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As 2014 comes to a close, STC would like to wish its members, partners and other industry professionals a safe and happy holiday season. As we reflect on the past year for the industry, we would like to provide the readers of TechComm Today a look at the most accessed articles from the year. Our regular publication will resume Jan. 14.


Word wranglers: 5 apps that make writing easier
PCWorld
From Aug. 13: Quick: Picture a writer in your head. An image of a bearded old man, hunched over a clackety typewriter may come to mind. But these days, a writer is more likely to be tapping away at a tablet or even a smartphone, composing anything from a business document to the next great American novel. No matter what it is you're writing, these apps can help make the process a little easier.
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How to write better copy while barely trying: 6 foolproof tips
Search Engine Watch
From July 2: Despite what some experts will tell you, people do still read on the Web. Therefore, the copy on your website matters. The copy you use in ads, in video scripts, in blog posts, and in infographics matters. Your customers are reading and hearing your words and making judgments on whether they can trust you and what kind of business you are based on the words you use. Present the right image by writing better copy.
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Death to content: Long live the editor
Econsultancy
From June 18: If the saying goes that content is King, today's warring agendas, varying competence and vulgar chaos would put Game of Thrones to shame. In the effort to rule their industry, almost every player has ended up churning out the same old slurry by neglecting a key element of creating great stories. It comes down to this: the world doesn't need more content; it needs better editors.
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15 delicious examples of card-based Web design
Econsultancy
From April 9: The rise of the smartphone has ushered in a new way of thinking among Web designers and developers, who need to create websites that work on smaller screens. The constraints of smaller screens have actually helped the Web to become that little bit more modular, with responsive design now one of the foremost Web design trends. This has refocused attention on "cards," as a design pattern for displaying information in bite-sized chunks. Cards are ideal for the TL;DR generation, perfect for mobile devices and responsive design. The format may not be new, but it's on the rise.
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An instruction manual for aspiring writers of instruction manuals
AOL
From Sept. 10: If guiding people through complex processes and writing clear, concise, informative prose are things that interest you, technical writing might be a career field worth exploring. However, being competitive in this field likely requires experience or skills in particular areas. Here is an action plan for building the skills, knowledge and experience needed to effectively market yourself as a technical writer to potential employers.
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NEWS FROM STC


Happy New Year! It's Time to Reinvigorate Yourself and Reinvest in Your Continuing Education

The start of a brand new year is right around the corner, so what better time to re-energize and re-focus your career? Beginning in January, STC will offer three popular online courses: Technical Communication for Engineers (starting 13 Jan.), TechComm 101 (starting 14 Jan.), and Producing Effective Video Documentation (starting 15 Jan.). Each course gives you the ability to explore a subject in depth over the course of several weeks as well as take advantage of a unique, live opportunity to learn directly from an instructor and to also exchange ideas and tools virtually with other participants. Time is running out so secure your spot in one of these courses today!
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Reminder: STC Memberships Expire TODAY, 31 December

Take this opportunity to continue your membership with STC for 2015! All STC memberships are on a calendar-year basis (not anniversary) and expire TODAY, 31 December. Renew now and make sure you don't miss a day with STC. Visit http://www.stc.org/membership to join or renew. Those who have already joined or renewed, thank you! Don't forget that you can update your records at any point throughout the year. Click below and log in, then browse through the tabs to change your contact information, update your communication preferences, and even add a chapter or Special Interest Group!
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Tell A Colleague and Win: Member Get a Member In Full Swing

Is there someone you know that would benefit from STC membership? Why not invite them to join! Many of our members found out about STC from another member. Who do you know that needs to know about STC? Refer or recruit a new member by 2 February and be entered to win great prizes! See http://www.stc.org/mgam for more details on how you can win. For recruitment tips, links, and more information, click "more" below or contact membership at membership@stc.org. Thanks to all the members who have already joined or renewed for 2015!
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Registration Open for the 2015 Summit

Join STC at the premier conference for technical communication education and networking 21-24 June in Columbus, Ohio: the 2015 Summit! Make your plans NOW to join your fellow technical communicators in June and take advantage of all that the Summit has to offer, including over 80 education sessions, three networking receptions, the Expo featuring the latest tech comm tools and technologies, and more! Visit summit.stc.org for more information on the Summit, hotel, and Columbus, and secure your spot by registering today!
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IN THE NEWS


Improving your business writing: 10 top tips
The Guardian
From Sept. 24: Writing. We all do it. We spend a large chunk of our day tapping away, writing business emails, tweets, texts and other business communications. Yet very few of us think of ourselves as writers. And even fewer of us have had any training in how to get the best from our words. So we've pulled together ten top tips to help you improve your business writing. These tips are not a list of rules — there are no absolute, written-in-stone dos and don'ts. It's about being clear, friendly and informative. And it's about projecting the right tone, style and brand — while bringing your own unique personality to the table. So, let's take a look at how you become a better business writer.
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Miss an issue of TechComm Today? Click here to visit the TechComm Today archive page.


What makes a good content writer?
Brafton
From Oct. 22: Here's a depressing statistic: A Poynter report showed that more than 13,000 newspaper employees were laid off between the span of 2008 and 2012. And even in 2014 — despite a somewhat improved job market for writers — The New York Times reportedly laid off more than 100 staffers recently. But that doesn't mean good writing is disappearing from the web. Combating the dwindling market for writers and journalists is content marketing.
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33 essential tools for content creators
Business 2 Community
From Nov. 5: As Steve Jobs once said, "Real artists ship." To make content marketing work, writers need to be shipping great content on a regular basis. Having the right tools is key to maximizing productivity. The best writers find ways to keep the focus on writing while also finding ways to highlight and reference work from other content creators to help build relationships and amplify distribution (making the content you create work harder for you). This list will focus specifically on tools that will help make your research and content creation workflow simpler and faster.
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This writing GPS helps you create ridiculously good content
MarketingProfs
From Sept. 10: The writer Andre Dubus has described writing as inching your way along a very dark, very long tunnel: You can make out the next few feet in front of you, but you're not quite certain where you'll end up or when you'll get there. What helps with the uncertainty and enormity of the task is to start with some kind of process to guide the way—necessary checkpoints toward that final piece or the beacons that guide the entire effort.
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Structured authoring: The new normal in content production
ClickZ
From May 21: Structured authoring, although originally just a method favored by technical writers, is now becoming the new normal for enterprise-level content production. The science of information retrieval and processing is going through growing pains, as evidenced by last fall's Hummingbird update and the advances being made by Schema.org leadership. Now is a key time for marketers and their teams to adjust to the semantic search evolution and be prepared as it continues to develop. This is one of the biggest challenges facing practitioners in our field right now.
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TechComm Today

Copyright 2014, Society for Technical Communication (STC). STC advances the theory and practice of technical communication. For more information about STC, visit www.stc.org.

Liz Pohland, STC Director of Communications, +1 (703) 522-4114

Colby Horton, MultiBriefs Vice President of Publishing, +1 (469) 420-2601
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Esther Cho, MultiBriefs Content Editor, +1 (469) 420-2671   
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