Intercom, among other publications. Her blog is

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