A Comparison: Technical Writing Vs. Business Writing
Who wants to be a content writer to turn out their writing passion into a profession? Technical Writing vs. Business writing will give you insight into your journey to content writing. If you are one of them, this article will help you achieve your goal.
Are you a newbie in content writing? Are you an experienced professional who wants to take their career to the next level; you can find the required and useful information in this article?
The goal of Technical Writing vs. Business writing is to communicate information to the target audience. The process of writing includes detailed research and discovery of the facts, vetting of all information, multiple rounds of drafting, feedback from multiple experts, and intensive editing and revision.
There are few similarities and few differences for Technical writing vs. business writing. Similarities are well-research, well-planned documents, clear thought, and review. These two fields Technical Writing vs. Business writing differ in their core responsibilities. Technical writing focuses on technical content whereas Business writing focuses on business values that will be brought onto existing business.
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Let’s try to comprehend- What is Technical Writing vs. Business Writing. They are the types of content writing.
It defines the content about different horizons. The main categories are science, engineering, and technologies. The type of work a technical writer does is documenting user manuals, release notes, user guides. The contents state facts and interpret phenomena then draw careful conclusions. It presents observations and not opinions. The technical writer most of the time works with Subject Matter Experts to deliver high-quality content.
It has broader audiences and customers. The audiences in this field need clear information and instructions to understand and access it easily. Technical writers work in consulting, software, academic, broadcasting, government, transportation, telecommunications, energy, health, security, and so on.
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How to Become a Technical Writer?
It is a crucial skill for a Technical writer to communicate the knowledge effectively. He/she also needs to verify the integrity of the content before producing. Technical writing consumes high-level information. Then the job of the writer is to parse the content in layman language. The readability of the content should be maximum.
Technical documents are divided into two types: Process documents & User documents.
Process documents are the lifecycle that defines the scope and processes for a project. It documents a few protocols that a project needs to be carried out. It is considered a reference document for the ongoing activities in the product lifecycle. And the records are referenced often to ensure the quality is maintained.
The user document contains useful information about the product. We all know any product that we buy from the store or online contains a user manual. It describes the procedures for how to use the product efficiently. It also comes with troubleshooting guidelines; so that a user can follow mentioned steps upon facing any such problem.
This type of writing also increases sales because it helps users directly or indirectly. Users can save time contacting customer services and can use the product efficiently. This strategy helps to increase the revenue of the company.
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The processes are followed by writing and reviewing the article. The planning phase is another necessary because it carries out finding your niche and topic selections. Good research and neatly written articles are vital because they will engage the reader.
A writer can put his or her thought process in the document. The content needs to be correct with the original information. The review process is also another key-point factor because it ensures the accuracy of the article.
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The following process can be followed for technical writing to develop the best document.
1. Choose Your Niche
Content writing begins with the selection procedure of a niche you want to write. The subject needs to be clearly defined because the information will be communicated to the client or employer. You can choose the industry to pursue your career. The technical documents are different from industry to industry.
Content for pharmaceutical companies is different than the content needed for the Tourism sector. The finance domain needs content specific to finance-related stuff. Though it is possible to write for more than one industry, the effective way to grow in a career is a selective field. You can choose your interest and apply the knowledge that you have gained through your experience.
The project planning process begins with the request for a technical document. Client or Employer initiates the process because the document contains the high-level requirements such as target audiences, scope, goal, vision and, mission.
All the aspects may not be clearly defined at first. Regular follow-up and a few discussions would help draw a clear picture of the requirements. Good technical writing needs to be well versed with the information from the beginning of the project preparation.
3. Analyze the target audience
Understanding the reader beforehand is an essential part of the project planning phase. You can ask a few questions such as; Who are they? What do they need? Where will they be reading? When will be they reading? Why will be they reading? How will be they reading? A content writer needs to ask these questions before preparing the document. It is easy to proceed with the topic you plan to write about now because the answers are clear.
The audience is the main factor in the writing process. The technical writer needs to convey the content in a way that a user can understand easily. A good technical writer needs to revise the text according to the reader’s context.
4. Understand your User better
A technical writer needs to understand the user better because few audiences can be experts in the field. The information might be new for some audiences and, Some audiences can possess little knowledge about the topic.
Audiences also have their own needs and expectations. A technical writer must determine what the reader is looking for when they start to read the document. Here reader’s goal plays a main role in the entire writing process because the document needs to fill their queries.
5. Planning Your Document
Writing a technical document is complex. A lot of factors need consideration that can be part of the final product. Developing a mind map makes the writing process efficient because a wide range of information needs to include.
Highlighting relationships and a high-level visualization overview is a good start for the document. This phase is crucial because it highlights areas that are not familiar and require more investigation.
It is an essential factor for the process to be right. A technical writer even goes through the usage of mind-map if the concept is new or unknown. Technical writing vs. business writing goes through well-planned research to produce a fruitful document.
6. Consulting with Experts
A technical writer may or may not be the expert in the area they are writing. Knowing every technical detail are also not feasible sometimes. Hence, a subject matter expert’s guide is critical in this area. Experts will provide essential and additional information that will make the content more beneficial to the end-user.
Before stepping into the writing process, a technical writer must find experts in the respective subjects who are authorities in that topic. Engaging with the SME early in the process is advisable. Their involvement is vital from the beginning till the end (review).
Technical writing vs. business writing – In Technical writing, a writer needs to consult to SME whereas, in Business writing, a writer needs to consult the supervisor or the senior for more accurate information.
7. Visual Formatting
Visual formatting is another aspect of any content to be visualized and feeding the information into memory instantly. Infographics are much more helpful to remembering concepts compared to text. The reader loses interest after some time because texts are hard to remember.
Contents are understood easily with the combination of pictorial representation. Infographics play around in the reader’s memory to understand the concept easily. Though the text is main but visual display is also vital. Templates, Images, Diagrams make the text more appealing and user readability in the long run.
There are various tools available in the market to create infographic content. Microsoft Word, PowerPoint, Adobe Photoshop, Canva are a few useful tools to make infographics more appealing. UX design is helpful to provide better graphics, and it makes visual representation and images catchy. One can choose the model of the image depending on the requirement and comfort zone.
8. Review Carefully
Reviewing the document is necessary because it finds documentation errors. Experts can pinpoint any misleading information; so that a writer can edit it before it reaches the user. A good piece of the article must go through many review processes. So, one must be very careful while drafting the thoughts and facts into an article.
Self-review is the first review because it ensures gathered information is worth placing in the article. After several self-reviews, one can send the document for peer review to a subject matter expert who has authority in that subject. Technical writing vs. business writing includes review as a mandatory step to deliver high-quality content to the user.
The career path is not standard for technical writers because a technical writer can handle complex projects or a small team of writers and editors. Even a documentation manager can handle multiple projects and teams in a large group. Even a technical writer can become a Subject Matter Expert in a field he or she is working for a long time. Technical writers can join electronic media or printed media companies after gaining expertise in writing skills.
A technical writer can have the following skillsets to grow in the field of writing – Information Design, Information Architecture, Training Material Development, Illustration / Graphic Design, Website Design Management, Indexing, Localization or Technical Translation, User Interfaces, Business Analysis.
Though all mentioned skills are not mandatory, it’s good to have at least a few of them to compete with peers. A technical writer can apply his or her skills in non-technical content to write high-level consumer information. The technical writer must have good communication and interpersonal skills to write across a variety of genres and fields.
Technical writing vs. business writing – Skillsets again vary for Technical writers and Business writers. The technical writer poses technical skill sets to pursue with his or her career. The business writer focuses more on creative thinking and interpersonal communications.
Technical Writer Salary
What is the technical writer’s salary? A writer can earn a handsome amount by pursuing it as a career. The salary range may vary from a fresher to an experience in that field.
It is commercial writing. This type of piece is essential because it affects sales growth and revenue directly or indirectly. It is one of the ways to influence building brand identity. Public-facing documents make up a sizable portion of the writing. It also includes content that’s not public-facing, such as internal documentation and correspondence with other companies and regulatory agencies.
It includes Ads, Memos, Minutes, Proposals, White Papers, business cases, emails, reports, bids, and tenders, copywriting. Ads find leads and turn them into customers. They implement a few techniques to achieve the goal so that the advertisement should be appealing to the consumer’s expectations.
Memos are the internal documents that help to convey information to employees within the organization. They try to break down the complex information into a shorter message, such as using direct language and short paragraphs. It also contains calls to action. Minutes are proof of meetings. The purpose of the minutes is for the internal user. Sometimes the MOM is also required for regulatory reasons and may be subject to requests from outside agencies.
Proposals are an essential part of the business. This type of deal is remarkable pitches directed at business entities or internal divisions within an organization. They try to convince their audience to buy a good or service. They do promote/support an individual entity.
White Papers are high-level proposals. These documents are used for B2B marketing. They might be technical sometimes, but the goal of these documents is to align with corporate interests. It is specifically more business-oriented. White papers provide an overview of a given policy, product, or procedure.
Based on the objectives; this type of writing has been categorized into four types – Instructional, Informational, Persuasive, Transactional.
There is a day-to-day communication involvement at the workplace. The content that needs to be generated for daily basis communication is transactional business writing. The communications are by emails, official letters, forms, and invoices.
This type of writing is basically to influence the reader and their decisions. Persuasive business writing tries to convince the customer that a specific product, company, service, or relationship offers the best value. This type of writing is associated with marketing and sales. It also includes bulk sales, proposals, press releases, and emails.
Instructional business writing includes user manuals and memos that describe steps to follow to complete a task.
Informational business writing comprises documents that are essential for outlining plans, tracking growth, and complying with legal obligations. This type of writing ensures business information is accurate and consistent.
Clarity of thought and purpose
The purpose of the writing should be clear enough before stepping into the writing. The goal, objectives, vision should define a clear message that a reader wants to read. A structured and organized way of writing is a significant result in the reader’s mind.
Content writer needs to understand the significant content to write clearly. Clarity of thought and purpose is applicable for both Technical writing vs business writing contents.
Information should be relevant and accurate
Irrelevant and Inaccurate content affects the purpose of the intended document. Effective writing should contain information that is relevant and value-additive and complete. It is the primary goal of the writing is to provide valuable information to the intended user.
A simple writing style is the best way that communicate the message clearly to the reader. Acronyms, business-related terminologies can be understood only by business students or professionals. Hence, avoiding such difficult words can help any audience. Otherwise, the reader may lose interest because of a lack of user readability.
Draft and Edit
Once the content has been drafted, it’s time to review. The review can point out any flaws and errors in the document. Constructive feedback from the Subject Matter Experts is always needed to improvise the written document.
Practice is the primary key to get success in any field, and the same applies here. Through regular practice proficiency in Business, writing can be attained. Paying attention to the sentences, vocabulary, style of writing can help to develop good content over time.
Where to find jobs?
Technical writing vs. business writing gives an ample opportunity for full-time job holders as well as freelancers. Freelancers are independent and are not associated with any employer. The benefit of freelancing is flexibility, and you are your boss. You can choose your subject areas and clients to work with further.
With a growing market, there are many contracts available for experienced as well as new freelancers. Upwork, Fiverr, Freelancer, and many other freelancing sites are available to get a freelancing job. A few things that you need to remember in the freelancing field are commitment to meet the deadline, relationship with the client, and quality of the content. If a writer follows the basic rules to complete the task on time, freelancing is the best option to pursue the career.
Working in the industry
One can opt for a full-time job as a technical content writer or business content writer in an organization. In this scenario, full-time technical writers or full-time business writers work with subject matter experts in an organization to develop content in a range of required documents.
Companies prefer that full-time employees need to have required writing skills. The ability to communicate expertise in writing is desirable to employers. An employee who can bridge the gap between business and technical requirements is of great asset to the company. And companies are most likely to hire experts who have authority in subjects.
Technical writing vs. business writing – Industry is different for Technical writers and Business writers. So, they can choose the industry wisely based on their interest and demand for the type of work.
Content writers need to gain knowledge of the process, planning, writing, editing, publishing. Basic writings and processes are the same for Technical writing vs. business writing. The complete lifecycle should be known to him. One can spend time studying good articles, blogs, podcasts, white papers to get along with vocabulary, grammar, and the style they follow to write a piece of content.
Reading also helps to gain expertise in a particular area that can be reflected in the article a content writer is intended to produce. A good content writer should be a good reader and a good editor as well. Writing a few samples on daily basis and editing them often would ease the career path in the long run.
If content writing is new and someone wants to learn it, they can sign up for short-term courses. It provides sufficient and required information that a writer can start with the career. You can send your written document to your friends, colleagues who have the authority in that subject to review. It helps the writer to find out his errors and to improvise the content in the future.
Not to forget the digital marketing that promotes your work and creates more opportunities to grow in your career. Promote your work on social media. LinkedIn and other platforms are readily available for aspiring content writers to turn their interests into their professions. Plan, Research, Draft, Edit, and Edit till the content is not perfect for the client and practice to become a good content writer.
Great article. Thanks.