Jack Molisani Executive Director at ProSpring Technical Staffing joins us in this episode of Knowledgebase Ninjas to discuss his technical/content writing strategies.
Connect with Jack Molisani and view ProSpring Technical Staffing’s Knowledgebase here:
How did Jack get into documentation?
Jack started working as a Project Officer for the US Air Force Space division after graduating in computer engineering. When he left the Air Force, he got a job as a sales engineer until the recession during the mid 90’s hit and he, and many others were laid off.
With no work as an engineer, Jack turned to technical writing because he was good at it. He wrote about APIs, the functions of the applications and operating systems. He held down a job as a technical writer until he decided to make his own technical writing company by the name of ProSpring Technical Staffing. Where he continues to work today as the Content Strategy President.
Jack’s documentation process
Jack owns two companies: ProSpring Technical and LavaCon, Jack says he deals with the knowledge management front as well as the data creation. He mentioned that at LavaCon, many of their initial conferences were free for public use.
“A cobbler’s son has no shoes”, Jack says before explaining that they held content strategy conferences, but didn’t document any of their own strategies. Now, Jack is focused on going through their inventory to documenting it all.
Syncing: How a combination of documentation and marketing works?
Jack agrees that marketing and documentation compliment each other and further gives two points.
- Before the evolution of marketing, many components of the company, including technical support and training used to live in their own silos, and generated their own content. Jack adds, however, that over the past 18 months there has been a shift in consumer behaviour, where they are more inclined to check the documentation to verify ease of use, quality, and other factors before purchasing
- Documentation has migrated under the control of marketing. Jack cites an example of tech and marketing becoming more interlinked when a customer goes on a website for their needs and is met with coupons for a product. This integration is becoming more commonplace and the combination more prominent.
Who has inspired Jack in the world of documentation?
Alongside all the speakers of his technical conference, three people happen to top Jack’s inspiration list.
- Kristina Halvorson – Founder and CEO at Brain Traffic
- Karen McGrane – User Experience at Bond Art
- Margot Merrill Fernandez – Director of Content Strategy at Facebook for Business
Jack’s top documentation related resources
- Content Strategy for the Web – Kristina Halvorson’s book
- Content Strategy for Mobile – Karen McGrane’s book
One piece of advice Jack would give his younger self about documentation
The advice Jack would give to his younger self would be to “summarise”. “You are writing for a short-attention span theatre,” he emphasises, on the word “short”. Jack continues by saying that microcontent is becoming more common now – what used to be said in a whole paragraph is being said in a few words or bullets. People just don’t have the time to go through all the information.