Conferences have sessions devoted to it, bloggers post about it, and the job boards are reflecting it… no longer is being “just a tech writer” or support specialist enough. New technology and trends bring with them new opportunities to explore niche areas, and expand your marketability —while perhaps strengthening the whole field of communications with additional knowledge. Online and print magazines continue to sprout, while big consulting firms rake in cash from selling new frameworks and methodologies to somehow corral it all together. So where does the content professional fit in this brave new world of big data, analytics, journey mapping and customer engagement? We’re just as curious as you, so we’ve come up with a new poll question designed to spark some deep thinking and debate.
Professional communicators, tech comm-focused and otherwise live by a few well chosen mantras, such as “know your audience.” (If you have any doubt of this, check the TechWhirl archives for the last 21 years.) It does seem that many of the emerging disciplines that are making to the status of tags and hashtags involve data about audiences, the prospective or current users of products and services. Add to it the growing chorus of thought leaders and other professionals who clamor for unified strategies, smashing apart silos, and breaking down the traditional barriers between functional groups in an organization. The result often appears to be chaos, but in fact there are new specialties slipping into the mix to take advantage of the new wealth of information. Information analysts who focus on gleaning useful tidbits from vast quantities of social media content, technical wizardss who build out systems to manage information from collection through various workflows that result in new products and responsive customer service. And probably many more than what we’ve uncovered in our frequent surveillance of the internet.
If you’ve been involved in tech comm for more than a few years, you’re probably aware of, if not actively involved in some of the newer disiciplines that came out of the birth of the internet. Usability, user interface design, digital publishing, among others. Now we’re seeing text analytics, process management, content engineering. drive the need for expanded skill sets. Can communications professionals, even those with an extreme geek quotient leverage these areas? Should they? Will integrating the data management, process management, and content management functions help our organizations do better by our customers? We’d love to hear your thoughts. Take a moment to vote on these disciplines, and let us know if we missed any (I’m sure we did), and post a comment about how you’d leverage these arenas.