Technical manuals, installation guides, operating instructions and procedural guidelines are unique forms of writing requiring specialized skills. Sure, it's easy to get a bunch of words on paper, but to communicate the needed message effectively requires more effort and let’s face it, most of your staff is already busy with their regular job.
Your SME (Subject Matter Expert) may be well-versed in how the gizmo works, but is writing an operations guide the best use of their talent? This is a complex task and requires someone with varied background, experience, knowledge and ability. Your SME has the knowledge and experience but may not be able to convey the information in a way that's easy to understand.
So, consider a technical writer for the following reasons:
- Trained technical writers work to get the information on paper in a manner that is pleasing to the eye, explaining the product or process in the right amount of detail for the intended audience.
- A skilled technical writer can take any information and shape it into a document that will reflect well on your company. If you’ve ever been assaulted by assembly instructions that have no punctuation, improper spelling and basic language errors, then you know what you don’t want.
- Technical writers understand an audience; they will create documents that reach their target. They can re-write copy that needs that final finesse and retarget older copy that has gone out of date.
- Good writers can help you develop ideas that have been a struggle. Often, a technical writer can help to flesh out an idea before the project starts; outlining the concept will strengthen the outcome and present it in a way that creates buzz.
- A good writer can prevent unintentional errors and missing information. They are skilled in spotting inconsistencies and provide a second set of eyes to your project.
- Company literature should have a cohesive look. Competent writers can help you establish a style for your publications, newsletters, emails, troubleshooting guides and other documents.
- Technical writers can adapt readily to various communications media you might want to use and can advise which media are the best choice.
- Don’t wait until the last minute to seek help, the sooner you bring a technical writer onboard the better. From initial product development through the end stages of product realization, a quality technical writer will be one of your most valuable assets.