A Beginner’s Guide to Technical Writing

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About 72% of marketers use content marketing to educate their audiences. Costing 62% less than outbound marketing, content marketing generates three times as many leads. Over 80% of marketers say content is now a core business strategy.

With 83% of marketers prioritizing quality over quantity, perfecting your technical writing skills is essential. Technical writing can demonstrate your expertise to help brand trust grow.

How can you start using technical writing as part of your content marketing strategy? Read on to find out!

What Is Technical Writing?

Technical writing involves explaining and documenting complex concepts so they’re easy to understand. Most people associate technical writing with the technology and computing industries. However, businesses of all industries can use technical writing to communicate internally or with clients and customers.

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Different technical writing documents can include:

  • Instructional manuals
  • User guides
  • Policy manuals
  • Process manuals
  • White papers
  • Technical reports
  • Case studies
  • Memos/internal communications
  • Press releases

Developing your writing skills can help you become a professional writer. In time, you’ll find it’s easier to produce high-quality documents with your target audience in mind.

Your approach will vary based on the intended audience, the content’s purpose, or where you intend to distribute it.

Types of Technical Writing

Before you begin writing technical documents, you need to consider the type of document you’re producing.

Technical reports are meant to provide information, instructions, or recommendations. They might also analyze data. These reports give readers information on a topic to help them make buying decisions.

For example, a company might cover their manufacturing process to help customers learn more about how products are created.

Technical manuals instruct readers on how to use a product, service, device, or program. For example, you might create a user manual for a computer program or vehicle.

Technical proposals introduce a new project. They can cover:

  • Budgets
  • Expected results
  • Potential benefits
  • The product’s purpose
  • Planned phases
  • Methods for deployment

You can use a proposal to outline the process for completing a project.

Specifications outline a product’s design, structure, packaging, materials, and standards. They allow a second party to construct the product according to those specifications.

These are only a few technical writing documents you can use to communicate with customers, clients, or end-users.

The Benefits

Why develop writing skills for technical documents?

Technical writers are perpetual learners. In order to produce high-quality content, you need to understand and communicate complex concepts. As a professional writer, it’s your job to simply these concepts to ensure they’re easy for anyone to understand.

Producing these documents for your intended target audience can demonstrate your brand’s experience and expertise. Demonstrating your expertise can position you or your brand as a thought leader within your industry or niche. Becoming a thought leader will encourage clients and customers to trust your brand.

A client who trusts your business might feel more inclined to rely on your business. Your technical writing could help you generate leads, sales, and lifelong clients as a result.

Developing your skills as a technical writer will also teach you empathy. You’ll need to understand the reader’s needs and concerns to produce the content they want. You’ll also need to consider how consumers use a product and what information they require.

Technical writing can also boost your search engine optimization (SEO) efforts. Google prioritizes ranking high-quality, informative, unique posts. Improving your writing skills could encourage Google to rank you at the top of search engines.

Since about 68% of online experiences start with a search, SEO can help you reach new customers. However, only 0.63% of Google users check the second page of results. If you don’t appear at the top of the first page, consumers might not find your content.

In fact, organic searches generate over 53% of all website visitors. Search engines even generate 300% more web traffic than social media platforms.

Tips for Better Writing

To become a professional writer, you need to sharpen your skill set. Note there’s no one-size-fits-all approach to technical writing. For example, what’s considered “good” technical writing might vary between companies and different brands.

Here are a few tips that can help you improve your professional writing skills.

1. Research Your Readers

Remember, technical writing allows you to simplify a complex concept for your readers. However, what’s considered “complex” can vary based on your target audience. Before you begin writing, take the time to research your readers.

Knowing your audience will allow you to create content that aligns with their needs. It can also help you adjust the content based on the reader’s knowledge level.

For example, you don’t want to explain a concept to a reader who already has an advanced understanding of the matter. They might think you’re talking down to them. They might turn to one of your competitors for information instead.

If your readers are unfamiliar with the concept, you won’t want to include heavy, confusing jargon.

Personalizing your content based on your audience will ensure it suits their needs and interests.

About 90% of marketers note a lift in business results, attributable to personalization. Another 98% say personalization advances customer relationships. It could boost your marketing ROI by eight times and sales by 10%.

Meanwhile, 50% of shoppers say they’d paid more if brands provide personally relevant content. About 52% will leave your brand for another if you fail to personalize communications.

Define your target audience before you begin writing. Determine what they need to know to ensure you’re providing information they consider valuable.

2. Know the Subject

To become a successful technical writer, you need to come across as an expert. Take the time to gather research before you begin writing.

Try to collect data using primary sources first. You can also use white papers, academic research, or other secondary sources.

If you can’t gather research on a topic, you likely won’t provide anything valuable to your readers.

3. Simplify

Once you’ve gathered the information you need, try to explain everything clearly. Simplify any complex concepts to ensure they’re easy to understand. If it’s confusing to you, it’s likely confusing to readers.

Adjust your writing style to ensure it’s easy to understand. Try using shorter sentences and paragraphs to improve the content’s readability.

You can also improve readability by beginning with an outline. Organize your thoughts into headers and subheaders. Condense information into numbered or bulleted lists when possible.

4. Consider the Style

Once you begin writing, make sure your writing style is suitable for the document you’re creating.

First, make sure to use active voice. Active voice focuses on the subject of the sentence. The subject is the one actively performing an action.

Passive voice, on the other hand, means the subject is the recipient of a verb’s action.

Make sure your writing is clear, direct, and professional. Cut out any emotional or flowery writing. Minimize fluff, too.

Remember to avoid using heavy jargon in your text. For example, you shouldn’t include acronyms readers won’t understand. If you use a phase that can be abbreviated, write it out alongside the acronym when it’s first mentioned.

Avoid vulgar language or slang. Try to write for a broad audience.

Use plain language. Avoid lengthy words or confusing explanations. If your readers can’t understand the text, you’re not providing the valuable information they need.

5. Add Supporting Images

Adding relevant graphics and images to your content will provide readers with visual aids. Visual aids could make it easier for readers to understand the topic you’re covering.

Prioritize using high-quality images. Use branded images when possible. Improve your search engine rankings by optimizing your images.

Include the target keyword in the image file name and alt text. When consumers complete image searches online, your images could appear. Appearing for more searches will help you attract relevant readers to your content.

6. Proofread Twice

Once you apply the above writing tips, proofread your document twice. Try reading the text aloud. If it doesn’t make sense when you hear it, the text likely needs an adjustment.

Make sure the text is free of any spelling or grammatical errors. These errors can make you look unprofessional.

Don’t publish your content without having someone else read it. They might catch mistakes you skimmed over. They can also let you know if an explanation lacks clarity.

Start Expanding Your Technical Writing Skills Today

Developing technical writing skills can improve your digital marketing efforts. Start using these tips to sharpen your skill set. Otherwise, consider outsourcing your writing needs this year.

Want an experienced technical writer to create your press releases? We can help.

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