Interview with a… Training Manager

Many digital content and techcomm professionals think about going into training as they develop and build their careers so we are particularly pleased to hear about what this work entails from Dan Jones, a training manager for a global insurance firm based in Zurich, Switzerland. He reveals how to get started in training, why learning professionals are more in demand than traditional classroom trainers and why he loves the job.

You can also read more interviews with professionals working across the field of digital communications in our Interview with a… series.

Dan Jones, Training ManagerWhat is your job title?

Officially, I’m a training manager, but I like to call myself a modern workplace learning professional since it’s a better reflection of what I do. I’m employed full-time with a global insurance company in Switzerland.

What does your job involve?

I help our employees acquire knowledge, apply new skills and shift attitudes through modern approaches to workplace learning, communication and change management.

So, in addition to designing and delivering classroom and online courses, I create ‘learning experiences’ that go beyond traditional, face-to-face training sessions. I manage a learning community, produce and host webinars, and monitor social media groups.

And I use my techie and design skills to build SharePoint collaboration sites, create social media graphics and videos, and produce microlearning modules and apps that learners use to reinforce their learning both before and after a class. Continue reading

Posted in Digital Communications, Guest Blogger, Professional Development and Training, Technical Communications
Tagged , , ,
Leave a comment

Feeling behind on digital content? You’re not alone…

A six-page snapshot of 2017 content trends was released earlier this year, showing the state of play in digital content development and delivery for those who work in the industry.

The survey of 1900 writers, managers, IAs and content strategists asked about their use of tools, processes, content types, customer content expectations and more. The resulting data from Data Conversion Laboratory (DCL) and the Center for Information-Development Management (CIDM) wanted to track how, and if, organisations or individual professionals were adapting their processes and content to be more viable in an increasingly electronic world.

One comforting finding for some will be that just over half (51%) of those polled felt that their content was not ready for the future – a 21% increase over last year. “There is comfort in knowing you are not alone in the challenges you face,” said Dawn Stevens, Director of CIDM and President of Comtech Services. “I think so many participate in this survey year after year to see where they are in comparison to other companies, and to ensure that they are not being left behind.”

The fact that so many more respondents this year felt their content was not ready is a big wake-up call, however. “My sense is that the bar is constantly rising both in functionality and data volume, and if you’re not keeping up, you’re falling behind. I think the people who thought they’d just wait and see, are finding that they’re now that much further behind,” added Mark Gross, DCL’s president.

Key highlights

One of the biggest areas that needs improvement is the ability of customers to find and consume content more easily: Continue reading

Posted in Content Marketing, Content Strategy, Digital Communications, Market Trends, Technical Communications, The market, Tools and Analytics
Tagged , , , , ,
Leave a comment

Useful links for digital communicators (July-August 2017)

Keyboard mouse by Michael Mol/FlickrCatch up on industry insight, professional development and training articles, and useful links from the field of digital communications via our regular links roundup.

We also post regularly to our Firehead’s Twitter and LinkedIn pages, so please do connect with or follow us there.

Here’s what we’ve been bookmarking and reading over the past month across the fields of AI, content strategy, techcomm, UX and digital communications recruitment. Continue reading

Posted in Augmented reality, Content Marketing, Content Strategy, Digital Communications, Market Trends, Productivity, Professional Development and Training, Reading, Recruitment, Technical Communications, The Market, The market, Usability
Tagged
Leave a comment

Best of Augmented World Expo 2017 #AWE2017

AWE 2017 logoContent futurists alert! The eighth edition of Augmented World Expo (AWE) – the world’s largest augmented reality, virtual reality and wearable technology expo – took place in Santa Clara, California on 31 May-2 June.

Augmented reality hardware and software is still in the early stages relatively speaking but it is improving all the time, and many brands are keeping a keen eye out for AR applications that will help their business – which means jobs for the suitably skilled. As one of our recruitment areas at Firehead, the field of AR content is increasingly one to watch and so AWE is one of the most fascinating conferences for us to tune into, albeit from afar. We’re also looking forward to AWE’s European event in Munich, Germany on 19-20 October.

While AR content jobs and opportunities for digital communicators are not yet mainstream, it is certainly an area to watch. So here are some of our collected highlights from the main event to add to your bookmarks… Continue reading

Posted in Augmented reality, Conferences, Market Trends
Tagged ,
Comments Off on Best of Augmented World Expo 2017 #AWE2017

Useful links for digital communicators (June 2017)

glasses on keyboard (CC) Michael SaechangCatch up on industry insight, professional development and training articles, and useful links from the field of digital communications via our monthly links roundup.

We also post regularly to our Firehead’s Twitter and LinkedIn pages, so please do connect with or follow us there.

Here’s what we’ve been bookmarking and reading over the past month across the fields of content strategy, tech comm, UX and digital communications recruitment.

Continue reading

Posted in Augmented reality, Content Marketing, Content Strategy, Digital Communications, Reading, Recruitment, The Market, Usability
Tagged
Comments Off on Useful links for digital communicators (June 2017)

Is DITA working for you? DITA Satisfaction Survey 2017 results

Darwin Information Typing Architecture (DITA) has gained widespread adoption in the techcomm field, as both a tool and a standard for structured technical writing. Through semantic tagging and an XML architecture, it facilitates the re-use of content across different outputs and helps thousands of organisations around the world to deliver content more efficiently and cost-effectively.

And so it was with great interest that we received The Content Wrangler’s 2017 survey, which offers preliminary aggregate results on how satisfied adopters really are with DITA, as well as how they rate the benefits and the challenges.

Technical communication professionals working at 250 companies around the world have taken part so far. The DITA Satisfaction Survey is still open to DITA users – click here to have your say or read on for the survey highlights. Continue reading

Posted in Content Strategy, Digital Communications, Market Trends, Products, Professional Development and Training, Single Sourcing, Technical Communications
Tagged ,
Comments Off on Is DITA working for you? DITA Satisfaction Survey 2017 results

Catch up on Confab Central 2017

Confab signWhy not ‘confab’ vicariously with our wicked list of links from the annual content strategy conference held in the US.

Confab Central 2017 took place from 7-9 June in Minneapolis and brought together around 600 content leads, content strategists, brand strategists, heads of content, senior digital writers, chief content officers and other content professionals from around the world to talk content strategy.

LeVar Burton from Star Trek: The Next Generation was the celebrity keynote, talking about storytelling in the modern age, while author Ann Handley took the content strategist’s keynote slot challenging our built-up bank of biases and assumptions about content. Other leading lights from the world of content strategy – including Kristina Halvorson, Meghan Casey, Ahava Liebtag, Corey Vilhauer and Margot Bloomstein – were also giving talks on the latest thinking in this field.

Here’s the skinny… Continue reading

Posted in Conferences, Content Strategy, Professional Development and Training
Tagged , , , ,
Comments Off on Catch up on Confab Central 2017

How and why clients fail with their content commissions

Recently we highlighted earnings and freelance rates in the world of copywriting, according to the 2017 Professional Copywriters’ Network (PCN) survey. But the research also revealed a number of issues on the client side of hiring in copywriters.

PCN-LogoAmong the 500 UK copywriters who responded to the survey, 35% said that only some of their clients were comfortable judging copy; 5% admitted that only a few were. The survey concluded that some clients would “benefit from support when it comes to commissioning, critiquing and approving copy”.

Almost all respondents said some of their clients would benefit from advice on commissioning copy, for example, with only 10% saying few clients needed help instructing copywriters.

The main problems copywriters faced on receiving a work brief were a lack of basic information on content, tone and voice, and little guidance on who they were writing for. Continue reading

Posted in Content Marketing, Content Strategy, Market Trends, Technical Communications, The market
Tagged , ,
2 Comments

Learn customer journey mapping – workshops now available

Noz Urbina Gatwick workshopFirehead is now offering workshops in customer journey mapping (CJM) – a very useful skill for content professionals to add to their content toolkit as it helps brands understand how the user experiences and interacts with their content across multiple touch-points and channels.

Our CJM training is run as a classroom-based workshop in conjunction with our training partner Urbina Consulting, The course covers key concepts and theory, as well as practical exercises. It is suitable for techcomm and content professionals, and managers seeking strategic insight into how to create multi or omnichannel content.

Click for full course details and delivery options…

Image: © Urbina Consulting

Posted in Content Marketing, Content Strategy, Digital Communications, Firehead.net News, Professional Development and Training, Technical Communications, Tools and Analytics
Tagged , ,
Comments Off on Learn customer journey mapping – workshops now available

25 learnings from LavaCon Dublin 2017

The LavaCon Conference on Content Strategy and Technical Communication Management took place last month (22-24 May), and brought together content strategists, user experience designers, documentation managers, and other content and UX specialists to Croke Park in Dublin, Ireland.

lavacon-logo-2017While CJ Walker, founder and director of Firehead, was helping to man the Institute of Scientific and Technical Communicators (ISTC) booth, the expert talks, workshops and other sessions on content strategy and techcomm were coming thick and fast. The main content theme was Spanning Silos, Building Bridges, but there was plenty more on the digital communications agenda.

We’ve collected a selection of useful, interesting and statistical Tweets from the #Learnedatlavacon and #Lavacon stream. Visit our Storify here or scroll down to view the embed. You might also like to read more posts on techcomm or view our training options. Continue reading

Posted in Conferences, Content Strategy, Digital Communications, Technical Communications
Tagged , , ,
Comments Off on 25 learnings from LavaCon Dublin 2017