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Understanding Technical Writing

A technical writer specializes in essential content including user guides, product manuals, processes, etc.  Let Textbroker help you create your technical content!

Understanding Technical Content Writing

One of the best skills you can have as a writer is the ability to draft important technical information.  While often difficult to write, this content is essential for various products and services, ensuring safety, highlighting best practices, and providing accessible guidance for proper use. Let’s do a quick review of technical content writing, and how it’s incorporated into what we read today.

What is a Technical Writer? 

An expert technical writer is a professional information communicator whose task is to transfer complex information between two or more parties.  Common pieces of technical content include: 

  • Instruction manuals 
  • Medical guides
  • Product samples 
  • Standard Operating Procedures (SOP)  
  • and more.  

The goal is to break down complicated technical products into easy-to-understand guides or steps that help the user understand how to utilize the products or services.  Technical writers are subject matter experts who are adept at using various resources to translate complex topics into simple terms for everyday consumers.  Often, this information is critical for the success of a company, showcasing its commitment to provide customers with a seamless user experience.

A technical writer takes pride in having excellent language and writing skills.  They strive to create professional and error-free content, as this creates high credibility with the audience.

 

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Responsibilities of a Technical Writer 

Due to their scope of content, technical writers have many different responsibilities.  This is usually based on the current employer, and the niche of the industry in which they are creating content. Responsibilities include:

  • Audience analysis and identification of special needs or considerations
  • Outlining the scope of the project 
  • Research, document design and samples (if applicable)
  • Technical content creation
  • Reviewing and editing written technical content
  • Final testing and document creation

Testing is an important final phase for all technical writers, as it ensures factual information and accuracy of applicable steps or claims.

Subject Research 

Topic research is essential when you begin your process of creating new content.  This is even more important for technical writers as it is likely their content will be instruction-based.  

A technical writer goes above basic research when looking for facts on the topic at hand. 

They put together as much information as possible, and then work through it to single out small details they need.  

While conducting subject matter research, technical writers may:

  • Gather topic-related information from numerous sources.  This may include Linkedin, social media, whitepapers, etc.
  • Research previous written information on the topic.
  • Interview experts within the field for current trends.

Document Design 

When given an assignment, a writer must analyze the audience in order to know what is required.  The feel of a document is based on the audience and the document type.  Expert audience analysis will always shape design and content, whether it will be formal or informal.

The following are a few questions technical writers may ask themselves to help with document design:

  • Who is my target audience?
  • What is the basic knowledge of my audience?
  • What is the purpose of the document?

When it comes to design, an expert writer will look at how to use images, lists, and charts to help with reader usability.  It is essential to put emphasis on important sections, such as a “warning” section, with colors, and type sizes.  

It is also necessary to keep everything concise, by keeping out “visual bulk.”  When completed, a document is usually submitted for editing and then published in the appropriate setting.

Be Systematic 

Poorly structured technical content writing ruins the user experience as it fails to fulfill its function.  That function is to provide consumers with attainable data.

Exceptional writers understand documentation structure must be planned out in advance.

Be an Expert at Single-Sourcing 

Single sourcing allows the creation of multiple documents using the same source.  

For example, when there is a task to create both pro and beginner versions of a user guide.  By using single-sourcing, you can produce just one guide, and then mark the parts for the beginner document only.  This leads to two different documents.

Interact With Subject Matter Experts 

Often overlooked, however very important, technical writers must be able to interview experts in the field who possess important knowledge about their technical documentation.  

Use Critical Thinking

Critical thinking can be explained as the ability to make reasoned and clear judgments.  This also includes gathering information and systematizing it.  

What makes a writer good at critical thinking?  Experts say personal experience.  When a writer is precise and comprehensive in his/her process of researching and gathering information, he or she will rely on past experiences to understand the topic. 

 

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Why Do You Need Technical Content Writing? 

Technical writers can improve access and comprehension of complicated information, thereby reducing support calls that may arise when your customers and clients can not find or understand the information they need.  

Lastly, a technical writer will also help by translating in-depth information into meaningful insights for your readers or clients.  With the ever-evolving need for new processes, there will always be a demand to help consumers learn complex information quickly.

It’s not always easy to find a technical content writing professional. That’s where Textbroker can help!  With thousands of advanced writers, we can match you with a technical writer who can help you produce content for your products, services, or internal procedures. We’re here to help you succeed!

 


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