Nurturing and Recognizing Good Technical Writers

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At Fixate, Sweetcode’s “companion site,” we have a team of seasoned technical writers who create blog posts, articles, tutorials, white papers and eBooks for clients, according to the clients’ specific needs. Sweetcode acts as a training ground for these writers, where we can nurture and recognize good technical writers. As a result, Sweetcode focuses more on giving our writers the chance to grow, without having to worry about client needs. 

Neither Fixate nor Sweetcode could exist without our team of technical writers. As a result, we highly value and take pride in our writers, who are all experts in various aspects of the DevOps industry. 

How we do this is best described through looking at the process of becoming a Fixate writer.

Nurturing and Recognizing Good Technical Writers

Where to Start?

Most of our Fixate writers first apply to join the Sweetcode community. Upon acceptance of their application, we invite them to join our Sweetcode community on Slack. Not all community members are interested in writing blog posts exclusively for Sweetcode. But if they are, and they have at least one year of DevOps (lifecycle) experience, we compensate them for each pre-approved post they publish with us.

There are two methods for choosing a topic to write about. We make either or both available to the Sweetcode community depending on trends and traffic on our site.

Choosing a Topic

Using AI-generated titles and abstracts, Sweetcode provides a pool of topics from which qualified contributors can choose. Our objective is to provide a broader variety of content to our audience of DevOps practitioners, as well as to encourage contributors to expand their repertoire.

Suggesting a Topic

We monitor the performance of posts from the pool. Contributors whose posts perform well, qualify to suggest a DevOps topic and write a thesis statement about it. They use this Request to Blog on Sweetcode form. The thesis statement goes before a panel for approval, which meets on a weekly basis. The panel takes into account how current a topic is, how frequently it has already been written about, the proposed technical depth of the post, and the target audience. 

Using the Sweetcode Template

No matter the method for choosing or suggesting a topic, we send the contributor a template through Google Docs on which they can draft their post. Our template is not simply a space for writers to work, but also a space where we provide advice and guidance. The template begins with guiding our writers through how they can optimize their post for search. It includes a general layout for the title and subheadings, as well as recommendations for the length of different sections. 

Once our writers have finished writing their post, they notify us, and we begin the copy-editing process.

The Copy-Editing Process

Upon receiving the notification, we review the post. We begin by evaluating the readability and SEO standards of the post. If a post does not meet these standards, we edit and optimize it as part of the copy-editing process. We also look for grammar and overall quality of the post. 

To better understand how we optimize each blog post, you can refer to this article: “How to Optimize Your Blog Post.”

Once we have made all copy edits, we leave detailed comments on what a writer did well, and what they should give more consideration in future posts. For example, if a writer needs to improve on readability, we give them concrete feedback they can work with, such as advising them to use more active and less passive voice in their sentences. 

For every correction we make, we work to ensure our writers understand “the why” behind it. Building that understanding is really what helps us to nurture the growth of our technical writers. 

We follow this copy-editing process with publication, where we focus on the recognition of our writers – including monetary compensation.

Recognizing Our Writers

When we publish posts, we like to recognize our writers both publicly and within our writing community. Our writers are always the first to be notified of the publication of their post. We then share the post with our Sweetcode community to help create a space where writers with similar interests and fields can help support other writers. Lastly, we promote the post on our social media channels, where we tag our writers. 

For new or more seasoned writers, we also like to create posts featuring individual writers and their talents. In all of this, our primary goal is to demonstrate to our writers that we value them.

Becoming a Fixate Freelancer

Writers can complete the process above as many times as they please; we are always happy to work with them. When we begin to see a positive trend with a writer, in terms of the frequency and quality of their contributions, we then invite them to join Fixate’s network of practitioner content creators. With Fixate, they will work with high-profile clients in the DevOps industry. However, they will always continue to have the option of writing with Sweetcode.

This post about building a successful DevOps career was written for Sweetcode by a DevOps practitioner who is now a freelance writer for Fixate.

Conclusion

From the moment we meet a new writer through Sweetcode, we focus on fostering and developing their skills, with the ultimate goal of potentially bringing them onto the Fixate team, as well. Throughout this process, and even after, our priority consistently remains our writing teams, so that we may all grow together.


Maia Thompson currently acts as a copy editor of DevOps technical posts for the Sweetcode community. She also works closely with Sweetcode as a DevOps community organizer. Part of this community organization includes managing the social media accounts for both Fixate and Sweetcode to increase engagement. Maia is passionate about building communities, as well as bringing them closer together, and strives to do so in all aspects of her work. Additionally, she has an interest in graphic design, and will often incorporate this by creating graphics for technical posts or by using these graphics to promote technical content on social media.


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