Need documentation for your latest software release? A programming tutorial that explains how to use your product? Or how about a think piece for your blog to draw new users to your website? No matter which of these you’re looking for, chances are that you’ll start looking to hire a technical writer online — and you will likely land on freelance platforms like Fiverr, Upwork, or Guru.
Wizard on Demand, our technical content production company, takes technical writing to the next level. Our highly skilled technical writers are embedded in a content production workflow that’s tailored to technical audiences. We routinely produce content that is not only relevant to our clients’ audience but also SEO-aware, proofread, and fact-checked from beginning to the end. By working with us, you’ll get a polished product that’s ready for publishing, rather than just a draft.
Before we talk about our content production process in more detail, let’s briefly recap why good content is so important in today’s world of tech.
Technical content as a demand-generation engine
A technical blog can do so much more than simply explain your product: it can generate demand, create awareness of a new product or service, position you as a thought leader in your industry, and make you stand out from your competitors. That’s why more and more companies are looking to invest in content production.
Note that this is not about selling the product — at least not primarily. We are all constantly bombarded with messaging about which cool thing to buy next and hence have our own inbuilt ad filters activated in order to survive. So readers are unlikely to remember your product pitch — but a blog post that explains a complex concept from, say, AI or parallel computing in vivid, accessible language, and with interesting examples to back it up? Now that is something to remember.
Quick fixes that (sadly) don’t work
Companies have understood the need for good content, and we have seen many try to react to it by creating their own blogs. However, marketing leaders sometimes underestimate the resources it takes to come up with actually great technical content, and so the process for many companies ends up looking like the following.
First attempt: turn your devs into writers
Typically, the first content writers at a company are the engineers themselves. Someone from your dev team has implemented a cool new feature that your users will love? Why not let that person write about it — they’re the one who knows it best! There are a couple of obvious problems with this approach, and some less obvious ones.
The first caveat to turning engineers into writers is, of course, that most engineers are not writers — nor should they be. Without training, many people find it especially hard to come up with a narrative arc around the core topic of their piece — but structure is vital if you want readers to stick around until the end.
Secondly, being intimately acquainted with a product can actually make for very bad writing. Without a healthy distance from the product, engineers won’t know what their readers’ pain points might be: which aspects they may find hard to understand, or where a concrete example is needed. On the flip side, an engineer may be unduly focused on a relatively minor technical aspect, maybe because it was especially hard to implement, or because it’s a personal favorite: a particular case of having to “kill one’s darlings.”
Finally, writing requires time, calm, and the right headspace — especially if you’re not doing it regularly. But engineers on your team will probably be busy developing the product, and will only be able to cram in an hour here or there dedicated to writing, reviewing, and weeding out any mistakes from the draft.
So to summarize, if a company decides to delegate its content production to its engineers, the result is too often open-ended deadlines and unstructured, unreadable pieces that aren’t very likely to engage existing users, not to mention attract new folks to the product.
Second attempt: hire an individual technical writer
At this point, marketing leaders often decide to outsource their content production, and start looking for suitable technical writers online, from freelancers to, occasionally, full-time candidates. Using the platforms mentioned earlier, they may be lucky enough to find writers with proficiency in their particular corner of tech.
These technical writers will likely have a much better grasp of how to do a writeup of a technical topic. Granted, if they’re unfamiliar with your product, they’ll need some time to learn it before they can write about it with confidence. But if they’ve been doing this job for a while, they’ll have a routine in place to come up with the structure, terminology, and storytelling that can engage a wider audience.
That’s a big step toward a better version of your piece of technical content. But it’s still far from the final product: the written draft needs to be reviewed for accuracy by a fresh pair of eyes. Otherwise buggy code examples or other technical errors may remain undetected — a big no-go for technical content. The article will also hugely benefit from a professional editor who can weed out unclear references, confusing or redundant structuring, or obscure jargon words.
Let’s say you’ve found people for all of these roles and they present you with an insightful, polished article for your blog. Great! But remember that even if your blog is full of nuggets of wisdom and unique perspectives, it still needs to attract readers — and with all the content that’s out there, that can be a difficult feat.
If you want to let your blog unfold its full potential, you need a marketing strategy and at least some awareness of how to use SEO for your purposes. Illustrations can help propel your content to the top — but readers have come to expect a higher level of quality than just Excalidraw sketches. So, at this point, you may decide that you want to start looking for illustrators and a marketing agency.
The solution: hire a technical content agency
Most of the companies who come to us to talk about content production are at the point where they realize that simply hiring a writer is not enough. Rather than searching for writers, editors, illustrators, and marketers separately, they decide to hire an agency that takes the burden of content production off their shoulders entirely.
We are often confronted with the legacy of this “content production evolution”: many clients come to us with ideas for blog posts, half-baked drafts, or even content that is already live on their website, but that isn’t quite yielding the results they were hoping for. That’s why we often spend some time not only producing new content for new clients, but also revising and retroactively fitting their existing blog posts into a comprehensive, data-driven content strategy.
Why hiring a technical writing agency will bring you results faster
There’s a reason why good technical content is rare online: it’s hard to do! At Wizard on Demand, we’re obsessed with producing content that people want to read and that adds value both to your users and to your business. As a result, we’re constantly trying to identify the characteristics that make for great technical writing — and we believe that the following points play a large role in why we’re continuing to produce customized, results-oriented content for our clients.
1. Our expertise in different areas of tech
Machine learning, front-end development, data engineering: our writers have a diverse range of backgrounds. What unites all of them is their love for tech and the desire to apply their knowledge in content production. Plus, at Wizard on Demand we make a point of requiring technical understanding from our editors, illustrators, and SEO experts, too. That’s because, as a developer-focused company, we’ve found that it's highly conducive to content that captures the nuances of technical topics down to the tiniest detail.
2. Our well-coordinated team
When people begin to work in teams, they often need some time before they can produce great results together. That’s because everyone is different, and knowing each other’s strengths and weaknesses can go a long way to “making the dream work.” At Wizard on Demand, we know who likes to work evenings, who prefers video calls to long chats, and who always hands in their part at the last minute. We also have measures in place for when a team member needs help or feels overworked — when everyone feels good about their work, that makes for better content, of course, and for a healthier work environment.
3. Our process for content production
Outline an article, write the draft, and you’re done? Not so fast! At Wizard on Demand, we’re proud of our iterative writing process, which ensures that we deliver the best results to our clients. Here, we present some highlights of the process — you’ll be surprised to see how many of them have nothing to do with writing at all!
Our SEO strategist, together with the writer, devises a strategy around relevant keywords. It isn’t enough to identify high-volume keywords — rather, these should be the starting point for an informative and thought-provoking article.
We may conduct client interviews at this point to understand your audience better. What are their pain points? Where do they go to learn more about certain topics? What are they hoping to see more of? We either let you recommend the interview partners, or find them on appropriate platforms.
Every draft is reviewed for technical accuracy before it goes to editing. The technical reviewer typically has expertise in the field or with the format they’re reviewing.
Our editor polishes the language, fixes any unclear or ambiguous wording, ensures compliance with the style guide, and checks that the SEO strategy has been implemented.
Our illustrator transforms the writers’ sketches into high-quality images in your style and with your branding. This is a feature highly appreciated by audiences as well as search engines.
Especially important for time-sensitive projects: our project manager sends updates, schedules follow-up interviews, and makes sure everything is ready on time.
We stay on it — even after publishing
Have you taken a different direction in terms of messaging or audience? Has the terminology around your product changed? We make sure your blog stays relevant by monitoring the performance of your content even months after it was published.
When it’s better to hire a freelancer than an agency
We’ve made a strong case for hiring an agency over individual freelancers. And while we believe that most companies benefit greatly from a full end-to-end technical content service, there are times when you can do with less. Here’s when it’s perfectly sufficient to hire a technical writer from one of the freelance platforms:
- When you have sufficient time to review CVs and interview multiple candidates.
- When you already have a solid process for technical writing in place and are ready to “plug” the new person right into that process.
- When you have an SEO strategy in place and it’s already working for you.
- When you know your audience well.
- When you have other team members who can help the writer with technical reviews, editing, and illustrations.
Hire an agency for faster results
As a busy marketing professional, your time and resources are precious. While hiring a single writer may be a quick and easy fix in a few cases, a complete content strategy requires you to build your own full-fledged technical content marketing team. The faster solution? Hire an agency instead:
- If you need specific results, such as qualified leads, signups, or increasing customer satisfaction scores, and you need them fast.
- If you don’t have a lot of time to review CVs or conduct interviews.
- If you don’t yet have a solid process for technical writing, and you aren’t sure how exactly you would get a new technical writer up to speed.
- If you don’t yet have a strategy or a plan in place and need input on it from someone experienced in the field.
- If you’re looking to refine the understanding of your target audience through independent insights.
- If your team is too busy to take on the supporting tasks for technical writing.
Book a meeting today
Book a meeting with us to discuss your needs further and find out how we can help you with your technical content writing strategy. We’re happy to tell you more about how we work and answer any questions you might have.