How to Choose the Right Product Documentation Partner

Posted by Vicky Hancock on Friday, 21 April 2017

In business as in life, choosing the right partner can make all the difference. A successful partnership with the RIGHT technical communications team will result in product documentation that is worthy of both your product and your valued customers. 


You've designed an exciting new product, and your high-quality product deserves an equally high-quality manual

You are interested in working with a technical writer to develop this manual, and you want to explore how your company could benefit from partnering with a technical communications team for all your product documentation needs.

But how do you choose the right team?

To get the most benefit from the partnership, it is crucial to understand the team's expertise, their documentation development process and how they will work with your team.

This blog examines the criteria to use for evaluating technical communication specialists to ensure their experience and commitment to quality align with your expectations.


Read More

Topics: Technical Communication, How To's

Technical Writers—Translating the Language of Engineers

Posted by Vicky Hancock on Thursday, 30 March 2017

Technical writers play an important product development role, with perhaps their most important role being that of translator—taking complex engineering concepts and procedures and making them easy to understand.


Working as a tech writer for the past 16 years, I've had the opportunity to collaborate with highly skilled engineers to develop documentation for products they have helped design. 

Engineers want the end user to appreciate the products and also have the knowledge to use them appropriately.

For those of us with less mechanical and electrical knowledge, it can be challenging to fully understand the complex processes required for a product to operate as intended.

So what can be done?

Read More

Topics: Expert Insights, Technical Communication

Bitmaps vs. Line Art—Are You Making the Right Choice for Your Manuals?

Posted by Julie Reynolds on Monday, 13 March 2017

Bitmaps and line art are two main file types that you may be considering for your product documentation. This blog will explain the primary differences between these two graphic types and the pros and cons to each.


According to an article in Technical Communication entitled "Illustrations in User Manuals: Preference and Effectiveness with Japanese and American Readers", studies show that "users comprehend more information and perform better with instructional materials that contain illustrations."

Graphics in manuals can appear in many formats including: line drawings, symbols, icons, photographs, illustrations, charts, tables and graphs. Adding high quality, professionally produced imagery that clearly correlates to the step-by-step instructions can add dimension and help the reader visualize processes and concepts that would otherwise be difficult to understand.

On the other hand, using poor quality graphics can have negative effects. It can cause confusion when readers try to interpret the manual instructions, increase the number of service calls your business receives, degrade the experience of the user and lower the reader's opinion of your brand.

Read More

Topics: Expert Insights, Technical Communication

Do Your Manuals Reflect the Quality of Your Product?

Posted by Vicky Hancock on Thursday, 2 March 2017

The user manual is not only a vital piece of communication between you and your customers, it is a critical early impression of your product and brand. 

An image of a man on the phone looking frustrated while holding a user manual.

"Everything your customers see and touch says something about your business and tells part of your story." [Source]


This sentiment resonated with me because I thought how aptly it applies to what I do everyday as a technical writer who develops user manuals.

Each and every aspect of a manual—from the accuracy of the content, to the formatting and detailed graphics, to the paper it’s printed on—is a reflection of the product as well as the brand. In order to convey the appropriate message, it must receive the same level of care, attention and dedication that engineers devote to the technology and design of the product. 

The user manual should be viewed as an extension of the product that directly affects a customer’s user experience. Therefore, providing quality product documentation can only serve to enhance a company’s reputation. Consider your manuals. Do they mirror the quality of your product and provide your customers with helpful information?

Read More

Topics: Expert Insights, Technical Communication

Don't Make This Big Mistake When Planning Your National Sales Meeting!

Posted by Jay Coy on Wednesday, 8 February 2017

Developing a memorable and impactful theme for your national sales meeting is so much more than just coming up with a clever slogan.

You're sitting in the first of many planning meetings for your upcoming sales meeting, and the first topic on the agenda is to "Select the theme." So everyone starts throwing around ideas until you land on something everyone likes. Then you move on.

Let's back up. You want your meeting to have impact, but a fun logo or clever slogan can't deliver that on its own. You need something bigger, something that goes deeper.

Read More

Topics: Corporate Meetings, Expert Insights

Blockbuster or Big Waste of Money? Which Will Your National Sales Meeting Be?

Posted by Jay Coy on Thursday, 29 December 2016

Expert tips for keeping your next national sales meeting in the black and your sales force red hot.

National sales meetings (NSMs) can come with a big price tag. There are planning and preparation costs, transportation and lodging costs, corporate staff time, entertainment and guest speaker costs, production and vendor costs...

It's critical that an NSM achieves meaningful results to justify the spend.

Read More

Topics: Corporate Meetings, Expert Insights

The Champions Playbook for a Slam Dunk National Sales Meeting

Posted by Jay Coy on Wednesday, 23 March 2016


Putting on a National Sales Meeting is like coaching in a championship basketball game. It's an opportunity to gather your team to make adjustments, clarify objectives and build momentum. (Tweet This). In order to pull off a win, you need practice, a strong game plan (strategy), and focused execution. 

With over 30 years of experience, Fire & Rain has competed in many big games, "coaching" businesses and organizations to championship moments. There's nothing we haven't already encountered before. We know what it takes to plan and execute a successful corporate meeting. Use this playbook as a guide to make sure your next sales meeting is a slam dunk!

Read More

Topics: Corporate Meetings, Beginner's Guides

7 Different Types of Video to Consider For Your Website

Posted by Dan Wiesjahn on Wednesday, 16 March 2016

Whether you're a small business or a Fortune 500 company, video should be a part of your online marketing strategy. (Tweet this).

It is important to look before you leap into a video project. It is helpful to know your options when deciding which type of video is best for helping you reach your business goals. The tone of your video says a lot about your business and how you want to be perceived. 

In this continuation of the blog series outlining our MediaIGNITION™ process, you will learn about different types of video to consider for your website. This series is intended to help lay a solid foundation for a well thought out and effective use of video as a communications tool. 

Read More

Topics: Video Production, Expert Insights

8 Simple Tweaks for Optimal Landing Page Lead Conversion

Posted by Christal Marx on Wednesday, 9 March 2016

In my last post I listed 6 reasons why your website visitors may not be sticking around on your website long enough to convert into leads. Once visitors ARE hanging around your site, you need to capture their contact information with strong calls-to-action that send them to optimized landing pages.

Do you have 20 minutes to improve your lead conversions? Sure you do! Pull up one of your landing pages and see if you're using these 8 lead-converting elements. More importantly, discover if you are you using them in the RIGHT way. 

Read More

Topics: Tips

Why Isn't My Website Converting Leads?

Posted by Christal Marx on Wednesday, 2 March 2016

lead conversion.gif

You've spent a lot of time, energy and money into getting more traffic to your business website. Now you need to convert those visitors into leads.

If your website isn't performing the way it should be, there are some key things to look into. Below are 6 reasons visitors might not be sticking around on your website long enough to convert.

Read More

Topics: Expert Insights, FAQ's