STC’s competition is particularly suited to the work of our editors and graphic designers because very few competitions encompass both editorial and visual quality. It’s also a nice way to recognize our staff and their hard work. Frequent Submitter

Publishing Manager, Research Organization in Raleigh-Durham

Submitters' Corner

Start Here


 

Who can submit? What can be judged? See About the Competition and the Competition Rules.

What are the category descriptions? See Competition Categories.

How do I enter the competition? See Entry Submission Instructions.

What are the competition fees? See Schedule and Fees.

What are the awards? See Awards.

What companies and entries have won in the past? See Competition Winners.

Is there a list of all STC chapters holding a competition this year? See other regional competitions.

Where do I go if my question isn’t answered here? See the FAQs.

Instructions & Information

About the Competition

Any person or organization can enter the competition if the submissions are received and paid for by the deadline. You can enter your own work or submit an entry on behalf of a colleague. Submitters and contributors are not required to be STC or Carolina chapter members to participate.

Any printed, online, or electronic work product that contains sufficient technical, scientific, medical, or similar content to qualify as technical communication can be submitted for judging. Competition entries must fall into one of four categories (see ‘Competition Categories’ on page 3) and be received by the deadline. Those who don’t have work to submit may get feedback on their editing skills by entering the ‘Before and After’ competition (also described on page 3).

Documents submitted to the competition must be appropriate for public distribution and not contain proprietary or classified material.

All entries must have been produced or substantially revised within the 24 months prior to the submission deadline and cannot have been submitted previously to any STC competition.

For more information, read the competition rules.

Why Submit?

Receive recognition for outstanding work effort
Many entries receive one of the three awards (see page 4), and all awardees are listed on STC Carolina’s website.

Receive detailed feedback from multiple peer reviewers
Volunteer judges review your entries against a multi-page set of criteria ranging from usability, font and color choices, print production, and many other categories. They provide written feedback – both complimentary and critical – to help you improve.

Justify a budget or process improvement
Judges identify areas where an increased budget or different publishing process could improve the user experience.

Entry Submission Instructions

  1. Read over the competition rules.
  2. Decide into which of the following categories you want to submit your entry. See below for complete descriptions of the categories.
    • Informational
    • Instructional
    • Promotional
    • User Support
    • Before and After (NEW for 2018!)
  3. Complete the Contact Form first. This identifies the submitter and all contributors to the entry. After completing this form, you will automatically be directed to the Competition Entry Form. This form contains basic information about you and describes your entry. Judges will use this form during judging.
  4. Once both forms are complete, you will be directed to the payment form to pay for your entry. Use this link to go directly to the payment form to pay for all entries at once.
  5. For printed entries, please email competitions@stc-carolina.org to coordinate delivery.

Schedule and Fees

Fees

$100 — STC Members

$140 — Non-members

$50 — Full-time students

Schedule

Saturday, September 29:
Early bird discount deadline

Saturday, October 27:
Deadline for submitting entries

Saturday, November 3:
Judge Training Day

Thursday, December 13:
Best of Show Judging

January 2019:
Submitters notified of awards

March 2019:
Awards Banquet

Non-member submitters:

If you join in late September or October, your membership includes the remainder of 2018 as well as the entire calendar year of 2019. In addition to the other benefits of membership, you can save on the cost of submitting an entry, in both 2018 and 2019.

Competition Categories

Informational Materials Category

Informational materials are designed to attract potential buyers while providing information about a technical or scientific subject, product, service, or organization. The materials are intended to inform the user of information without a specific call to action. The materials must persuade the audience favorably toward the subject or sponsor. Visual design, including production, is important. So, too, is editing, because errors are obvious.

Informational materials include:

  • Annual Reports
  • Articles
  • Books
  • Error Messages
  • Magazines
  • Newsletters
  • Periodicals
  • Policy and Procedure Manuals
  • Research Papers
  • Scholarly or Trade News Articles
  • Style Guides
  • Technical Reports
  • Websites (informational)

The Instructional Materials Category includes all entries that train a user or learner on a particular set of skills and knowledge. The materials must persuade the audience favorably toward the subject or sponsor. Visual design, including production, is important. So, too, is editing, because errors are obvious.

Instructional materials include:

  • Computer-Based Training (CBT)
  • E-learning
  • Facilitator or Instructor Guides
  • Instructional Animations or Videos
  • Mobile Learning
  • Student Guides
  • Tutorials
  • Web-Based Training (WBT)
  • Webinars (instructional)

The Promotional Category includes all entries that are intended to market or promote a product, service, company, individual, or event while persuading the audience to some action.

Promotional materials include:

  • Advertisements (technical)
  • Brochures
  • Catalogs
  • Flyers
  • Posters
  • Websites (promotional)

The User Support Category includes all entries that provide information needed to help the user perform specific tasks and are intended for independent use by the audience, not in formal training.

User Support Materials include:

  • Installation Manuals
  • Help (online or embedded)
  • Job Aids
  • Quick Start Guides
  • Reference Documents
  • Technical Reference Guides
  • User Manuals
  • Wizards

STC Carolina is hosting its first annual Before and After Competition. Technical communication students, recent graduates, and professionals of North and South Carolina are invited to submit an entry into the competition. For submission rules for this category, please review the competition rules.

This competition is designed for individuals who do not have an entry of their own to submit but still want to get feedback and possibly an award. Submitters will choose an existing document from the list below to redo based on the intended audience and purpose. Redesigned and re-written entries will judged similarly to the other competition categories, but will be judged against each other. This is a true competition where there will be one winner in each category.

Option 1: Software Documentation

GNS3 Documentation

Option 2: Technical Report

DHHS Report

Option 3: UX/Website

Bulk Rename Utility

Note: At least one page must be redesigned

Awards

Documents submitted to the competition are not judged against each other. They are judged against the standards outlined below.

Distinguished Technical Communication (DTC)

Clearly superior in all areas. The entry contains no major flaws and few, if any, minor flaws. It applies the principles of technical communication in an outstanding way, particularly in the way that it anticipates and fulfills the needs of its audience. Distinguished entries in all categories are considered for Best of Show.

Excellence

Consistently meets high standards in all areas. The entry might contain a single major flaw or a few minor flaws. The entry clearly (if slightly imperfectly) demonstrates an exceptional understanding of technical communication principles.

Merit

Consistently meets high standards in most areas. The entry might contain a small number of major or minor flaws, but it still applies technical communication principles in a highly proficient manner.

Before and After

First place and runner up prizes will be awarded in each of the three categories for a total of 6 winners.

FAQs

If I'm a submitter, am I automatically a contributor?

No, not automatically. Each member, nonmember, or student entry may list up to three contributors. It is acceptable to cite a collaborative team, department, or organization as the contributor, but STC prefers that individuals be named so that credit is given to the responsible individuals. The entry fee is per entry, not per contributor. If a product is entered into more than one competition, the fee must be paid for each entry. The submitter must be an individual, i.e., someone who takes individual responsibility for the entry. Only the submitter receives official correspondence about the entry. The submitter is therefore responsible for communicating with contributors about the entry and for distribution of any awards. Award certificates are given to the contributors. No award certificate is given to the submitter, unless the submitter is also a contributor and listed also as a contributor.

How do I increase the likelihood of winning?

You increase the chance of winning an award if the judges evaluating your entry have all the information they need to accurately evaluate it. This means that the more complete your Entry Form is, the better. We strongly encourage you to provide as much information as you can on the Competition Entry Description form. In addition, include explanatory text, additional audience descriptions, unusual circumstances or budget restrictions that may have limited your project, and so forth to help judges evaluate your entry in context.

If you created your entry in an Agile environment, be sure to mention that in the Entry Form. What does Agile mean in your environment? Do you finish a module and never go back to it? Did you have time to edit? Briefly describe how you determined a “Good Enough” level for the entry.