Why Technical Writers are Key to Success

By Elizabeth Burke

A technical writer serves a vital role for a business as well as the consumer of a company’s products and services.  Whether writing for an internal or external audience, the technical writer possesses the unique ability to support many areas of a company – Research and Development, Human Resources, Information Technology, Sales, Marketing, Compliance, or Customer Support.  Additionally, with the exception of highly specialized content, a skilled technical writer can serve many industries – financial, software, transportation, government, healthcare, manufacturing, and more.

The talents of the technical writer are more than words, punctuation, and grammar.  The ability to document content for highly complex jobs as well as simple consumer information needs in a manner that allows the user to perform a job or task correctly and efficiently highlights the versatility of a technical writer.

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A skillful technical writer can create documentation for the medical technician using lifesaving equipment, an HVAC person installing a central air unit, or a network administrator maintaining company-wide systems, as well as quick-start guides and manuals for the many common household items we use daily.  Equally, the technical writer must consider the appropriate delivery method – electronic, paper, online help, or webinars.

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In essence, the technical writer serves as the consummate user advocate by thinking for the user…asking questions, testing, and then writing comprehensive documentation that a user can easily consume. It is this multi-faceted perspective that makes a technical writer more than an expert of words, punctuation, and grammar.

A technical writer is the knowledge agent to the consumer.