Why You Need a Technical Writer

Why do I need to hire a technical writer?
My intern did a fine job on that manual last year.
Sure there were a few spelling and grammar errors,
but Word caught most of them.
We don’t have time to create online help,
but, hey, no one reads it anyway!
That’s why we have a help desk!

Having an on-staff technical writer, whose only job is to create properly written, prepared, and presented documents, shows customers that you endeavor to provide a quality product and encourages repeat business.

As technology inserts itself into every aspect of daily life, there is an increasing need for clear, concise, accurate documents to explain that technology. To minimize training and customer-support overhead, savvy business managers provide professionally produced user guides and tutorials. If developers, engineers, or other high-level staff are writing your user guides, not only are you getting a sub par, hastily prepared document, but you are taking time away from your staff’s development, engineering, or other important tasks. Providing incomplete, inaccurate, confusing documents puts a negative face on your organization and encourages potential customers to take their business elsewhere.

Unfortunately, many companies provide user guides simply as an afterthought or to fulfill a customer requirement.

“Manuals” are frequently written by engineers who don’t want to “waste” their time writing help files–often with English as their second language. Many companies will ask managers or assistants to produce end-user documentation, resulting in documents that are hardly worth the paper they are printed on–or the salaries expended in their production.

A skilled technical writer researches the document’s target audience, determines the information required, and delivers it in a format that fits the need.

Engineers or developers might be experts in their fields, but advanced writing skills are not normally a part of their college curriculum. Technical people typically write to impress other technical people, rather than to get their point across in the most clear, concise manner possible. Also, a salesman’s or manager’s silver tongue in the boardroom doesn’t necessarily translate well into writing. On paper they can seem pompous and lacking in necessary information.

Technical writers design, write, edit, and manage a variety of documents.

  • “How-to” guides
  • Training guides
  • Policies and procedures guides
  • Newsletters
  • Reference books
  • Company newsletters
  • Annual reports
  • Business reports
  • Software user guides
  • Hardware user guides
  • Installation guides
  • Online help
  • Online tutorials
  • Computer-Based Training (CBT)
  • Operating instructions
  • Web site content
  • Promotional mailings
  • Brochures
  • Slide presentations
  • Standardized forms
  • Articles for newspapers, magazines, journals
  • Questionnaires/surveys
  • Templates
  • White Papers

Expertly prepared and managed documents improve every aspect of your business:

  • Current customers become repeat customers when accurate and easy-to-use guides are provided with your product.
  • Well-written and informative catalogs, corporate reports, and marketing materials attract clients and investors.
  • Clear, comprehensive training and procedures documents make employees more efficient.
  • Accurate and clearly written policy manuals avoid legal hassles with employees.
  • A well-written and organized Website presents a professional image to potential customers.