Six Reasons You Don’t Need a Technical Writer(and Why They’re Dead Wrong!)
I know, I recognize. Times are difficult. It would help if you made do with the stuff you have got. It’s a common and valid lament in the trendy administrative center. You’ve been given to do more with much less, so an apparent region to cut prices is your documentation efforts. After all, writers and editors are a luxury in lean instances. You’re a small corporation and may produce your documentation in residence, correct? Think again. Hiring the appropriate freelancer to do the activity effectively the first time may prevent loads or thousands in help desk calls, carrier calls, record revision, and distribution. Here’s why.
1. You want a person together with your industry or product knowledge. Knowledge of your industry or product is helpful. Still, your writer’s capacity to speak properly in writing and inside the spoken Word is important for fulfilling your documentation undertaking. A right technical creator:
designs easy-to-use and smooth-to-discover documents. Writes clean and easy-to-comply-with instructions.
Demonstrates a wide range of technical expertise, enabling them to accumulate new technical knowledge quickly. Most tech writers thrive on getting to know obscure technical statistics just as much as they love discussing the semicolon deserves. The exceptional tech writers are rapid studies.
Creates file templates with a clean, expert appearance that your enterprise can reuse. Ask wise questions of your SMEs (difficulty matter professionals) that you may not be supposed to ask, ensuring the product’s features.
2. The programmers or engineers can write the documentation. Oh, certainly? Are they no longer busy sufficient already? Most programmers and engineers with whom I’ve worked detest writing. Let them do what they do satisfactorily and allow a writer to do what she does high-quality.
Good technical writers are electricity customers of most word processing applications, HATs (assist authoring gear), and are privy to today’s documentation techniques so one can decorate your corporation’s professional recognition. A top technical author is savvy about layout developments and exceptional practices. Can you say this for your engineers and programmers?
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3. You want an author on the website online. Why? This is 2005. Most freelance tech writers have excessive-speed internet connections, fax machines, and cellular phones. I’ve labored with clients I’ve never met or whom I’ve met multiple times for documentation evaluation meetings. It’s excellent for the writer and desirable for you while you do not have an extra frame taking on your treasured area. I have developed some of my nice professional relationships in cyberspace.
4. Only you understand your users’ needs first class. Yes, you do. You recognize what they need and what they need; it is why your enterprise is so successful. Consider the following questions:
Does your documentation need to be geared toward the amateur person or the experienced techno-geek?
Do you know how to analyze your audience and write to that target audience?
Do you understand your target market’s basic studying fashion?
Will pics paint higher than phrases to deliver your message?
Will a CD or HTML-primarily based online assist work better than print documentation?
How will you deliver and distribute the very last documentation product?
An accurate technical writer will analyze user needs and offer a documentation plan that drives your statistics structure layout. She will create a documentation plan to evolve throughout the mission and allow the documentation to develop as your product adjusts. With a super foundation, you might not have to reinvent the wheel with each new product generation.
5. You already recognize a way to use MS Word. That’s extremely good, and it is crucial.
Are you thoroughly at ease with Word’s advanced capabilities?
Do you dream of macros?
Are you familiar with FrameMaker (a noticeably un-user-friendly but effective favorite tool of tech writers that handles big, complex files that make MS Word quiver and crash)?
Have you ever designed an online assist using RoboHelp?
How are your Photoshop, Illustrator, Paint Shop Pro, Quark, Visio, InDesign, and primary HTML coding talents?
Are you aware of the brand new traits in writing and grammar fashion so your organization’s message will be constant and grammatically correct?
Good tech writers deliver an intensive operating understanding of many phrase processing and graphics applications and standard business writing practices.
6. You can keep up with document updates. What is your plan for documentation model management? Who will write the updates? How will you ensure your customers have the trendy and best model? Suppose you don’t have a model and source to manage the device in the region. In that case, multiple variations of your report in numerous folders create an organizational nightmare when it’s time to revise or update. There’s a fashion closer to unmarried sourcing technical documentation nowadays. Positioned, this indicates one source for all of your documentation wishes. This available source may incorporate fabric in your print manuals, online help, and school materials in a multi-function vicinity. In single sourcing, a creator tags specific material for a particular use. When you supply documentation, you designate the documentation you want to create (e.g., print, online assist, consumer manual, education fabric, technical reference statistics), and the software does the rest. The whole thing is in a single location, making version and source control easy. Setting up a single-sourcing gadget now will save you time and destiny headaches later. A proper technical writer is acquainted with enterprise traits for unmarried sourcing and may be capable of helping you set up an available sourced gadget inside your organization.
If you’re skeptical about hiring a technical writer, consider this. Well-written conversation abilities will always be called for within Enterprise International. However, just being an awesome creator isn’t always enough in the cutting-edge, complex business world. A precise technical creator desires technical savvy, sound information of dozens of software packages, and impeccable studies and writing capabilities.
Would you lease an accountant to broaden the software? Would you want an engineer to reply to telephones? Would you assume a copywriter will do your taxes? Probably not. So, deliver your commercial enterprise and incredible merchandise the expert attention they deserve and recollect a technical creator for your subsequent documentation task.