Often, many start-ups, small, manufacturing and technology companies don’t hire technical writers to create user manuals, tutorials, knowledge base etc. They assign technical writing projects to their in-house developers. This is a mistake which businesses should avoid. Though developers are the creative minds behind products, web applications and and computer porgrams, it doesn’t necessarily mean they are a good fit for the task of professional technical writers.
Most developers, technicians and engineers can’t write a single clear, well-developed paragraph, let alone a user manual or an entire knowledge base. They see writing as a challenge.
Unless you have no issues with technical documentation which sounds dull, boring and uninspiring, you can do as you please. But if you’re looking for documentation which is lucid, concise, accurate and well-structured, you should always go ahead and hire a technical writer or outsource the project to a content writing service.
Now, you may be wondering how the heck on earth a technical writer who doesn’t understand my product can write better than the developer who knows my product inside-out. You have a valid point but what you are not aware of is that technical writing is what technical writers do and they are just too good with their stuff. They do not only get their head around your products quickly but they also write in a style which identifies with your brand image – because of their niche writing expertise and excellent interviewing skills.
Here’s why you should hire a technical writer for creating user manuals, knowledge base and other technical documentation.
They Devote 100% of Their Time to the Writing Project
You may want to assign technical writing to your in-house development staff, and expect them to devote all of their time to the task. But since a developer is a developer, he’ll have to look after what he has been hired to do. And you can only guess when the technical documentation project is going to get written. Yes, it will get done only after your development guy is done with all of his programming and coding work. But is he ever really finished with his development work?
Just think about it.
Also, since most developers hate to write, assigning them technical writing projects will most probably let you down.
Technical writers, on the other hand, will wholeheartedly focus on the documentation project, give it their best shot and deliver satisfactory results in the given time-frame.
They Strategize Content Writing
Technical writers are quite well-versed with every step of a content strategy. Once you have hired a technical writer for a project, they’ll take the time to assess the specific requirements of the target audience and the objectives of your company and then plan things like a content strategist does to deliver the best results.
An experienced technical writer will help you streamline the entire writing process. Your in-house staff might not be proficient in gathering information. They will most probably take the old-school route. But technical writers are always on the cutting edge of what they do and will glean information using new-age techniques.
An experienced technical writer is familiar with a number of content development tools and techniques they can use for successful completion of technical documentation projects.
They Know How to Explain Complex Concepts
Technical writers are proficient in explaining complex topics and concepts in a way that is easy to comprehend.
They write for a wide variety of audiences (with different reading and comprehension levels) and so they are the best people you can hire for creating short, crispy and easy to understand user manuals, installation guides and knowledge base for your customers.
They View a Product in Its Totality
There are two perspectives to a product or technology: micro-perspective and macro-perspective.
Your in-house developers are too close to your product because they have invested unstinting effort in the development of that product. No matter how hard you expect them to look at the product from the user’s point of view, they will most likely take an inside view of the product, which is the micro-perspective. They’ll be biased because they simply can’t help it. On the other hand, the technical writers you hire will view your product in its totality, which is the macro-perspective and a prerequisite for great technical writing.
On many occasions, technical writers have also been noticed to provide valuable feedback to companies for further improvement of the product. This is because they research a lot and study every key aspect of the product closely before writing.
They Make Documentation Appear Professional
How the consumer perceives your brand is crucial. So, whether it’s the user guide, knowledge base or any other technical documentation, you should make sure it is presented in the correct way.
Technical writers are proficient in making all those technical documents look professional. They will gladly work in close contact with designers and graphics professionals to choose the right colors and fonts that align with the image of your brand.
They Save You Time and Money
In the beginning, you may feel tempted to assign the technical documentation project inside because it saves you some money. But can you imagine how much more redoing it later would cost you if your tutorials, FAQs, user manuals and knowledge base are ill-defined, cluttered and hard to understand?
If that happens, it wouldn’t only cost you more money but might even jeopardize your business.
By hiring a technical writer or outsourcing the task to a content writing service provider, you’ll save both time and money as well as eliminate the legal risks that you may otherwise expose yourself to.
Bring a Technical Writer On Board Now!
Stop being penny wise and pound foolish. Hiring a technical writer is not a luxury that you can’t afford. Whether you are launching a new company or have been in business for a long time, always avoid getting your technical documentation project done in-house by your developers or technicians. Think long-term and choose to hire an experienced technical writer who can write high quality user manuals, FAQs and tutorials for your product or technology at an affordable rate.