Working with a technical writing company is an important part of streamlining your strategic communications plan. Any technical writing for your organization, from instruction manuals to video tutorials, need to reflect your mission, vision, and tone.
You want to make sure that you are working with a technical writing expert that understands how your organization operates and can create documentation that reflects that. Additionally, there are steps you can take to make the relationship between your organization and your technical writing company flow smoothly.
1. Provide a Clear Audience Description
For your technical writing company to write in a way that makes sense for your audience, they first need to know who that audience is. Are they writing for your internal team? Is the documentation for experts in your field or people just starting out?
Whatever the case may be, you should provide a written description of your typical audience. It may help to provide personas, typical reading levels, and education levels.
2. Supply a Style Guide
Every organization should have a brand guide or a style guide that outlines what the company’s tone and writing style are. It should also include information about design and layout, especially if your technical writing company also offers graphic design services for your documentation.
3. Educate on the Topic at Hand
Technical writers need to know more about the topic of the documentation than the audience does. Observing a process and understanding why it is executed the way that it is, can help technical writers write at the proper level.
One thing to note, though, is that you may not want to over-educate. Too much information can make it just as hard to create an easy-to-follow document as too little information.
4. Define the Project Objectives
Whenever you start any project, you always want to define your ultimate goal. Technical writing is no different. Why are you having this document created? What is it supposed to streamline for your organization? Providing this information to your writer gives them useful insight into your organization and how their work impacts it.
5. Be Prepared to Provide Revisions
It is rare for any document to be 100 percent accurate on the first draft. In fact, it is almost unheard of, especially if you are working with a consultant. They only know your business and your processes, as well as you tell them.
Work closely with your technical writer to provide revisions and let them know why the revisions are necessary. That way, they can learn for the next time you work together.
6. Test the Documents
The best way to ensure the accuracy of your documents is to try them yourself or have members of your target audience test them. They know best what works and what does not, making it easy for them to spot mistakes, missing pieces of a process, or cumbersome directions.
7. Trust Your Technical Writing Company
Always work with a company that you trust. Once you provide the information they need (and take the steps above), hand the reins over to them. This is their bread and butter. Sit back and focus on your business, while they take care of the documentation.
Applied Development provides technical writing services as part of our strategic communications support. If you have questions about working with a technical writing company or need documentation, give us a call today at 410.571.4016. You can also contact us online right here!