Design007 Magazine

PCBD-Oct2014

Issue link: http://iconnect007.uberflip.com/i/396835

Contents of this Issue

Navigation

Page 9 of 64

10 The PCB Design Magazine • October 2014 have a Plan Before You Begin If you're brave enough to submit an article, congratulations. We salute you! We won't get very far without good, solid content. Before you begin, read some similar articles in the magazine you're submitting to, and develop a good understanding about the mag's audience. I've gotten articles from PR manag- ers who have obviously never read my magazine. Our audi- ence doesn't design ICs, but I still get articles about how to use the latest synthesis com- piler to great advantage. Sketch out a basic outline before you start writing your article. Take a few minutes to decide what you're trying to say. Why are you saying it? Is it important to a PCB design- er, in our case? What will the reader learn? Avoid Marketing Copy It may sound counterin- tuitive, but it's true: You're more likely to generate leads for your company if you keep marketing copy out of your article. If you find yourself mentioning your company's "industry-leading software that easily and sim- ply allows designers to simulate the most com- plex high-speed designs," you've become a mar- keting guy (or girl). This is for your benefit, and mine. Market- ing buried in an article makes readers angry, especially designers, because they're being mar- keted to constantly anyway. They expect our technical articles to be free of marketing spiels. They'll send me hate mail and they'll be mad at you and your company, and they won't forward your article to their friends. I'm going to edit out all the marketing copy, though we do allow one mention of a company or tool as an example in the article. But you're much better off focusing on telling a story about laying out the board, performing EMC measurement, or describing the return of outsourced designs from Asia, and keeping the marketing out. When in doubt, remember: Cover the pro- cess, not the tools or services. We Love Case Studies, But… Case studies offer some of the best content around. A good case study explains how a com- pany or department solved a major technical problem that was costing them time and money. But I doubt we've run more than a handful in the past five years. Why? Too often, the case study is just a big ad for a software tool or board shop. An EDA company or board shops asks a customer to write a case study, and it arrives in my in - box. The article reads great, for a while. Then, towards the end, when the future of the republic hangs in the balance, the customer buys the newest rev of an EDA tool, or sends his design to Fabricator XYZ, and their problems disappear into the vapor. All that's miss - ing is a farmer shouting, "Hal- lelujah! Call the bank, Ma! We don't have to sell the farm after all!" No, a case study is about much more than making the right tool purchase or picking the right board shop, though that may be one small part of the story. In a case study, readers want the dirty details. They want to hear about the process itself and all the attendant problems. What were some of the problems you had before making this transition? What were some of the challenges to implementing this new process? What mistakes did you make? (That's a big plus.) Did you form different teams and divide the work? How did you assign members to the teams? How often did you meet to com- pare notes? I'd love to run more case studies, so keep them in mind. Precise, But Concise As the Bard said, "Brevity is the soul of wit." This means saying all that you need to say, and in as few words possible. the shaughnessy report SO YOU WANT TO WRITE AN ARTICLE! continues Marketing buried in an article makes readers angry, especially designers, because they're being marketed to constantly anyway. They expect our technical articles to be free of marketing spiels. They'll send me hate mail and they'll be mad at you and your company, and they won't forward your article to their friends. " "

Articles in this issue

Archives of this issue

view archives of Design007 Magazine - PCBD-Oct2014