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How I use Twitter to find technical writing work

KB from London heard that I use Twitter to find work.

Like many of us, she thought Twitter was a waste of time and ignored it. Maybe we can change her mind.

How I use Twitter to find technical writing work

Here’s how I use it.

Create a twitter account for your business. Add a keyword into the title, for example, if you’re an accountant, call your twitter account @Accounting140 – accountancy tips in 140 characters.

Add links to your website in the profile. Add your business logo. It has to look professional. Go to oDesk and spend $100 on a nice new logo and design.

Learn how to create Twitter lists.

  • Create a list for people who have a lot of influence in your industry.
  • Create a list for people of your competitors.
  • Create a list for people who are generous, who retweet, and who are willing to help you if you help them.
  • Keep these lists private.

Next

Follow chats. Do a Google search for twitter chats related to your industry. Add the date to your calendar.

Ask questions. This works very well. Others are promoting themselves too hard. Instead, you ask questions about your line of business and help others.

Add one hashtag to every post/question. Don’t over do it.

Next

Do Searches. Here’s an example. Type the following into Twitter.

Excel ?

This returns tweets related to Excel from people with questions.

Question  = problems.

Change the text.

Excel pivot ?

Excel export ?

Excel freeze ?

Then answer these questions. If you have a site, send them there.

This works very well and takes little effort.

If you do this every day for ten minutes:

People start to follow you.

People add your account to their, usually public, lists.

They start asking you questions.

You’re seen as an expert. You can encourage them to visit your site, see your services, and connect.

Ten minutes a day. Try it.

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Who Makes More Money? Technical Writers with Language or IT Skills?

money

Kai raised an interesting point about which skill (writing or technical) takes longer to master.

Knowing how to structure and present information to users? Or knowing how to use a product or application? That got me thinking. If you want to make money as a technical writer, which area should you focus on?

Sharpen your writing skills or deepen your technical knowledge, for example, learning how to document an API?

Which Technical Writers Makes The Most Money

I think there is more money if you have deep technical knowledge rather than strong writing skills.

Kai’s point is, “…it’s always been easier and faster to learn a product/app. So knowing about structuring and presenting information has been the more valuable skill in a writer – and the rarer one, too, that’s much harder to learn from colleagues!

So I agree with David: “… it’s easier for a good non-technical writer with an interest in technology to become a good technical writer, than it is for a good engineer to become one.”

… and with Ivan, that writers can make up deficiencies with interest: “… if someone has an interest in sharing how the technology works, then they will go the extra mile…”

I think the real issue is this:  Which skill takes longer to master?

I have to admit, that’s a very good way of looking at it. I hadn’t actually thought of it in those terms.

  • My take is that it’s easier to develop language/writing skills… or at least to develop them to a level where you can perform your duties as a technical writer.
  • With technology it’s more complex as (at least for me) I’m always learning. Even in areas where I have considerable knowledge, I still find that I’m learning and finding better ways of doing things.
  • When I started out my writing skills were rather ‘unsophisticated’ and that’s being kind. But, I knew how to program (Cobol, C, Fortran) and landed some nice contracts as a results. Writers with much better qualifications weren’t even considered.

I think there is more money if you have deep technical knowledge rather than strong writing skills.

What do you think?

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What’s the Highest Daily Rate You Can Get as a Technical Writer?

Singing DinosaursKnowledge is power. Knowing the daily rates of others in your industry helps you negotiate fees and get a better deal.

I’ve worked in the US, UK and now here in Asia and have seen a vast difference in the rates that writers work for.

Some of my friends in India work for $15 per hour, which works for them, while I know others in the Bay Area that are down to $25 per hour. Quite a drop as they were on $60 only 12 months back. Continue reading What’s the Highest Daily Rate You Can Get as a Technical Writer?