In the world of an early-stage startup, collaboration is vital. For a new business to succeed, it’s sometimes necessary for staff members to work outside their comfort zones and lend a hand in other departments. For instance, you might see a CEO get involved in development; Human Resources staff may show up behind the reception desk as needed; and developers could end up writing entries for the weekly technical blog. And while initially this kind of cross-training can make for great team-building experiences, as your company grows, taking skilled developers away from what they do best (i.e., development) can end up wasting valuable resources.
We’ve written before about why your developers shouldn’t be writing your technical blog posts. We understand that they have more insider knowledge and expertise than almost anyone else on your team (and likely far more than anyone outside your team). But there is another, better option: by combining the expert knowledge of your developers with the particular skills of a technical writer, you can properly utilise developer time while producing technical blog posts that showcase what your company does best.
Insider knowledge is only part of the equation
When creating technical blog posts, there’s no avoiding the need for technical expertise. In order to show that your company is expert in its field, the technical side of your blog has to be up to snuff. But deep and accurate knowledge of the subject matter isn’t sufficient; in fact, technical work makes up as little as 25% of writing a technical blog post. The rest comes from a technical writer’s skill and experience.
Naturally, anyone who ends up on your blog will have brought with them a keen interest in your technical deep cuts; but no matter how tech-savvy they are, as human beings, they’re also interested in something simpler: your story.
And your story, your angle, your expert knowledge of how the topic at hand can meet your reader’s needs — all that could be lost, if the writing that explains it isn’t good enough.
There’s no question that your developers understand your product better than anyone else, but whether they’re the best people to put it into words is another question entirely.
A technical writing team understands not only your industry but your users as well, and they can work hand-in-glove with your developers to understand every aspect of your product. Yes, your developer has expert knowledge of their 25%, but an expert technical writer provides the rest, saving time and allowing your developers to concentrate on doing what they do best.
Four ways a technical writing expert can make best use of your developer’s precious time
A technical writing expert, or a technical writing agency like Wizard on Demand, can work with your developers to create high-quality, accurate and informative technical blog posts while leaving more time for your staff to focus on their responsibilities. Here’s how it works.
1. They immediately align themselves with your message.
The first part of the technical writing process involves ascertaining a developer’s broad conception of the product. Of course, a developer has deep product knowledge, but it’s not this information alone that a technical writer draws out. They’ll also tease out how the developer thinks, the achievements they’re proud of, and how they believe the product will serve its end users. Rather than leaving a developer to work out what’s most useful for the client, a writing agency crafts questions that will elicit good information in the most time-efficient manner possible.
2. They understand which examples best illustrate your case.
Though technical writers can’t know ahead of time which examples you’d prefer to use, they have the skill and experience to select the ones that work best. By discussing examples with your developer, the writer will gather the concrete information vital to telling an effective story to your audience.
3. They work to save you time.
While a face-to-face meeting is a great way for a technical writer to obtain information from a developer, it’s not always a big time-saver. A skilled technical writer has the flexibility to work in a way that minimises impact on your team calendar. A quick phone call or a short series of emails will take up only minutes of your developer’s day, but for expert writers this is all that’s needed to obtain a wealth of information for your readers. On top of that, a technical writing agency can generally provide a writer local to your team’s time zone (or even to a distributed team’s multiple time zones) who can speed up delivery without having to wait for business hours to roll around thousands of miles away.
4. They actually write the technical blog post!
This one’s a no-brainer. Once the detailed research is done, a writer will set about creating a blog post that’s made for you, at a pace that suits you, and will check back with your developer as needed to make sure that nothing is missed. No need for multiple rounds of edits to take up more of your developer’s time — it’s all handled externally. A technical writing agency like Wizard on Demand handles crucial elements such as crafting an effective title for your post using keyword research, making sure that everything in the post conforms to the brand’s style guide, and sourcing custom images. Your developers needn’t waste a moment worrying about anything outside their areas of expertise.
The result is quality, and quicker
As you can see, involving a technical writer or a technical writing agency results in developers contributing all the content, and expressing all their opinions, while spending only a fraction of the time they would spend working outside of their comfort zones to write the blogs themselves. That’s optimal time management.
Replicate the creative agency process in-house
Maybe you’d like to create your own technical blog posts in-house instead of using a technical writing agency? We understand that desire; naturally it’s possible to recreate this process yourself.
The key lies in identifying which parts of the writing process can only be done by your developers. Consider the following tips:
- Take time to isolate the knowledge that only your developer has.
- Ask your developer about the message that they want to convey.
- Highlight the examples that best illustrate your case.
- Find a member of your team who enjoys writing and can write clearly and effectively.
- Find the areas where your developers’ expertise is a hard requirement and where another team member could take over.
If you’d rather have our help in building an optimised writing process for technical blog posts, drop us a line. At Wizard on Demand we understand tech and content marketing in equal measure. Don’t waste your developers’ valuable time — get in touch with us today.Head to the contact form on our website. We’ll get back to you right away.