Technical writing provides readers with instructions, or an explanation about a certain topic. This style of writing has a different role or purpose than typical marketing content creation, like creative writing or business writing.
Technical writing requires a skillset entirely on its own. Instructions need to be clear, to the point, and easy to understand to ensure customers of every proficiency level can utilise the product.
Benefits and Uses of Technical Writing
Technical writing offers easy to understand, effective, to the point explanations about something, and how it works.
What types of companies utilise technical writing
Software companies, engineering and design companies, product manufacturing companies, SAAS companies, essentially any organisation that provides a product or service to a client that requires some instruction or explanation in order to setup, install, or operate the product, will benefit from technical writing.
Technical writing helps customer support efforts
A good user manual or documentation serves to relieve Customer Services inbound calls and frees up resources, as customers have access to the manual or a knowledge base and can find their own solution.
Support staff can also reference trouble shooting and how-to's that they can send to customers, instead of spending time on the phone explaining, or drafting long, repetitive emails.
Examples of technical writing:
- Instruction manuals
- Policy manuals
- Process documents
- User manuals
- Instructions on how to assemble a product
- A summary of a lengthy report that highlights and condenses the key elements
Characteristics of Technical Writing
Just as with all forms of writing, technical writing has its own characteristics that set it apart from other types of writing. Entirely different to opinion pieces, creative writing, poetry, non-fiction or fiction, technical writing displays the following characteristics.
- Unambiguous and straight-forward. Technical writing is clear, easy to understand, and uses the most economical language possible to bring across an explanation or instruction.
- Direct and 'to the point' language. Unlike marketing writing, technical writing finds the quickest, most direct route to relay a concept or instruction.
- Detailed and informative. As with a textbook, well-executed technical writing contains all the information a reader needs.
- Highly organised and structured. In order for the reader to easily find what they are looking for, and to follow along the instructions, technical writing is highly structured and well put-together.
Technical Writing that Always Supports Your Customer
Technical writing is carried out by a technical writer who has studied how to write documentation and user manuals. It is the science of communicating with users in the most simple way possible. Technical writing should be:
- Accurate - Technical writing should be well-researched, not at all misleading, with the facts straight.
- Accessible - Aside from the topics being easy to access, through clear table of contents, headings, titles, page names, and search terms, this could also refer to SEO and ease of use of the user manual or documentation.
- Concise - Technical writing can produce a lengthy piece of content, so content should be to the point, and easy to read, so that the reader doesn't become overloaded or give up.
- Clear - Technical writing that is not clear and easy to understand can be dangerous. Technical writing that is done by a technical writer will always be clear and unambiguous to the reader.
- Targeted - A good technical writer will write with the reader's level of understanding in mind. There are typically three types of audiences: expert, intermediate, and beginner. Ensuring the document is useable for the beginner user is the main task of the technical writer.