Technical Writing Tips and Tricks

A Quick Guide to Starting a Career as a Technical Writer

A technical writer translates technical information into meaningful insights. Technical writers describe the technical information which is necessary from a business point of view. In the freelance content writing world, business requires solutions for the problems they face. They need features of the product or service so that they can counter the problem. Quite oppositely, consumers want benefits. So this quick guide to starting a career as a technical writer provides both to the potential viewers. Technical writing provides a useful technical guide in a way that the general public can understand. Technical writers create a bridge between the engineers, technicians, scientists and a layman.
Technical writing provides employment opportunities in the service sector and business opportunities for engineers as well. Especially in the post-COVID world, it is the center of attention. It provides ample research opportunities, deep inside into different fields of study, technical knowledge of the subject, and opportunities to launch own research articles. It can lead to patent registration and launching own products. Undoubtedly, it is quite the opposite path to the traditional schooling system. But it is quite impressive and thrilling. If you wish to learn about technical writing, then stick with us.

Technical Writing

Technical writing is a form of content writing that provides technical information or content on a specific topic. Technical writing can be related to engineering, science, finance, psychology, political sciences, or social sciences. It explains the subject with its technicality. Deep research is required for technical writing. Writing skills might be faded away when it comes to technical writing if your research skills do not meet the demands of the topic. Technical writing calls for extensive knowledge of the underlying subject.
Technical content writers bring technical details to the table. All the struggle is done to attract an audience to a service or product. From a press release, product descriptions to manuals of automobile vehicles, technical writing is far and wide.

Technical content writer

Anil Bhat once asserted about technical writing:

Simplifying the complexity of technology with the help of words.

Characteristics of Technical Writing

Technical writing provides information to people about a specific, technical topic. It creates an audience for a service/product and increases its popularity among the masses. Technical writings are to make complex scientific or other information easier for nonprofessionals. 

  • Technical writing explains how a particular product works.
  • It accommodates a detailed user guide about medicine or electronic machine.
  • It must be clear, concise, and easy to comprehend for a non-specialist.
  • Technical writing is straightforward, detailed, structured, skimmable, and focused on problem-solving.

How Technical Writing is Different from other Freelance Writing Styles:

Technical writing is done to provide information to people most shortly and simply possible. It involves a documentation plan while in content writing, work is done around content. It means that technical content writing provides content information and guides and methods of using certain services, which is not a criterion of other fields of content writing. 

  • It requires a focus on factual information.
  • Clarity rather than creativity is the key feature of technical content writing.
  • Technical writers comprehend complex data into user-friendly information.

Types of Technical Content Writing:

There are 6 types of technical content writing:

  • Traditional Technical Writing:

This type of technical content writing includes based on providing information to a professional audience. The target is to provide the professional with the required research papers, programming plans, and repair guides.

    • an industry article for a trade publication
    • Technical specification and descriptions
    • Standard operating procedures for taking leave
  • Online Articles

In the freelance market, online technical article writer provides their services for a specific project. Research skills play a crucial role in this type of article writing. Technical writing in this context could vary according to the project’s requirements. Some examples of online technical writing or research article writing are as follows:

  • HVAC system installation description
  • HVAC products description and branding
  • Automotive related articles
  • Finance blogs

 

  • Technical Marketing/Promotional Writing

Sometimes, engineers, scientists, or inventors have to contribute their skills for marketing strategy development. Then, the technical staff shares technical details of the products or other entities with the marketing team. After that, with the help of content writers, the marketing team publishes flyers containing technical details in a more convenient and adaptable language.

  • Release of new technology for a product
  • Manual for the newly launched novel designed product
  • Press release falls in this category as well

 

  • End-User Documentation

End-User documentation provides instructions for the end-users. It contains technical details about the handling of the product. But it is written in a layman language. So people with little expertise can handle the product with the help of this manual.

  • Product technical guides
  • The user manual that accompanies a cell phone
  • Guide fo using electronic machines
  • setup and installation guides of software
  • assembly instructions for putting a given product together

 

  • Science and Medical Paper:

Results of researches and experiments are hard to explain, so many researchers hire technical writers to organize their findings in an approachable and understandable fashion. These results are published in journals and science books. These lay a role as a guide to the practitioners for understanding and studying the researches.

  • Descriptions and precautions details with tablets
  • Standard operating procedures before using medicines
  • Preservation guidelines for medical equipment

 

  • Professional Reports and Reviews:

Technical content writers also create reports and reviews to enhance business growth. They are ired by business and educational institutions to enhance their business by attracting an audience towards them.

    • Technical report writing
    • Technical details for presentation
    • Review of products or machines

 

The Features of Technical Writing:

ACCURATE: 

Technical writing must be accurate. It should not have anything added from yourself; if it is inaccurate, it belongs in the trash can. 

AUDIENCE-CENTERED: 

Tech writing must be audience-centered. Therefore, the target audience must be kept in mind when writing the content. If the vocabulary and the style do not fit with the audience, you can expect some harsh criticism coming your way.

SUMMARIZING: 

Freelance writers must summarize technical writing into as less amount of words as possible. It means that no extra words, phrases, expressions, or lengthy paragraphs be used. The content should be precise and short, but the point of the content should get across. 

INCLUSIVE: 

Writers must explain each and everything. Leaving any of the features out is handing out invitations of calls to the customer helpline. Technical writers must describe every single feature.

ORDERED: 

Technical writing is always in an organized, orderly manner. There should be a proper starting and ending ground. Writers should not mix things. 

Do’s and Don’ts of Technical Writing:

Advice from a fellow technical writer to the other, keep the following in mind when doing any technical writing project. These are some basic rules you must keep in mind when doing technical writing. These saved me from many unprofessional mistakes and will be of great use to you too:

                           Don’t                                    Do
Have a disorganized structure Organize your thoughts first to avoid any disorder
Be inconsistent with your ideas and content. Create a proper layout that flows in one manner and is consistent throughout the content
Use heavy grammar that is confusing and hard to follow Use easy-to-follow and light grammar which is also attractive and engaging
Write without knowing your audience Research your audience to know how to engage them
Be overconfident Always proofread your work to make sure everything is correct
Be ambiguous Be clear, concise, and expressive
Use someone else’s style Write the content in your own style

Importance of Technical Writing:

Technical writing generates an audience for a product/service/business. It attracts people by letting them know how something is done and how that thing benefits them. Everyone likes easily manageable things, and technical writing does exactly that for whatever you are offering to the masses, thus creating a sense of security and reliability in people’s hearts. Technical writing boosts up your reputation and earns a profit.

Earning Prospect of Technical Writing:

In today’s era of inventions and technology, the demand for technical writers keeps on increasing. Furthermore, since technology is something everyone relies on, and it has become a necessity rather than a luxury, technical writers also see a surge in their demands by businesses and companies for generating a loyal fanbase of their services. As a result, technical writers can make up to 10880 USD per year.

What do You Need to Become a Technical Writer:

  • Writing skills: You must have refined writing skills to write top-notch content that will be engaging and interesting.
  • Curiosity: You must develop curiosity about the product you are working on. You must look for every single detail to provide engaging content.
  • Research skills: You must refine your research skills to know how o find everything about a product. You must know where to look at, what keywords to use and how to get information.
  • Creative skills: You must have great creative skills to create something that is out of the box. People aren’t attracted to things they are used to. You must be able to create engaging content that will attract people’s attention.
  • Social knowledge: you must have good knowledge about the social areas you are targeting. You must know what will pique the interest of the audience being aimed by the writing.
  • Selling skills: Technical content writing is all about being able to sell services or products. You must know how to attract people towards a product, so much so that they want to buy it.

Where can You Work as a Technical Writer?

If you want to work a full-time job as a technical writer, then these are some jobs you can take up:

    • Content developers
    • Content writers
    • Documentation specialists
    • Information designers
    • Information developers
    • Manual writers
    • Technical communications specialists
    • Policy writers
    • Technical communicators
    • Technical illustrators
    • Web writers
    • Technical trainers

If not, and you want to keep it as a hobby to earn some extra cash, head on to online sites like Upwork, iWriterFlexJobsGuru, and Freelancer.com. You can easily find work based on your skillset.

I hope this short guide helped you in understanding how to cover your journey as a technical writer. You might face some hurdles in the way we all do but remember to keep working hard and be successful in your attempt one day.

  • If you want to see academic writing, then head over to a quick guide to becoming an academic writer
  • For copywriting, go to a quick guide to become a copywriter
  • If you wish to see transcription writing, go to a quick guide to start your career as a transcription writer.

If you want services in other fields of content writing, or want to see works of trained professionals, check out the research branch.

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