Technical writing isn’t every writer’s worst nightmare, but it does lack a certain amount of creative freedom. When tasked with a technical writing job, you’re required to create compelling content for an uncompelling subject matter. In a way, this actually requires more creativity than a standard marketing assignment; it’s just a different kind. In addition to coming up with pithy language that captures the attention of the reader, you must also fully understand the product you’re trying to market, which in some cases can prove to be pretty difficult.
The best technical writing starts with understanding. Depending on the time you’re allotted, you may only be able to scratch the surface, but it’s important that you do as much research as possible. Why would someone want to use this product? What need is it filling in the consumers’ lives? What is mystifying about it? What is clear? What is the intended use, and are there any other uses that could also be advertised? Who is the target audience? What are the competitors? These are all questions that you must understand when marketing a technical product. Just like most products, it all comes down to the buyer and what they’re looking for. As you can see, it’s not that different from any other marketing strategy!
Once you’ve developed a comprehensive understanding of the product, how it works and the benefits it provides, think about how you would tell a friend about it. Imagine that this person has absolutely no idea what any of the industry jargon means because usually, your audience won’t have an understanding of the technical terms. That’s why subject matter experts turn to great marketers: you are the person that’s objective enough to bridge the gap. While they may think that the language they are using is easy to understand, you know that if an average fifth grader wouldn’t get it, neither will the consumer. By having a great enough understanding to be able to tell the consumer in layman’s terms why they would want to buy the product, you will be able to more effectively relay the story that the subject matter experts want to tell.
When you feel confident that you’ve hit upon the right stuff, run it by the experts again for technical accuracy. They’re the experts for a reason and they’ll be able to put you back on the correct path had you misunderstood the difference between phonology and phenomenology! It’s up to you to achieve the delicate balance of not over-explaining but still finding the words to accurately describe what you’re selling. While technical writing may not seem exciting at the get-go, you may be more proud of your accomplishments after the amount of research and hard work you put into understanding.