Have you ever picked up an IT book, and your mind started drifting before you even got past the title? Just because an industry is highly technical doesn't mean its content should be dry. With effective technical writing, communicating with non-industry experts can still be possible.
Technical writing takes complex topics like SaaS and big data, then turns the information into engaging assets that people understand and engage with.
We've compiled the top tips to help marketers take their technical writing to the next level.
- Technical writing covers complex technical topics in concise and easy-to-read formats
- Technical writing adopts a style and language that speak to a unique audience
- Break up long paragraphs of technical text with images, white space, and lists
What Is Technical Writing?
Technical writing is communicating complex topics clearly and understandably. It’s common in the medical and tech fields, where there's a large amount of highly technical jargon. Using everyday language to discuss technical topics allows users who might not be industry experts to understand products and software.
Because B2B buyers are growing more involved in the buyer's journey, tech companies need to share more information for B2B buyers to make informed decisions. As a result, 87% of B2B marketers prioritize informational needs over sales copy.
Marketers need expanded technical writing beyond just manuals and in-house documents. They can use technical writing for blog posts, digital assets, and product descriptions.
Technical Writing Examples
Here are some of the top content formats that use technical writing:
- Technical documents
- Executive research summaries and content
- Instruction manuals
- News releases
- Technical reports
- Product descriptions
- Tech whitepapers
- Tech case studies
- Survey reports
How To Create High-Performing Technical Writing
Use these eight tips to create highly effective technical writing for your tech company.
Tip 1: Understand the Audience
Not all technical audiences are in the tech niche. Often, technical writing translates an industry-specific topic for readers in a different niche, like when a data security company describes security software to financial institutions. Therefore, tech writing must start with the basics before diving into deeper topics.
That's why writers must first understand the audience's industry knowledge level before exploring technical topics. For example, financial experts sometimes read a technical brief about a SaaS product before purchasing the software. In that case, the financial expert won't be an IT expert and wouldn't understand IT jargon.
Understanding the audience helps technical writers write at a level the audience will understand. In addition, the writer can focus on more relevant details for the reader, so the reader doesn't have to sift through pages of data to find the information that applies to the reader's situation.
Tip 2: Use Proper Grammar and English
A technical writer should be equal parts a writer and an IT expert. A punctuation mistake, misspelling, or poor grammar will hurt the credibility of the technical writing. While IT experts have all the head knowledge, IT professionals might not have extensive writing experience. However, finding a writer with both IT knowledge and writing experience will ensure that the tech information is easy to read.
Tip 3: Simplify the Message
One of the most challenging parts of technical writing is translating a highly complex topic into layperson's terms. Writing an asset rich in technical jargon won't be as effective as a document that's easy to read and digest.
ActualTech Media has experienced that simple and short documents receive the best response. More concise documents are convenient for the recipient to read in one sitting, and the paper doesn't require a high level of concentration to understand, despite the complexity of the topic.
When writers create understandable technical writing, readers are more likely to remember the content.
Tip 4: Break Up Text with Visuals
Sometimes, pictures are preferable to text. For example, a detailed outline of how data flows through a data warehouse might take paragraphs of space. However, one diagram can convey the same meaning in less space and with more clarity.
Image from IBM
Images and videos break up large chunks of text. This pause in the text gives the eye and mind a break. In addition, the visuals help clarify complex ideas in simple diagrams. However, the most potent form of visuals is video.
Tip 5: Use White Space
White space is the area around the text. This space is another way to give the eye a break. While white space is essential for all content, this space is especially critical in technical writing, where the content is heavier.
In addition, adding white space allows readers to skim a technical brief for the most relevant information. For instance, a software instructional manual should allow users to quickly find sections related to the issue the user is having.
Writers create white space by keeping paragraphs less than six lines. In addition, writers break up large chunks of text with bullet points, subheadings, and line spacing.
Tip 6: Be Clear About the Point
Technical writing isn't like a fantasy novel where authors throw a sudden plot twist at the end of the brief. Instead, anyone picking up a technical brief wants to know from the start what the brief covers and what the reader will get out of it.
Before writing technical content, create a clear goal and purpose. Then, stick with that goal throughout the entire report, from the first word to the call to action.
Use headlines and a clear introduction to tell the reader what to expect. A clickbait title and overly creative introduction will only cause the right audience to walk away thinking the brief isn't relevant and might attract an audience that isn't interested in the tech the writer discusses in the brief.
Tip 7: Don't Forget the Attributions
Technical writing should have data and research throughout supporting claims because it discusses a more intricate industry.
For instance, a reader on a consumer industry site like a food blog won't question the author's claim that the recipe needs one teaspoon of salt. However, B2B readers on technical blogs will question every claim and want research-backed solutions. That's because the information relates to more sensitive topics like cybersecurity instead of just affecting the outcome of a batch of cookies.
Therefore, every statistic and fact should have a citation or attribution, so readers know the information is dependable.
Tip 8: Create Evergreen Content
Rarely will technical writing be short-term or breaking news. Most often, technical reports and briefs are relevant for an extended period. For instance, users will interact with product descriptions, product instructions, and user onboarding e-books for months.
Dates are necessary for knowing what information to update. However, try to use information that's not time sensitive or will quickly date the technical brief.
Create Engaging Technical Content Today
ActualTech Media helps tech businesses create cutting-edge and industry-leading technical content. Our production team creates content from e-books to whitepapers that help IT professionals with product launches and industry reports.
Contact us to find the best format for your technical content.