Technical content writing is not an easy thing to do. It is a skill that takes writers years of training in effective communication as well as technical communication. Engineers and developers often fall victim to the curse of knowledge, whereby they fully understand the technical concepts but fail to explain it to someone who is not an expert.
Turning technical jargon and long-form content into accurate and detailed explanations that a majority of people can understand is a talent in itself. Explaining technical topics well requires having the right people, a good process, thoughtful planning, and consistency. Getting all of these things right is not easy. This is why businesses and organisations often outsource technical writing services.
According to our experience, here are five reasons why high-quality content is rare.
1. It Is Difficult to Produce High-Quality Technical Content
The major objective of technical content is to convey valuable information to the customers in a language that they can easily understand. The absence of high-quality content is not due to the absence of knowledge.
In fact, businesses and organisations are often aware of the technical aspects of the services they offer or the products they develop.
However, organisations may struggle with other aspects of technical writing such as:
The main culprit is the approach. If your target audience is uninformed on a blog post subject, bombarding them with technical words and terms can deter them and they are never going to wade through long technical documentation. Instead, using a straightforward language to explain the problem as well as the solution you offer can help you communicate more effectively.
However, most engineers and designers fail to understand the approach they should utilise for the main content. With an abundance of technical knowledge and a lack of communication skills, many engineers create content that is difficult to understand for their large-scale audience.
In addition, technical content tends to be a bit dry and boring. It should be concise while still offering relevant information. Delivering well-articulated articles derived from the initial idea can be difficult.
Most content creators and writers tend to use evasive or digressive language instead of tackling the problem head-on. As a result, conciseness and clarity can suffer.
Technical writing not only involves technical blog posts, but it can also include product manuals, product descriptions and other supporting documentation.
Eliminating ambiguity and uncertainty is crucial when it comes to technical content, which most writers struggle with. These documents and manuals are catered to customers who need a solution. Leaving things unclear can result in poor support and troubleshooting.
Furthermore, technical content requires an abundance of research that leads writers to not only search the web but also interview engineers and experts. Often, writers may not obtain adequate research they need which results in mediocre-quality content.
Consistency is the key to building an organisation’s reputation. Having inaccurate data or low-quality content can jeopardise your credibility. Therefore, delivering great quality articles consistently can be difficult for some organisations.
2. It’s Difficult to Use Technical Content Effectively to Meet Business Goals
Most technical organisations produce technical blog posts just for the sake of it. They do not realise the main purpose of such content and solely write these posts to imitate their competitors.
What such organisations fail to realise is that their content is the most influential method they can use to meet their business goals. They can easily tailor the content to reach their ultimate goals. These may be long-term or short-term goals.
Creating Content to Meet Goals
Generally, a high-quality technical content strategy can help any organisation meet these four goals:
- Educate the consumer base
- Drive social engagement and clicks
- Rank higher on search engines
- Earn credibility
- Recruit talent
Measuring Content ROI
Writing and posting these technical blog posts is only half the job. The rest deals with measuring the effect of the content and monitoring how successful it was in helping the company meet its objectives.
Mostly, these organisations have great content that has the tendency to meet all these goals. However, they do not measure the success of the content. As a result, their content tends to stagnate and they fail to acknowledge the cause.
Measuring the success of your content can help you generate more successful and productive content. For instance, businesses dedicate an entire section to recruiting new talent. Often, this section grants a glimpse of what life is like working with the business and what cultures they promote.
When done effectively, it can literally result in more job applications. You can create blog posts that concentrate on these cultures and monitor how the job applications are affected.
3. Use of Technical Articles Just for Advertisements
A major objective of technical blog posts is to educate the audience about the organisation’s products and services. However, companies should understand that it is not the sole purpose. Most organisations use these posts to advertise their solutions.
They use these posts as a mere form of advertisement. On the other hand, a powerful technical content strategy can help the audience focus on the problem and learn all aspects of it.
Once the reader is fully aware of the problem, the content should help him determine whether the problem applies to him. Only then, should the content present the service or the product as an effective solution.
The purpose of this article should be to help the reader understand how these services or products can help solve their problem. Including facts and infographics can elevate the credibility of the content and provide a valid justification for using this specific solution.
Another aspect most organisations overlook is defining limitations. Undefined limitations can lead to heightened expectations, which, in turn, lead to disappointment. A methodical content strategy will never eliminate risks and limitations to add integrity to the content.
4. Asking Developers to Provide Content Without Training
While developers and engineers are quite adept at technical skills, they don’t necessarily know how to write well right away. In fact, most of these employees may not enjoy writing and struggle with procuring the correct terms. If they do not enjoy writing or aren’t adept at it, it can result in poor quality blog posts that offer no value to the customers.
True technical writers tend to be a rare breed. They are great communicators, writers and critical thinkers. They tend to learn quickly which is why they can understand technical concepts. Using developers as technical writers can be like playing a game of Russian roulette. You will never know the quality of the content you will get.
5. Companies Don’t Have the Right People
One of the major reasons that companies struggle with creating quality content is that they simply find it hard to hire technical writers. Many organisations try to train pre-employed engineers and developers to provide technical content writing services. However, there are a few reasons why training employees for technical writing are extremely difficult. These are:
- These employees need to learn a new technical subject for each project. Even if you limit your company to software solutions, there are various sub-areas within that subject that require a vast amount of research. It is crucial for your employees to have an aptitude and interest in these technologies to develop high-quality content.
- The technical writer acts as a bridge between the company and the users. While a developer may fabricate a product, it is the technical writer who conveys it effectively to the mass audience. This requires intense training as well as intuition.
- Constant training and resources are required which may drain the company’s funds.
This is also what tends to deter individuals from becoming a technical content writer. As a result, companies struggle with finding good technical writers.
Hiring or training technical writers may take a fair amount of time and effort. However, building a reliable process tends to require even more resources. Technical writers need to build a structure or process or their writing could fall victim to the following deadly sins:
- Messy structuring
- Poor punctuation and grammar
- Ambiguity and lacking clarity
- Poor presentation
- Too much jargon
A proper systematic approach needs to be taken. Most professional technical writers make use of a style guide that includes formatting guidelines and various templates.
All in all, high-quality technical content requires intensive research and training to produce information-rich writing. The end goal of the content should be to serve both the customers and the company. For the customer, the content should offer value and insight into the products and services.
At the same time, it should help the organisation meet its short-term and long-term goals. Most companies struggle with creating their content to satisfy both parties.
The major cause is they tend to ask their developers and designers to write the content. These employees may be least interested in writing which results in poorly crafted content.
Even when hiring, companies tend to be at a disadvantage due to the rarity of individual technical writers. This is why it’s more suitable to outsource the technical content writing services from a technical writing agency. These agencies already possess a team of writers who can produce content that is effective, valuable and specially tailored for your audience.