Why You Need a Professional Technical Writer

by Todd A. Phillips, published 17 September 2012, updated 3 December 2014

We’ve all experienced it at some point in our lives: we write something and think we’ve done well, but readers just don’t seem to understand what we thought was perfectly clear. Many folks eventually learn how to suppress the bad habits and bring out the good, but it takes work to write well. Even professional writers struggle with this problem from time to time. The difference is that a professional writer practices their craft to eliminate the habits that bother readers most.

A technical writer hones their craft until it becomes a reliable tool that can translate the most difficult concept into content that illuminates new horizons for the reader. Imagine being a new computer user trying to understand the nuances of efficiently querying a SQL database. You could ask a friend who happens to be a database whiz, but the chance of that person providing an answer that you can not only understand but take action on is slight. A technical writer learns the information from a subject matter expert and then writes it down in terms that the reader can internalize. When this is done properly, the reader doesn’t even notice the writing; they feel they are communicating directly with the experts but in a way they completely understand.

Professional writers and editors make you and your company look better, and help your customer to fully appreciate the quality of your products. A good technical writer will save you money in support costs. If the help manual actually helps the customer to fully understand the product they won’t need to call your support lines. This saves the customer time and frustration, and fewer support calls means substantial savings in the call center. There’s nothing better than happy customers.

What PSNT Can Do for You

I've worked as a technical writer since I started writing Knowledge Base articles while I worked for Microsoft supporting Windows back in 1994. There were times that my job title didn't include 'technical writer' but even then I was writing technical material for my clients. My job title has been one form or another of 'technical writer' ever since I accepted a poisition with the Windows Application Compatibility and Experience group in 2001. I now have over 18 years of experience writing and editing for a technical audience. My focus has been on system engineers and IT professionals with occasional forays into developer-centric writing such as API documentation.

I bring all of this experience with me on every project.

Some of the skills I bring to the table include:

  • Technical writing
  • Technical editing
  • Web development
  • Public speaking and presentation
  • Project management
  • Team leadership and management

The development tools and languages I use:

  • MadCap Flare
  • Adobe Framemaker
  • Microsoft Word
  • Languages:
    • HTML
    • XML
    • CSS
    • Javascript
    • JQuery
  • Adobe Brackets
  • Notepad++
  • CloudForge