Nervous about hiring a contract technical writer? What if we told you there is no reason to be worried? On the contrary, you are in good hands because technical writers are in the business of producing high-quality documents. There are several myths (and truths) surrounding technical writers that we would like to address.
Let’s demystify the stereotypes surrounding writers. After all, most technical writers are not an elite force of black turtle neck, coffee-powered, word machines who tap away on ancient typewriters in a windowless office. Technical writers are professionals who adapt to your training and documentation needs, and who offer unique solutions to your business problems.
1. Writers are all creative types who don’t pay attention to deadlines.
FALSE. While it is in the job description for a writer to be creative, that does not mean writers do not like or adhere to deadlines. A deadline is in fact a writer’s friend, giving them a specific, manageable, realistic, time-bound goal to work toward. It also ensures that all the people on the project are on the same page and understand project needs and expectations. The best technical writers are mini-project managers. They create project plans with specific tasks and deadlines, while factoring in flex time for risk factors and potential curve balls.
2. Writers can’t handle negative feedback.
FALSE. While it may be true that no one loves negative feedback, from a professional point of view technical writers thrive on it. We like when our clients are honest with us. That is, in fact, a sign that we are doing our job as project managers and indicative that a strong line of communication is established. Technical writers go out of their way to gather feedback from stakeholders. Criticism is a building block that writers use to create a superior final product that integrates client feedback.
3. Hiring writers outside of your company is cost-effective.
TRUE. Outsourcing your technical writing can save your company money. Less than 35% of companies believe they have in-house employees with the skills necessary to create technical documentation. Rather than stress, and waste time and money conducting a campaign to find the perfect candidate, consider enlisting a technical writer for hire. Contracted writers offer more flexibility in your budget. They are mobile, working where you need them, onsite next to your existing team or offsite on their own company-provided laptops and applications.
4. Contractors don’t know our brand well enough to communicate it.
FALSE. Contractors may actually pay more attention to your company’s look and brand design than your full-time employees. Why? Because they are committed to producing projects that you are proud of. Style guides are our bibles. If you do not currently have a style guide, we are more than happy to establish one that fits your design and enables the seamless integration of future writers or new staff members on your team. We believe in the power of brand uniformity. It is the little things, like adhering to brand colors and established image formatting preferences, that ensure the narrative being told about your company is consistent and professional.
5. Writers who don’t work here don’t know what we do.
FALSE. MATC Group pairs your organization with writers whose professional background matches your industry. That means sending people with years of financial industry eLearning experience to build your eLearning training modules in Captivate or Articulate 360. In the rare event that there is no match currently available, we can augment your staff with writers who are up to speed with your business needs. A fresh pair of eyes can better pinpoint areas where an instructional manual is not as clear as it could be. The writer’s presence provides an opportunity to create positive change within your process documents or organization. Sometimes you cannot see the forest for the trees. Our writers present a bird’s eye view, and offer a unique perspective and exceptional solutions.
6. Technical Writing expertise crosses multiple fields.
TRUE. If you are unfamiliar with the role of professional technical writing, you might think that a particular technical writer is only suitable to write installation guides for engineering firms, or medicinal specifications for pharmaceutical manufacturers. Contrary to popular belief, technical writers are not restricted to one field of research or to writing a specific type of document. In reality, technical writers work across many industries. That means the same person who writes installation manuals for an engineering firm may also write compliance updates in eLearning modules for a mortgage lender or edit websites for an advertisement group.
7. Writers are solitary creatures.
FALSE. We are in the business of clear communication. Writers are people persons. The documents we write are not the product of a single person’s efforts. The work we do is only possible through the collaboration of Subject Matter Experts, editors, and stakeholders such as yourself. At the end of the day, you are looking for people who bring solutions to the table, not poor communicators who create problems. Our writers are the type of people who often prefer making a call or meeting in person, rather than sending an email. We take the initiative and provide status updates, so you never have to wonder about the current state of your project; you will be in the know.
Our writers are the perfect solution for your business needs. If you are on a budget, but you want a job done right the first time, give us a call. We match your organizational needs to the skill set of seasoned writers who have a background in your industry. Our writers are deadline-oriented, criticism-seeking, brand-aware, adaptable, eager to learn, and excited to write outstanding and effective documentation for your company.