A debate has been going around in writing circles about whether it is better for freelance copywriters to pursue a generalist path (any project, any industry) or a specialist path (selected projects and industries).
But for marcom managers, the question remains: "What kind of copywriter is right for my projects?"
For technology marketing, there's no doubt you will be best served by someone who truly qualifies as a technical copywriter, offering specific types of knowledge, skills, and experience. Among the reasons: The complexity of technical subject matter, the ever-evolving vocabulary, and the ability to avoid wasting the very expensive time of technical experts on educating generalist writers and revising their incomplete, off-base drafts.
So which factors distinguish a good technical copywriter? And what differences can they make for your sales materials?
- Understands technical marketing. Selling a technology product or service is decidedly different than other B2B or B2C marketing. For example, a technical copywriter will know the sales process, decision factors, and concerns of the many buyers--both technical and business focused--who are involved in a technology purchase. You will notice the difference in promotional text that is more specific and authoritative, rather than simply filled the with the latest trendy buzzwords.
- Gains respect from subject-matter experts (SMEs). A technical copywriter can work effectively with engineers and other SMEs to get the right input for a document, without wasting their time on very basic explanations or inappropriate tangents.
- Knows your target audiences. By focusing on technology markets, a technical copywriter can bring insights about your prospects and competitive situation that improve the focus and impact of your white papers, case studies, product brochures, and other sales materials.
- Identifies the best ways to present technical content. Product architectures, potential applications, return on investment (ROI) analyses, and selection guides are among the content types that are often better presented as structured text or visuals instead of in essay-style narrative. Most generalist copy writers have not been trained in the techniques of structured content, infographics, and multimedia. In contrast, a technical copywriter reflexively evaluates and chooses among these techniques to make the clearest, most engaging presentation of complex technical topics.
Looking beyond these factors, you may want to find a writer who has experience in your particular technology or knowledge of certain customer industries. With search engines and community sites such as LinkedIn, it's now easier to find freelance and employee writers who can bring this specific value immediately to your projects. There is no need anymore to settle for "I hope they'll be good enough" candidates.