By combining writing skills and training in graphics and layout, a technical writer is able to create the documentation that a company needs and an end user wants. Companies and organizations should consider using technical writers for many reasons, including:
1. To produce well written and skillfully designed user manuals and other documentation that limit the number of IT and customer service calls, ultimately reducing additional costs.
2. To create documentation for online and print presentations simultaneously, reducing documentation costs overall.
3. To reduce costs by creating documents that is effective for product and services expansion. A writer is trained to write, and would take much less time than the developer, scientist, or engineer would take to produce write documentation for a product or service.
4. To communicate more effectively, accurately, and concisely with customers, partners, and employees, creating a professional image for the company or organization.
5. To take advantage of expertise and more familiarity with desktop publishing tools, use of graphics, online help authoring tools, and other writing techniques and methods to produce documents from the end user’s perspective.
Technical Writing Overview
The role of a technical writer is to produce the supporting documentation that assists companies in disseminating information to customers, employees, business partners, and other interested parties in a way that is easily understood and well written. This documentation often includes manuals, instructions, and marketing copy.
Technical writers have a diverse skill set that makes them invaluable for producing documents that are user friendly, and this in itself is a key factor in the necessity of utilizing technical writers. Technical writers are able to transform technical, difficult-to-understand language and concepts into easy-to-read instructions and descriptions that are designed in a well-constructed format. Increasingly, technical writers are skilled and knowledgeable with a variety of software programs and are able to design documents that are accessible and have an effective interface from the user’s perspective. Across any industry, technical writers give companies and organizations an advantage.
Technical Writers in Industry
In addition to education and training in writing methods and design techniques, technical writers also often specialize in a particular field. This can be especially helpful to meet the needs of clients across every industry. Some of the industries that technical writers commonly produce documentation for include health care, computer software and hardware, manufacturing and machinery, electronics, automobiles, and scientific research and development. Other areas also benefit from technical writing services, including finance and banking, politics, social sciences, legal professions, law enforcement, marketing and business, and retail products.
Technical writers are able to produce everything from tutorials and online help to instruction manuals to legal and copyright paperwork to charts, graphs, and tables across each of these industries and more. Technical writers permeate almost every industry, and demand is rising.
On Staff or Freelance Technical Writers
Some companies have technical writers on staff to handle all of the writing, design, and end user analysis functions for every document. For larger corporations and organizations that produce many pieces of documentation a day or that make changes often to existing documentation, a technical writing department can help to reduce costs of project development.
Other companies find that there may not be enough technical writing to have a full staff or even one employee dedicated solely to those responsibilities. When a professional, well-designed piece of documentation is needed in this case, hiring a freelance or contract technical writer can help to save a company money by creating a positive image through professionally written material in an interface that is user-friendly.