Technical Writers are Reluctant Self-Marketers

I don’t know how many times I’ve talked to technical writers who’ve said to me that they dislike self-marketing.

If you’re employee and you don’t like marketing yourself, it may mean you suffer from a lack of visibility within your company. People know your name but they may not understand what you do or how you add any value to the organization. If you’re a contract writer and you dislike marketing, the results can be more serious—a track record that is marred by long periods of unemployment.

Why do technical writers dislike marketing so much? Here are a couple of guesses:

*Most technical writers are introverts. By their very nature, technical writers don’t like to stand in the limelight or toot their own horns. They enjoy working alone, not networking, and certainly not presenting a topic to others.

*They haven’t learned about marketing. Many writers I’ve talked to often wrinkle their noses when talking about marketing as if it’s a dirty word.

Marketing, in my mind, is vital to the ongoing success of an organization. As a contract writer, I believe it’s important to remind clients and prospects about who I am and the services I offer, even when I’m working on a long-term contract. If you don’t remind people of the services you provide—whether it’s an e-mail, blog post, or upcoming presentation you’re scheduled to deliver—people forget about you. And if they forget you, you won’t hear about upcoming jobs.

Sometimes people dislike something because they don’t understand it. If you’re a contract technical writer struggling with lining up contracts and feel that marketing is not your forte, I’d recommend you read Duct Tape Marketing by John Jantsch, which provides an excellent overview of marketing activities for a small business. Who knows? You might start enjoying marketing after all.

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