A Note from the Editor

What is the value of content? The value of technical communication? The value of the communicator? If you’ve ever had this discussion with anyone—a colleague, someone from another job function, a manager or executive, a potential client—you know that it’s often a charged conversation. These questions cut to the bone of who we are—they are asking, “What is my value?” They’re getting personal.

We can’t afford to shy away from this conversation, and we can’t afford to treat it as something “out there” that someone else is going to deal with. It’s not out there—it’s inside each and every one of us. We need to have this conversation, and we need to be spreading the word about the value we bring to our clients, our employers, and their customers and clients.

Hence this issue’s theme: “Measuring the Value of Content.” If we don’t convey value in the conversation around our work, if the people who employ or engage us don’t understand what we do, we’ll soon be out of work. If we can objectively demonstrate and communicate that the content we create has business value, we are more than halfway home to demonstrating that we, the communicators, have value as well.

In this issue, our very own “Metrics” columnist, Mark Lewis, is guest editing. He brings a wealth of insight to this topic and provides us with a survey of perspectives on the value of content. When he’s not writing columns or guest-editing for Intercom, Mark is a Content Strategist and DITA Educator at Quark, and he manages a LinkedIn group called DITA Metrics.

Thank you to Mark for editing this informative issue, and to Melissa Rach, Alan Porter, Scott Abel, Jenifer Schlotfeldt, and Courtney Bittner for sharing their insights about content value with Intercom readers.

As always, we’ve also got some great columns for you in this issue:

  • Scott Abel is back with an interview with Cruce Saunders, Founder and Principal of [A] and change agent extraordinaire.
  • Michelle Corbin challenges all of us to consider technical editors as the arbiters of quality.
  • Russell Willerton presents a few thought-provoking ethics cases from Ryan Bisel’s Organizational Moral Learning: A Communication Approach.

Finally, don’t forget to check out the Society Pages for information on STC’s 2019 membership categories and the submission deadlines for STC’s honors and awards.

While you’re reading, I invite you to have a juicy conversation about some of these topics and issues with a colleague—or many! I would love to hear what you think of the issue, and I’m sure Mark would, as well.

Mark on LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/marklewisflorida/
Mark on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/mark.lewis.10420
Mark on Twitter: @LewisDITAMetric
Andrea on LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/andreaames/
Andrea on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/alames
Andrea on Twitter: @aames

— Andrea L. Ames


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