Technical writing can come with a major learning curve if you tend to stick to more lifestyle-centric brands. This style of writing can also encompass a variety of industries, from health technology to manufacturing. If you ask me, technical copywriting is any writing that requires in-depth research and knowledge of a complex industry.
However, with unknown territory can come confusion and inadequacy. Once you learn the basics and get a knack for it, you can write for any industry.
Want to branch out into technical writing? Read on.
Write in an Authoritative Voice
Writing in an authoritative voice doesn’t mean using big words or introducing complicated topics that are difficult to understand. It means that you need to become an industry expert and know your audience. Which is why it’s crucial that you’re actually knowledgeable about the industry.
When it comes to technical copywriting, you have to learn about more than just the brand. You need to learn all about the industry. This means that you need to fully understand exactly what it is that the company does.
The best way to do this is through subject matter expert interviews. It’s so much easier to simply ask someone in the company to explain the industry and their product, rather than digging through their website or looking it up.
However, sometimes your project timeline is too tight and you can’t fit in a subject matter expert interview. In this case, you’ll need to rely on the company’s website and on Google.
As you outline, ask about things you don’t understand. The more familiar you are with the detailed aspects of the industry, the better of a technical copywriter you’ll become.
Know Your Audience
Knowing your audience, for technical writing, is all about understanding how much your audience understands.
If you’re writing for a company that has lots of competitors, chances are that the audience is pretty knowledgeable about the industry. In this scenario, what’s more important is describing why they should choose this specific company, instead of a competitor.
On the other hand, if you’re writing for a company that is offering an innovative, newer product, your audience probably won’t know much about the industry. In this case, you may need to go a bit more in depth when explaining what the product does and why the reader needs it.
Even with an informed audience, it’s important to keep your writing simple, yet knowledgeable. You should be able to explain the industry and the product or service to anyone in an easy-to-understand way.
Find Reliable External Sources
Throughout your technical writing, be sure to link to reliable sources. Using statistics is a great way to link to add credibility to your writing.
When looking for statistics, try your best to find them within journal articles and academic studies. In the case that you can’t, link to relevant web pages from .org, .gov and .edu websites.
Most readers will see In fact, according to the Knight Foundation, 83% of young adults view links to research and facts as most important to earning their trust.
See? It’s just like that.
This isn’t just important for technical copywriting, it’s also vital for Search Engine Optimization (SEO). If you want to learn more about linking and all things SEO, check out our blog: The On Page SEO Crash Course for Beginners.
Whether you’re using SEO or not, linking to external sources will enforce your authoritative voice in your writing.
Look for Ways to Improve
As a copywriter, of any type, you should always try to improve your writing. Whether you’re trying to eliminate some bad writing habits or you’re working towards a new writing skill, even the best copywriters are always on the lookout for how they can be better.