When you hear the word "technical writer" what comes to mind? Computers? Engineering? Complicated subjects? I want to challenge the writing world: have you considered the idea that a technical writer can be the best resource for all of your communications projects? Let me explain why.
Technical writers are skilled at creating clear, concise text that translates complicated ideas into simple ones. This skill is great for areas like computer software, manuals, engineering documents, and other communications that need to be clear and to the point. This is a given.
But what it's also great for is a wide range of communications, the most obvious of which is training materials. Training is a close cousin to end user documentation; it's just a different format. Really good training materials have not only stellar instructional design behind them, but also clear language. What if your design and ideas are great but your text comes out muddy? How will that affect your learners? Wouldn't technical writing skills be helpful in this scenario?
So let's take this a step further. Would you hire a technical writer to create your marketing or web communications? Maybe? Maybe not?
It may seem counter-intuitive to put a technical writer in this role, but in order for marketing or web copy to sell it has to grab attention quickly. This means not rambling. This means making sense to a wide audience. This means getting to the point, but in a creative and catchy way.
Now here's where things get squishy.
Have you ever seen marketing text with a bunch of flowing, embellished words that honestly aren't coherent and don't really get to the point? This is a classic case of "attempting to be creative and catchy, but in the process completely erasing any semblance of quality content" syndrome. When I was employed as a technical writer, I would often fix the work of the marketing communications person for this very reason. And honestly in the end I wound up completely taking over, because as a technical writer I was just able to create something much more effective.
So when you're looking around for writing help, think about the technical writer. And not just for technical projects - but for a wide range of projects. Their unique skills can sometimes be advantageous to your communications endeavors, if you just take the time to find one who has a bit of a creative bug in their arsenal.
Contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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