The internet has many more pages today than it had ten years ago, but only a small portion of them are high-quality content. Companies and individuals produce more low-quality content every year, and it’s easy to think that what’s important is the quantity and not the quality.
Many technology businesses are struggling to make a dent with their content online because the quality bar for technology content is so much higher. The developer audience is notorious for its attention to detail and, sometimes, firmly held opinions.
As a business owner or a marketing manager, you might think, “I can hire a freelance technical writer to produce high-quality blog posts and documentation, problem solved.” We believe that just hiring a freelance technical writer isn’t enough to create content that stands out.
In this article, we explain why most companies should be hiring a technical writing agency instead.
It takes a village to produce world-class technical content
At Wizard on Demand, each technical article is a team effort involving at least five different specialised roles:
- A strategist works with the client to understand the best ways to engage with the client’s technical audience.
- A subject matter expert (SME) builds on the strategy and suggests the specific articles that could be maximally useful to your audience.
- An experienced developer creates technical examples and code snippets.
- A technical writer comes in and produces the article based on the strategy and the ideas from the SME, and uses the high-quality examples that the developer previously created.
- A technical editor ensures that the tone and the voice of the article are consistent with the brand guidelines and that the material is error-free.
Notice that, although extremely important in the process, the technical writer is only one person out of five on this team. Then, multiply the number of experts required by the number of different areas of knowledge you want to cover in your technical blog posts and articles. All of a sudden, you have a large team that needs to run like a well-oiled machine to produce the best results for you.
The reason Wizard on Demand exists it’s challenging to have a team like this working on your content unless you are a 1000+ person company, and even then, it requires a lot of strategic oversight and effort to keep running. Our goal is to bring the world-class quality of content to companies that aren’t yet ready to have a large team of experts on staff.
As an agency, we work with multiple clients, and we learn from all of them. Every client benefits from the knowledge we acquired with the other clients. (It’s the reason why we can’t have multiple clients that are in direct competition with each other.)
From creating style guides to finding subject matter experts, finding the right approach takes time and effort. Here are a few different areas where our constant learning pays off.
Research The subject matter experts we work with know that their advice will be shared with thousands of readers online.
Writing The writers that work with us have a chance to work on different projects. Many technical writers get bored with working on the same product after a couple of months. Now that we offer multiple parallel projects, the writers can switch teams, follow new interests, and otherwise invest in personal development while working with us.
Editing The technical editors that work with us are interested in creating a long-lasting impact on the writing we produce. One of the ways we facilitate it is maintaining an internal technical content style guide that’s updated continuously and tweaked with each new article.
Development Over the years, we’ve learned what good technical examples for articles look like: custom-made, illustrating the exact point we’re making in the article, and with minimal unrelated or boilerplate code. With the constant learning that’s going on in all these areas, we keep increasing the quality bar for ourselves with every new client we take on.
Hiring a technical writing team takes time and effort
While we believe some companies can benefit from having their own technical content team, it takes time end effort to recruit, onboard, and train team members. It can take months to find the right candidates, especially if you need to go through multiple levels of approvals to get the process moving.
As a content manager or a growth lead, you would also need to invest a significant amount of time into the hiring process. You’d need to design the right processes, figure out the best ways to source candidates, and come up with a training program.
The cost of delay of the content work due to the need to hire a team and needing to invest in a hiring process makes working with an agency like Wizard on Demand a time-saving and powerful move for many technology companies.
Remember project management?
Freelance technical writers often take on multiple clients at a time with a varying strictness of deadline at each client. Good technical writers are in demand, and they may not always be available to provide you with a steady stream of work due to their busy schedules. The writer’s tight schedule means a need to check in with them frequently and ask for follow-ups and updates.
At Wizard on Demand, we have structured our offering to work around these issues:
- We only offer recurring subscriptions for technical content. The confidence that a client will stay with us allows us to plan, sometimes months ahead, and provide our team members with a steady stream of work, which they appreciate.
- We use project management tools to stay in sync within our teams, and we frequently plug into the clients’ project management system to provide updates and react to new requests as they come in.
- For each project, we build in a buffer that allows us to be flexible if a writer or a developer needs some extra time to wrap up the work or if someone from the team is on vacation.
All this is, of course, in addition to doing a great job with our internal project management and proactively working with you to resolve any issues.
For most companies, hiring a technical writing agency is a better fit than hiring a freelance technical writer. Go with a freelance technical writer if:
- You have found someone exceptional who combines the technical writing skills, the editing skills, the development skills, and the subject matter expertise (they are scarce, but they exist).
- You already have an in-house team, and you’re looking to fill in a short-term gap while someone is on vacation or parental leave.
Go with a technical writing agency if:
- You’re looking to start publishing world-class technical content as soon as possible.
- You want to take advantage of the expertise of other tech companies in the technical writing space.
- You want to reduce your project management load.