You own an amazing tech company, but sales are dipping low. You realize that when prospects get your proposals or whitepaper, they tend to ghost you the next day. So why is that?
If people don’t understand what your trying to sell, they will run away at the speed of light. Luckily, getting the right tech writer can be a game-changer. Continue reading to find out what technical writer skills to look for when hiring a tech writer.
What Is a Technical Writer?
A technical writer converts complex content into clear and simple documentation for the target audience. They collect and produce technical knowledge in the form of:
- Maintenance and operating instructions
- Technical and instructional manuals
- Journal articles
- Other material
Technical writers work in various fields, like technology, engineering, medicine, and science.
What Is the Role of a Technical Writer?
A technical writer takes pleasure in their superior language, writing, and communication abilities. They work diligently to produce professional, error-free documentation to build trust with the audience. Additionally, technical writers possess superior research and investigation abilities.
When a technical writer is assigned a project, they must first evaluate the target audience to determine what they need. The tone or feel of the document is determined by the intended audience and the nature of the content. Accurate audience analysis will influence the documents:
These writers can work remotely to get the task done. Remote technical writers often work in the comfort of their own homes to create quality documents for your audience.
What Questions Will Your Technical Content Writer Ask?
Your contract technical writer may ask a series of questions to help them complete the project. They may ask:
- Who will be the intended audience?
- What is the audience’s degree of knowledge?
- What role does the audience play?
- What is the audience’s function?
- What is the document’s purpose?
- What will you convince the audience to do?
Document design is another aspect of technical writing. The technical writer will examine ways to improve usability via:
They will emphasize key parts, such as ‘helpful suggestions’ or ‘warnings,’ by using various:
The technical writer is aware that excessively complicated graphs, headings, and data can impede the reader’s understanding. Thus, the technical writer’s primary design approach is to make everything clear and concise while avoiding ‘visual noise’ and ‘visual mass.
How to Write a Job Description for a Technical Writer?
There are plenty of remote technical writer jobs available. You want to make sure your job description stands out. Take some time to create a job description before you begin contacting the writers.
The description should include the following:
- General responsibilities
- Objectives and responsibilities for specific projects
- Geographical location (on-site or off-site)
- Dates of anticipated commencement and conclusion
- Who will supervise the author?
- Individuals who will collaborate with thewriter
- Required resources
- Required software tools for the job
- Ideal educational background and abilities
- Budgetary constraints and/or rate range
If you want to hire a technical writer, you can’t go wrong with a killer job description.
Resources for Recruiting Technical Writers on a Contract Basis
There are many channels and tools to help you find contract writers. Several of the most frequently used resources are as follows:
The Society for Technical Communication
Each major city has its own chapter, which is comprised of local writers. Employers may hire writers at a low cost by submitting a job description to the local chapter. While posting a position should generate many resumes, it may take longer than you anticipate to locate a writer.
As with any job opportunity, the most qualified applicants are discovered via word of mouth or referrals. Send an email to contacts to spread the news about the job. Your pals may know someone who meets your project’s requirements and is available to work on it.
Newspaper or Online Advertisements
While this is a popular method of recruiting permanent workers, it is often labor-intensive. It requires a longer timeframe for posting and receiving applications. As with any advertisement, you will need to filter through several resumes to identify prospective applicants.
National and Regional Resume Databases
While most applicants on these platforms are seeking permanent positions, some are available and interested in contract work. Bear in mind that not all businesses have access to these databases, which may be very costly.
Other Online Databases and Contracting Sites
You may use sites, like Upwork to advertise work or projects. While these services usually have a large number of freelance writers, they typically have restricted search options. This may be particularly challenging when you’re looking for certain talents and expertise.
Additionally, many applicants identify themselves as “technical writers” yet possess little or no relevant expertise. Typically, when you utilize one of these services, you must hire the writer directly from them.
Staffing Firms Provided by Third Parties
Numerous employment organizations located across the nation advertise contract technical writers. The majority are:
- Information technology staffing companies
- Other types of technical staffing organizations
They sometimes hire technical writers but have limited knowledge of this field. However, other companies (for example, Writing Assistance, Inc.) focus only on technical writers and keep a huge database of writers with the necessary competence.
5 Important Technical Writer Skills You Should Be Looking For
These critical skills will keep you on track and assist you in locating a technical writing virtuoso:
1) Look For a Technical Writer Who Is Professional and Ethical
The CV, writing samples/portfolio, and website should be structured and presented with care and professionalism. Consult the writer’s previous employers and references for answers to any concerns. You may want to inquire about their professionalism and honesty, as well as their capacity to work long hours unattended and fulfill deadlines.
2) A Technical Writer Must Possess Unmatched Grammatical Abilities and the Ability to Write Effectively
While these principles may seem self-evident, they cannot be ignored. A technical writer must show the ability to put together words that express precisely and succinctly what needs to be stated.
3) Verify That the Technical Writer Shows a Capacity to Listen and Understand What You’re Trying to Communicate.
The writer you’re contemplating most likely writes well. But can they create a word picture of your product? Can they simplify content that is easily understood by your target audience?
If the answer is yes and they can prove it, then you got yourself an excellent technical writer.
4)Is the Applicant Attentive, Showing a Willingness to Collaborate With You to Develop a Unique and Creative Concept?
Examine the writer’s portfolio and writing samples. You want to determine if they can create easy-to-understand content from a befuddling collection of data.
Can they “remake” a convoluted set of instructions into something understandable to everyone? If yes, make sure they can create the content in an interesting and appealing manner.
5)Does the Technical Writer Have an Aptitude for or a Drive for Adaptation?
After reviewing their portfolio, determine if the technical writer’s style fits your company’s goal. If not, do you believe they have the potential to do so?
A skilled technical writer is similar to a chameleon. They adapt, alters, and acclimates to the client’s requirements.
Significant Changes in the Job Profile of Technical Writers Over the Last Decade
These changes have elevated the technical writing career from an entry-level position to a product-development-focused one. This implies that the position has evolved into a much broader function. This will require a variety of talents in addition to writing.
Here are the developments in technical writing during the last decade:
Move Away From Product-Centric Teams Toward User-Centric Ones
Previously, product makers prioritized balancing product feature lists against cost and time-to-market constraints. However, this method results in a high incidence of product failure. As a result, the user-centered design and development paradigm developed.
Now, the product user and his needs serve as the focal point for all product development.
The Scope of Product Documentation Has Been Expanded to Include All Stages of the Product’s Lifetime
Technical documentation often includes installation instructions and user guides. As of now, a technical writer may contribute to a technical white paper in the pre-research phase. They may also create API documentation for software products.
The Documentation of Products Has Shifted Away From Text-Based Information and Toward More Audio-Visual Content
The attention span of consumers in the digital environment has dwindled significantly. If you cannot communicate the critical message within a few seconds, your audience is gone. That is why visual material has gained widespread acceptance as the preferred form of documentation content.
Due to the availability of high-speed internet, users may stream video faster than ever. Most people rather watch a brief one-minute video on “Unboxing a cell phone” than reading a long step-by-step installation manual.
Where Can You Get More Info on Hiring a Technical Writer?
Hiring the wrong talent can make you lose out on a lot of money. Fortunately, with these technical writer skills listed above, you will make a sound decision. You will never have to lose profit from difficult-to-understand tech jargon again.
If you are interested in learning more about hiring a tech writer, check out our blog today.