When it comes to hiring technical writers, there are several factors to consider. One major one is what they can do, cognizance that not all technical writers can handle multiple disciplines. Here at WorkPar, we have specialized content writers while others can handle a wider variety of disciplines, but not all.
With that in mind, it is good to discuss a few tips on how to select the best. The following sections will explore how technical writers can be hired, the need to hire them, tips for hiring technical writers, and their hourly rates.
However, before delving into details, it is important to understand who a technical writer is and their role and also their functions.
A technical writer is an individual who utilizes various techniques to convey professional information between parties. They use the most appropriate technique or medium of communication to transform complex information into more comprehendible forms.
To achieve this, a technical researcher will research and build information through the use of different delivery media such as audio-visual, electronic, printed, and so on.
Therefore, a technical writer will interpret complex information and transform it into more understandable content for the general audiences.
In short, they simplify the complex by creating online help, white papers, manuals, design specifications, software test plans, and project plans.
How to Hire a Freelance Technical Writer
While there are many factors to consider, hiring a technical freelance writer should be based on his or her prowess, past performance and reliability of the company. Here tips to hire the best technical writers.
1. Find a Reliable Freelance company like WorkPar
The first thing to do when hiring a technical writer is to find your preferred company or platform in which technical writers are present. While most of the technical writers have been employed by companies, some are freelancers and they can be easily located on online platforms.
It is up to you to choose whether you want a freelance technical writer or those who are employed by a reputable company.
While prices of a freelance technical writer may be lower, it is best to seek those hired by reputable companies because they will apply optimal professionalism and teamwork, when needed, to come up with the best technical documentation for you.
2. Review the writers’ Profiles
The second thing you should do when hiring a technical writer is to review their resumes.
While reviewing the resumes, you should always consider how they present their experience in technical writing.
Does the technical writer’s resume mention the business impacts of their technical documentation or the types of technologies they have documented?
Always consider if their resumes directly reference the technologies they have documented so far.
It is also important to consider if the technical writers have worked with clients from industries that are related to yours.
3. Carry objective review of technical writers
The third thing to do when hiring a technical writer is to conduct an honest assessment of the needs of your documentation.
When hiring, you don’t expect the technical writer to miraculously understand your documentation needs. You will have to identify the genuine needs so that you can a script for your technical writer to follow.
If your technical staff cannot successfully meet your documentation needs, it is best to create a script that will help your technical writer complete the technical documentation.
In this case, the technical writer should be capable of working independently rather than relying on internal resources.
4. Select based on Reviews and Past Projects
The next important thing to consider when hiring a technical writer is the writer’s past documentation projects.
They should present their samples and prove that they indeed wrote them. They should also demonstrate their usefulness in terms of participation and their tendency to immerse themselves in new technologies.
While grilling the technical writers about their previous works, look at their industry experience and not their awards. Credible experience is more important.
Finally, technical writers should be technical and not ignorant of technologies as the myth goes.
Why do you need to Hire a Technical Writer?
To get clear writing language
The first reason why you need to hire a technical writer is that they utilize clear language. Why is this important? Experts in a specific field can do good work when it comes to technical documentation.
However, they can only communicate effectively with peers within their discipline. However, a technical writer’s documentation will be comprehendible because they use the easiest forms of communication.
Technical writers connect with the Audience
The second reason is that technical writers know the target audience. While developers of tech owners can list their products’ features, they cannot stipulate their benefits.
Technical writers know the needs of the end-users and they can effectively communicate and come up with documentation suitable for the target users or audience.
Reducing Content creation costs
The third reason why you need to hire a technical writer is the reduction of support and documentation costs.
When a technical writer creates a good manual, there will be fewer calls to your technical support department because they document technology from a user perspective, and not the developers’ perspective.
Since technical writers will write succinctly without jeopardizing quality, they produce shorter manuals that reduce printing costs. This lowers the documentation costs. Shorter and concise documentations save readers and reviewers’ time.
Finally, hiring a technical writer ensures that your technical documentation is professionally written and formatted. The structure is clear with related elements that make it more understandable to the target audience.
They work with designers to come up with manuals that have the right color, fonts, and sizes that appear professional.
Tips when Hiring a freelance Technical Writer
A technical writer should present themselves with integrity and uttermost professionalism. The portfolios/samples, resumes, and websites should be well-prepared and organized. You can always consult their past clients to ascertain whether they work with integrity and professionalism.
A good technical writer must have proper grammar and writing skills.
This is because their major task is to communicate a simplified version of technical jargon to the general users. This should be done concisely and clearly.
The skills should be both verbal and written, as well as interpersonal skills to help them work closely with experts and other professionals.
What this means is that you should look for technical writers who have excellent communication skills.
Technical writers should demonstrate their ability to listen or follow your scrip, which is based on your documentation needs, and recognize what you are trying to communicate.
They should be capable of understanding your needs and creating a word image of your message or product so that the target audience can fully understand.
Because of this, technical writers should demonstrate their innovativeness and their ability to closely work with you to produce creative and original concepts. Therefore, they should demonstrate their willingness to learn new things or concepts.
Technical writer hourly rate
The hourly rate for technical writers in the United States is between $24 and $31. The variation can be attributed to education level, certifications, experience, and additional skills.
However, this rate changes from one technical writer t another and from one country to another. In our database of writers, most writers charge around this amount. However, we have seen some other on-demand writers charge way higher than the stated range.
What differentiates a technical writer from other writers?
One of the main factors that differentiate a technical writer from other writers is their purpose and style of writing. A technical writer will document their work for utility purposes where they are supposed to inform an audience about certain products.
While other writers may write their work to amuse, arouse feelings, or entertain their target audience, a technical writer’s work appeals to the logical reasoning of their readers.
A technical writer should be well versed in the technologies they are documenting. Therefore, they should have the technical knowledge, which is unnecessary for other writers.
Since technical writers are involved in technical documentation, their writing style is direct, concise, objective, simple, clear, restrained, and accurate. They do not need to use flowery writing styles like other writers. Technical writers express rather than impress.
A technical writer simplifies complex processes or concepts so that the audience can fully comprehend them. To achieve this, technical writers first understand how their target audience read and use technical documentation. Other writers do not need to do this.
Technical writers analyze the function of their communication so that they can know what they must do.
By doing this, technical writers know whether their documentation is meant to persuade their audience to act or think in a certain manner, change their attitude, enable them to do something or task, and so on.
Understanding the context of communication through technical documentation is also very important. This is followed by a document design that optimizes usability and readability.
Here, the emphasis, arrangement, conciseness, clarity, ethos, and tone should be utilized within the document design.
The role or functions of a technical writer should be centered on producing effective technical documentation through the analysis of the three elements making up the project’s rhetorical situation.
Those elements include purpose, audience, and context, which are then followed by design. The design document is viewed by the target audience.
From the aforementioned, it is evident that technical writers play an important role in technical documentation. This is a complex task and if you are not capable of performing such a task, it is best to hire a technical writer.
Michael is a freelance writer who focuses on work and work-related content, from news, trends, and technology. He has a keen eye on the gig economy and how the world’s workforce is changing from traditional workstations to outsourced gigs.