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When Do You Need to Hire a Technical Writer?

A technical writer is a personnel with a special type of skill who he/she focuses on technical communication about a particular field that requires instruction, tutorials, and in-depth explanations. Moreover, their job is to make complex material easier to understand. This results in the drafting of technical documents, user manuals, technical reports, instruction manuals, etc. Over the past few years, technical writing job profile has changed as software jobs and other industries have evolved into this.
The need for a good technical writer for software companies has become more systemized over time. In today’s modern world, the need for a technical writer is more crucial than ever.  Big establishments or companies, such as engineering firms and IT companies, need technical writers as they use their ideas and get them translated into simpler languages. A technical writer is considered the bridge between the company and the customers or the audience. They use their attractive communication skills to make this complex information easier.

As discussed above, Technical Writers are an important part of a company for its elevation, but there are certain things you should be careful about while recruiting a technical writer, such as what they do, what the needs of a technical writer are, etc.

What are the job responsibilities of a technical writer?

  • Clear writing and effective communication: Documentation has no meaning if it’s not written clearly. However, it involves more than just vocabulary and grammatical expertise. The writer must be aware of what to write as well as how to write it. A technical writer is trained personnel, capable of handling both departments.
  • Professional formatting and presentation: A technical writer is an expert in formatting and presentation from layout and font to appropriate size for graphics. They give a professional look to your document. Also, they are trained for branding the products as well. They also look after the font, color, and logo part.
  • A user’s perspective on the product and in the documentation: Technical writers work as user advocates. They see the product or the documentation from a user’s point of view which helps in the estimation of the result. They study the document deeply and calculate its utility and clarity which projects an invaluable side of the product.

A technical writer can make clear and high-quality well-informed decisions about providing the right sort of information in the right location. Here are some of the several available options that a technical writer considers while writing:

  • Multimedia to explain why and to show how
  • Embedded help
  • Online help
  • Tutorials
  • Charts, graphs, and tables
  • Tasks
  • Search and index mechanisms (so people can find what they are looking for)
  • Copyright and legal requirements
  • Industry standards

What are the benefits you will get by hiring a technical writer?

Many companies are unaware of the benefits that they are going to get by recruiting Technical Writers. They act as the representative of your company. Many companies do not recruit technical writers being budget concerned. Well, in this case, what makes the most sense is to hire a writer on a contract basis. By this, the needs of the company can be met along with some savings. Here are some benefits that you will get from a professional technical writer:

  • Cost: If you hire a technical writer on a contract basis, it will cost less than hiring a full-time employee. In this system, you will be able to cut costs where you can make good sense. So a technical writer on a contract basis can be useful for cutting the cost along with maintaining an effective and attractive representation in the market. You will get great documentation and pay only for what you need and what they did.
  • Skill: Many professional and experienced technical writers are only available on a contract basis or freelance basis. They are so highly skilled that you can hire them for short projects, such as implementing single-sourcing strategies, creating documentation sets, applying minimalism and task-oriented strategies, creating video tutorials, or updating a template. These experts can also work with your existing writers if you have any, or on their own.
  • Experience: Some technical writers have a huge wealth of experience that they can draw upon because they have worked with many companies with different projects. A professional technical writer knows how to get the job done well and efficiently.

When do you need a technical writer?

The ideal time to hire a technical writer is while you’re gathering business requirements from your clients for the next product release. A technical writer will help you to develop end-to-end uses and angles of the customer from which your company will get benefits. They make the representation of your product so good along with a complete and profound understanding of your product and how your users will want to use the product.

A company should consider hiring a technical writer during the development phase when they can still overview the decisions made during development. They are good at making choices during the developmental phase and also suggest any new recommendations as they know how the user should be using the product. If you hire a technical writer after the completion of the product, then they will be left doing a rushed job without understanding the product properly. It might be a wrong investment of money as well as time. Well, if you are about to launch your product or you are thinking of any product-based business then you will need a technical writer soon.

There are many of the things mentioned in the list below, that make the need for a technical writer:

  • If you are a product head and thinking about getting your business streamlined.
  • If you have something or some application and you want to guide your customers on how to use it.
  • If you are developing a large application and want to support the developers with requirements and standards.
  • If you have your self-help education website and want tutorial articles.
  • If you are in a field related to writing that involves complex programming knowledge or any IT concept.

When you are an employer or business person who is in search of a technical writer the first step you will have to do is to create an ad for the job along with the job responsibilities he/she needs to handle. Along with these important factors do not forget to add your desired qualifications and the skills you want your technical writer to possess. Once you have decided to hire a technical writer, before truly identifying your project needs concerning a technical writer, you might put more expense and operational costs on your company.  And if you feel like it will add your estimated budget too high then you may go for the freelancers in the beginning too.
Key Reasons why it is a good idea to hire an experienced technical writer:

  • A professional technical writer with adequate experience will devote 100% of their knowledge and skill to the project. Assigning other internal employees will deliver a kind of less effective solution when the core market scenario is concerned.
  • An experienced Technical writer is trained to assess the content strategy such as audience, objective, delivery options, plan, timeline, and delivery promptly.
  • Technical writers have the awareness and experience of the various content development tools as well as all the methodologies and delivery options. They will help to provide the most cost-effective, accurate, and complete delivery of documentation possible.
  • Experienced technical writers have the organizational and grammatical skills to communicate complex concepts, procedures, and knowledge for a wide variety of audiences, reading levels, and comprehension levels. They also have great project management and negotiation skills.
  • A major misperception of technical writers is that they spend 100% of their project time clicking away on a keyboard! They are really good in project management, SME interviews, research, status meetings, collaboration time, review meetings, and many more.
  • Professional writers will add value in providing feedback on usability, user experience, and user interface to designers, engineers, and software developers which will prove a big advantage for your business and can bring dividends in product improvements up to the final product release.
  • Technical writers have better formatting and easier reading capability that enhances readability. They also make your document visible as clarity is one of the most important reasons to hire a technical writer.
  • Technical writers know how to structure their work to make it both appealing and readable. Similarly, they also help in good use of headings, lists, and other formatting features that can make your content significantly more understandable for your audience.
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