I’ve mentioned on a few occasions that with the completion of my contract at BASF, I would have to figure out what my next move would be. Job hunting is something that I dread, especially since the region where I live doesn’t have much opportunity unless I go out of my way to travel far to the cities. I’m in a position where I can’t move due to my son’s education for now, so I had to figure out what the best move for me would be. Thanks to my husband’s support, and my mom setting the example for me when I was younger, I decided that perhaps I’d make a go of it on my own. I’m tired of working through agencies or “the man”.
So, on July 4th, 2015, I officially launched my own business. I figured that it would be appropriate to declare my status as an independent contractor on (American) Independence Day. While many of you have read on LinkedIn that I’m working as a Content Marketing Strategist for Information Development World, that is my first contract, which started a big before my official launch.
My company is called Dair Communications, and it already has a barebones website that needs a little tweaking (my husband is helping me set the website up, as he’s a developer and wanted to help, as he should). I chose “Dair” because it’s Gaelic for “Oak“, and I’ll leave it to your imagination what words are evoked when using that description. There are also sentimental reasons for the use of “dair” stemming from my heritage, so it seemed appropriate. The other connotaction is that the word “dair” sounds like the English word, “dare”, so I’d like to think that I’m doing something daring by breaking out on my own, and that I would dare to try new and creative solutions for my clients. Hence–do you DAIR? 😉
Many of my readers have asked me to blog about being an independent contractor. I will do my best! I know that I will be doing a lot to help out with The Content Wrangler blog and Information Development World for the next several months, and I will share some of those projects and observations with you. You might not see quite as many TechCommGeekMom entries as before as I transition into this new adventure, but I’m not going away anytime soon.
You can! Here’s how.
1.Login to your Twitter account.
2.Post a tweet explaining why you should should receive a free ticket to the event. Creativity counts!
3.Include these two identifiers (@InfoDevWorld and #WhyMe) in your tweet.
One lucky TechCommGeekMom reader will win a free All-Access pass to the event. The All-Access pass includes your selection of one pre-conference full-day skills development workshop on September 30 and unlimited access to the conference, October 1 and 2. It also includes light breakfast, lunch, coffee breaks, and snack breaks daily.
Restrictions:The free All-Access pass to the conference does not include transportation costs (airfare, train, car, parking) nor does it include accommodations or dinner at the event.
You can enter as often as you like until 1:00 PM EDT on July 15th. I’ll then tally all the entries, and pick a winner within the next day or so after that!
So what are you waiting for? Commence Tweets……NOW!
But it’s different this year! This year, I’M GOING! I’m pretty excited about this, because I know this is a conference that is definitely geared towards content strategists who are like me–someone who not only does content strategy, but also does content management, web design, user strategy, works with customer experience, and has a love of localization and globalization issues as well. Of course, the event is also covering other topics like content marketing, data and analytics, digital publishing, and content engineering. The point of this conference is to help those who touch content in any way, shape, or form and want to enhance the customer experience through content experiences. Sounds like my kind of conference, as if it was custom-made for someone like me who is still building her content-based career!
The main focus of IDW is customer-centric–which is something that will help a lot of information developers. Having originally come from a customer service/client services background before I entered the IT/techcomm world, I tend to have a better understanding than most people, so it comes a little more naturally to me. Today, content strategy really is all about personalization and making content speak to customers in a way that it feels like the content is talking to each customer specifically. That’s not an easy task. The goal of IDW is to help everyone get a much better understanding of how this is done, and how to make it work most efficiently so that content works for you, not against you. How could you not want to learn about that?
I’m not going to miss out this year. I’m going, and it would take a lot to stop me from going. There’s too much to learn and great content strategists to meet–why would I pass this up again? I’m not making the same mistake twice! It’s a fantastic investment in ME and what I can bring to my clients.
Have you registered for IDW yet? If so, great! If not, what are you waiting for? Register today!
Anyone who has read this blog for a while knows how much I love Val Swisher of Content Rules. Why? Well, first of all, she’s a lovely person and great friend all around. But that’s beside the point. As a technical communicator, she is one of the foremost experts on content strategy, specializing in global content strategy. I’ve seen Val give presentations at various conferences, and the thing I like about her presentations is that while her topics might be high-level topics, someone like me who is still learning can understand what she is talking about. I never walk away from a Val Swisher presentation without feeling like I absorbed something that I can use in my own work–or at least have a better understanding of how it fits into the content strategy field. I have often credited Val for providing me with the ideas that have helped me get my current job and make an impact there.
So on that note, I was pleased to see that she had written a book on her specialty called, Global Content Strategy: A Primer, which is available through The Content Wrangler’s Content Strategy Series published by XML Press. This book is easily read in an afternoon, and is loaded with a lot of information.
If you’ve never had the pleasure of hearing Val’s presentations, then this book is a great way to have many of the concepts she talks about in her presentations found in one place. She provides not only the basics of what global content strategy is, but breaks down bigger ideas into simple terms, and includes color images to provide examples, which is a good move. Val explains that globalization is not just about translating content, but also being sensitive and knowledgeable about localization as well. For example, what works in Portugese in Portugal doesn’t necessarily work for Portugese in Brazil. Translations can’t always be made word for word because of idioms and expressions that aren’t universal. Val provides many examples of this applies not only textually, but in imagery as well.
The book also talks about how the translation process can get complex and bungled without establishing a translation memory database and consistency of terminology. Val provides some pointers to help global strategists wade through these issues to keep it all straight, including what not to do as well as what best practices are.
My only criticism of the book, ironically enough, is that it doesn’t seem to be written for a global audience, but rather for an American–or perhaps North American–audience. There’s nothing wrong with that, but what if I was in another country and looking to create a global strategy? Perhaps it’s because as the Internet has grown, it has seemingly been American English-centric, and by writing for an American audience, Val has written for the group that needs to become more aware of the global audience it needs to reach!
I’ve been a team member on a global web project for the last six months or so, and I remember much of what I learned from Val had taught me to the members of my immediate team that would show that even though we were working on a North American section of a website, we had to find that balance between the global and local content. Sometimes my words were heard, and sometimes it fell on deaf ears. Upon reading this book and revisiting the concepts that I’ve heard her present in the past, I do wish this book had been given to someone at the top of the global team to understand that translation alone is not enough, and that localization makes a big difference. They could’ve used this book as a great reference to better streamline the process and the web project. Many global companies could benefit from reading this book to help put their content in perspective.
If you are looking to acclimate to the concept of global content strategy and what that entails, then this is a great resource for you to read. There are a lot of details squeezed into this slim volume that will be easy to understand, and yet you’ll feel a little overwhelmed at first at how many details one needs to consider when creating a global strategy. Fortunately, this reference book breaks it down so that it isn’t as overwhelming as it could be, and helps content strategists think in a more single-sourced, consistent way to provide the best ROI for a project.
I will admit that there are a lot of content strategists who have been doing content strategy for a much longer time than I have. Val is one of those people, and she’s someone I consider to be one of my many wonderful tech comm mentors. So you can believe me when I say that it’s been a great honor to be asked by Val Swisher of Content Rules to do a guest post on the Content Rules Blog that will also be in the Content Rules Newsletter soon. I’ve learned from her and many others over the last few years, and I have some experience under my belt as well now, which has culminated in this article. I hope you enjoy it!
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