ITOutsourcing Guide: Outsourcing Technical Writing

Looking for ways to improveyour product documentation?

Hiring an external technical writer is an option. Good software products often don’t get the attention and engagement they deserve because of poor manuals and instructions. That’s why companies are looking for talent to make technical documentation simple.

This IT outsourcing guide will be helpful to those considering hiring an external technical writing service. We’ll talk about the reasons and benefits of outsourcing this project, and give you tips to find the best writers to improveyour products.

What is Technical Writing?

Technical writing is a discipline of documenting technical processes such as instruction manuals and guides. Technical writers take complex technical knowledge and simplify it for software users.

Examples of technical writing include:

●    Software manuals

●    Knowledge base content

●    Technical reports

●    User interface texts

●    Emails with technical information

●    Press releases.

Why Outsource Technical Writing?

A technical writer is someone who serves as a middleman between highly knowledgeable technical professional sand software users. So, creating an easy-to-understand yet technically accuratetext is a very specific skill.

Businesses choose tooutsource technical writing because:

●    Their software doesn’t get the attention and user engagement

●    They need someone with a fresh perspective to make documentation more user-friendly

●    They lack someone with technical writing expertise

●    A high number of customers with questions and complaints about your software

●    They need someone who can help with discovering usability problems and inconsistencies that developers might miss.

Ultimately, having a skilled technical writer can help to improve digital products, user acquisition andretention. But there’s a small problem - many businesses don’t have in-housetechnical writers because of a growing talent shortage.

Instead, they try to teach people with research paper writing and blog writing skills to “convert” totechnical writers. This works in some cases but requires a lot of time andmoney. Outsourcing is a better option, especially if there’s an on going web development project.

Tips to Outsource Technical Writing

Here’s how to choose the besttechnical writer for your project.

1. Use an outsourcing agency

An outsourcing agency is abusiness that specializes in finding professionals who fit unique projects.Even though some companies prefer to go with freelancers, working with an agency is a better option.

For one, freelancers oftenvary in experience and skills. So, the chance that a chosen freelancer’s skills won’t be enough for your project. An outsourcing agency will ask what kind ofexperience, skills, and even personality you prefer, and give you options ofpeople who fit the requirements.

That’s why the majority oftechnical documentation writers choose to be employed rather than being a freelancer. In fact, 94 percent of them work as employees rather than independent workers.

Write the Docs Salary survey 2019. Credit: Write the Docs

These were the findings of the Write the Docs Salary survey of 649 documentation writing professionals. The choice to be an employee also has more benefits for technical writers, as theyhave a better chance to “get matched” with a project for their skill.

2. Look for writers with similar industry experience

Like in any other profession,there are many sides to technical writing. The best option for you is someonewho had worked on similar projects before. For example, if your product is alive chat application, hiring a writer only with experience in accounting appdocumentation might not be a good idea.

Many companies indicatespecific industry experience in job descriptions. This one, for example, liststwo very unique requirements to get applications from people with relevantskills.

A technical writer job description. Author’sscreenshot from LinkedIn

To choose a good writer foryour product, always ask for a list of projects they’d worked on. Havingexperience in your industry or niche could be a big plus. Such a writer canwork faster and know what worked for similar software products in the past.

3. Ask for client communication experience

Technical writers often have to communicate with clients,” says MarieFincher, an expert technical writer from Supreme Dissertations.“They discuss products or specific features, verify and confirm facts, work on user research, and do other important things.”

To communicate with clients effectively, technical writers often need to explain technical information,receive and analyze feedback, and lead meetings. Choose a writer who has this experience.

4. Check project management skills

Technical writers often haveto manage multiple projects at a time. While they can manage smaller projects easily, there might also be larger documentation ones to work on. That’s whereproject management skills can make a lot of difference.

Look for technical writers who know how to:

●    Lead and manage multiple projects

●    Be organized to make deadlines and coordinatetasks

●    Find the right target audience for each project

●    Avoid going over the project budget

●    Communicate clearly and effectively with others

●    Research regulations and standards to base documentation on

●    Provide feedback and help other project stakeholders

●    Avoid scope creep.

So, a technical writer withgood project management skills can save you money, ensure compliance withregulations, and speed up your projects.

5. Ask for content SEO optimization skills

If you need your technical documentation to be optimized, consider choosing a writer with SEO knowledge. Sometimes, technical writers have to work closely with digital marketing teams to add keywords, links, and other SEO must-haves.

Try to hire a writer whoknows how to:

●    Perform keyword research and optimize texts torank on Google

●    Do interlinking to connect other similar pages

●    Structure knowledge base or online documentation resources in a way that makes Google crawling easier.

●    Optimize screenshots and visuals to compress their size and maintain quality

●    Use Google Analytics tools to know how peopl efind your documentation and which keywords they use.

Having these SEO skills will help optimize content for Google. Also, keep in mind that third-party SEO writing tools like TopEssayWriting, Grammarly,and TrustMyPaper could help. So, SEO skills are a big plus, but not an absolute must for technical writers.

6. Ask if they have teamwork experience

A technical writer works aspart of a team. They need to talk to web developers, designers, team leaders,support operators, and other stakeholders on a regular basis. To produce clearand accurate documentation, they must be skilled team players.

As the above-mentioned Writethe Docs survey found, 71 percent of technical documentation writers are team members.

Write the Docs Salary survey 2019. Credit: Write the Docs

That’s why technical writer job posts feature similar sections.

A technical writer job description. Author’sscreenshot from Linkedin

When choosing an external technical writing service, always ask for significant teamwork skills in writers. Professionals with this experience know how to give constructive feedback, lead meetings, share information, collaborate on decision making, andsolve problems together.

The Bottom Line

Outsourcing technical writingis a good option that allows using top talent on a project basis. While thereare many freelance options available, they often differ in quality and experience.

Once again, to find the best technical writers:

●    Use an outsourcing agency

●    Ask for a writer with similar project experience

●    Check if they have client communication experience

●    Ask for project management skills

●    Look for writers with SEO skills

●    Ask for team work experience.

The best way to find aqualified technical writer is through a third-party contracting agency. It chooses professionals based on your specific project and experience demands to find a perfect match.

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