How can you tell a professional tech writer from a newbie? It is always easier to figure out what the pros should do than actually go into what they never do. This article will give you the right idea of a true techcomm pro. Use this guide to your benefit and get one step closer to achieving your goals.
- Professional tech writers don’t copy-paste
Surely, help authoring can be similar to working with lego blocks. A lot of times parts of content are repeated throughout a user manual.
Novice technical writers might think that copy-pasting is the right way to do this. But this approach has serious downsides — this doesn’t help further maintenance at all and it is time-consuming. Techcomm professionals prefer reusing content.
This is a go-to feature for modern software for technical writing. You can experience the benefits of reusing content by downloading a 30-day ClickHelp trial — it is free and has no limitations in terms of features.
Another thing about copy-pasting is it gets absolutely hideous when you need to make the tiniest changes in many places. Good technical writing requires optimization. Let’s imagine the name of a button changed in the new release — instead of going to each topic to manually change it, use the global find and replace functionality. It will save you a lot of trouble and guarantee that you don’t miss anything.
- Tech writers don’t rely on anything but facts
Although technical writers are writers indeed, they never approach their work based on intuition. Relying on facts and numbers is the only way for a pro. Understanding whether the contents hit the spot is done through analyzing feedback from the target audience, applying various readability metrics to technical texts.
- Professional tech writers don’t give up on their user manuals
This means that after you are done writing you still have a lot of work to do. Only when technical documentation reaches its readers you can truly understand how useful it is and figure out its flaws.
Of course, even at early planning stages, technical writers are trying to do their best to make a user manual effective. But you can’t make it perfect without putting it to the test — giving it to actual readers. When documentation is published, it is time to gather feedback, analyze it, and take action!
- Professional tech writers don’t stop learning
Even if you feel like your hands-on experience in technical writing has been enough and you are now quite confident with creating help topics — don’t let this fool you. True techcomm specialists never stop learning. Technical writing is a quickly evolving industry and you don’t want to miss out on great new stuff that comes up.
Professional technical writers love self-development. There are different ways to do it: books, articles, online courses, meetups and conferences, communities and forums. You can pick the ones you like and stick to them. But do not stop learning!
To conclude all this — to become a good technical writer, one needs to consider many things. Being a techcomm pro is not a destination, it is always a journey.
With posts like this, we are hoping to give you the right tools and enable you to succeed in becoming a great tech writer!
Good luck with your technical writing!
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ClickHelp – Professional Online Technical Writing Tool. Check it out: https://clickhelp.com/online-documentation-tool/