My Persona with an Alaskan Flair

The Denali Park Road with Mount Denali in the background.
Denali Park road with Mount Denali in the background. Photo by Patrick Federi / Unsplash

Hello, fellow Technical Writers,

My name is Nate Cole, and I’m a technical writer/editor for an airline in Alaska. The company I work for, Everts Air, operates around Alaska, parts of the United States, and the Caribbean. When I started in this program, I had one goal: find new tools to manage my company’s static fleet documents. While I think this goal is achievable, it is no longer my primary goal.

What has happened since beginning this program has been a change in what I want from my writing and the direction I take it. I have found areas where my personal passions have become interwoven within my professional desires. Which is why I’m now re-introducing myself as Nate Cole, a Technical Writer with an adventurous flair.

Website and Its Goal

To start this new journey, I have chosen to start my professional writing career through TechWritingAlaskaStyle (the website is still in progress). The aim of this project is to focus my technical writing on the adventure side of bicycles and, specifically, the bike-packing community.

Strategies

As with any new writing adventure, a level of care needs to be taken to ensure the intended goal can be met. This requires diligent research into other authorities such as bikepacking.com and Exploring Wild to see what they do correctly and what areas need improvement. More specifically, what areas can I build upon to improve the overall bike-packing community. By doing so, credibility is achieved through the creation of an authoritative voice.

Focusing on the following aspects to create this voice include:

  • Accurate knowledge of the bike-packing industry, especially as it relates to:
    • Food and nutrition
    • Gear, both for the bike and the rider
    • Trail and routes
  • Present reliable and easily understood information.
    • Bike terminology
  • Ensure the tone of each piece is consistent with other reliable authorities.

Bike-packing Knowledge

It is important to not only write about a particular topic, but it is also important to know that topic. Many times, I have read an article only to find mistakes which ultimately gives the impression they aren’t that knowledgeable. This usually causes me to dismiss the article entirely.

As a trusted technical writer, I understand this aspect. I want readers to see I tested out specific types of gear or ate specific meals rather than relaying information from a company’s website. To accomplish this, I will use images or videos within documents. This not only creates reader trust but gives readers alternatives to the presented information.

All of this helps to create credibility with me as a reliable resource.

Reliable and Easily Understood Information

While having specific knowledge of the industry is important, so is the readability of that information. This comes by way of using a writing style that invites readership to gain trust. One way to achieve readability is to focus on using the correct terminology.

An example of using the wrong term is using “double squishy” to describe a bike with dual suspension. Most readers, regardless of bike knowledge, wouldn’t necessarily recognize it to mean that, but instead could take it to mean squishier tires. This requires the use of industry standard language.

At the same time, it also does not mean that everything needs to be technical terms. I think the use of a slang term sporadically within a document has the same desired effect. It allows the article to be understood by more well-versed readers while teaching new readers some of the lingo in the community.

Consistent Tone

Consistency is paramount to ensuring credibility. By matching tones with other credible sources, it gives the allure that I am also a reliable source.

Although, this does not mean that I must completely match their tones, it just means I need to be on the same level. Part of the “improve the overall bike-packing community,” involves some level of innovation. This can be accomplished by using well researched sources on each topic being written about as well as having well-organized content.

For example, if I wanted to write an article about the top five tents for bike-packing, I would find several articles on each tent discussed to help back the “pros and cons” portion on each tent. This could include videos and/or reviews from other more established riders that have different viewpoints.

This not only gives readers other opinions to consider, but it also shows readers that I am not attempting to misinform or make their decision.

Personal Goal of this Project

Bike-packing by nature is an inclusive activity. To continue this inclusivity and benefit the community overall, a strong voice needs to be present to advocate that all it takes is a bike and a desire to ride somewhere.

Nate Cole

Nate Cole

I work for an airline as the Publications and Records Manager. When I'm not working, I can be found either hanging out with my family or on a bike tooling around...preferably both!
Fairbanks, Alaska