Writing seems easy – after all, anyone can write. However, not everyone can express thoughts with the help of text and achieve their desired effect.
While the ability to write is nothing special, it is not necessarily easy to achieve your goal with text. The content can be uninteresting, chaotic, or wander around the topic without creating an understanding of its original idea.
Who is a technical writer?
A technical writer or Techwriter for short is a person who translates technology into the language of the end-user. It’s a great job for communicative people with a good command of foreign languages.
What is technical writing?
When writing any text, we follow the rules of spelling, the basic principles of which are taught to us from our early youth.
Technical text – which can be bristling with mathematical formulas, numbers, unit symbols, and symbols of physical quantities, which are usually provided with pointers (usually lower right), containing numerous abbreviations and acronyms – is safe to say, goes beyond the scope of traditional spelling.
Also, rather than targeting unaware audiences which would be the common scenario for most copywriters, technical copywriters write for a reader who is equally, and often even more familiar with the subject than the copywriter himself or herself.
Because of that, each step in the technical writing document must be carefully considered, as one small factual error may expose the author to severe criticism from the industry community or other people familiar with the subject.
Therefore, technical copywriting and technological copywriting seems to be the occupation reserved for the most experienced writers.
Before you seriously google “Technical Writer” and apply for a specific technical writing position, first look inward and think carefully about whether writing technical documentation is for you.
I would read how others do it and analyze some technical writing portfolios to make sure you know the insights of the technical writing job and the specific writing skills and features you need to have.
Think about which of the below technical writing skills you already have and which you should still work on acquiring.
Technical Writing Skills
1. Clear and Concise writing
It’s easy to get lost in the middle of industry vocabulary and complicated definitions. When it comes to technical writing, it’s fundamental to keep the text clear, concise, and easy to read. The too promiscuous and complicated form makes the text illegible.
2. Research and analytical skills
Research and analytical skills are perhaps the most important trait of a technical copywriter.
Of course, all copywriting specialties require some degree of information gathering, but it can be fairly said that technical copywriting and technological copywriting need a more advanced level of so-called research and material analysis.
Often, technical copywriting requires specialist knowledge preceded by an appropriate academic degree.
3. Communication: understanding the audience
You can have the necessary technical knowledge and be a master in your field, but if you don’t have the ability to transfer knowledge clearly, then technical writing might not be for you.
In addition to having a clear style, understanding your audience is key to good communication. For example, writing articles for people with no knowledge of the subject requires a completely different approach than writing for experts.
4. Maintaining an interesting technical text
It’s easy to make a technical text boring and monotonous. The reader will rush at breakneck speed, as long as his torment ends as soon as possible, and this is not the point.
It is especially easy to fall into the trap of boredom in technical copywriting because such texts contain a lot of detailed information.
The best technical copywriters have an instinct that makes them find the golden mean between the detail of the text and its curiosity and reader-friendly form. There are many ways to do this.
For example, you can:
- Focus on the benefits of your services or products
- Include usage examples in user manuals
- Discuss why the reader needs your product
- Keep the text in a concise, clear, and well-presented form
5. Technical Knowledge
As a technical writer, one must have at least a basic understanding of the field they are writing about.
More complex technical writing documents require more knowledge. Not mention the specific industry vocabulary.
Most technical copywriters have extensive experience in their chosen field (thanks to a previous career or education).
The best advice for those just starting is to build your portfolio slowly and carefully. It is worth being a bit picky in the projects undertaken. They can make a big difference in future ventures.
As you can see technical copywriters face a unique challenge. Providing products and services that are easy to understand, yet attractive to readers.
This requires the person writing the technical text to combine two different fields – knowledge and technical and technological talent with writing skills and an appropriate linguistic workshop.
It is difficult to find such a combination, and the consequence of combining these fields is the fact that good technical writers enjoy great popularity and money.
Forms of Technical Writing
Technical writers’ skills are used to complement a wide range of copywriting services, including:
- Expert, information, and advisory articles
- How-to guides and instruction manuals
- Marketing materials
- Case studies and white papers
- Specialized descriptions of devices, machines, and tools
- Legal documents
- Press releases
10 Examples of Great Technical Writing Portfolios
For a great reference on what strong technical writing documents look like, take a look at these examples:
1. Janette Marie Novack
This is a great example of a clean and efficient portfolio with several categories.
Janette shows off a good variety of copywriting samples she has at her disposal. It is very much focused on a straightforward approach that will help you out when looking for a more pragmatic, serious-minded customer.
2. Rolando Montecalvo
This portfolio shows extreme versatility, wide-ranging interests, and the ability to find the right tone for every audience.
It has a very strong bio and a great range of projects. Take a note of the tone you use in your bio, as it should be reflective of the work you’re looking to land. This one is also hosted on a customizable portfolio website which will definitely take out the hustle of creating your website.
3. Elise Dopson
Ellie, a freelance writer for B2B SaaS companies, writes fresh sales/marketing blog posts for B2B SaaS companies like HubSpot, CXL, CoSchedule, Databox, Wix, and more.
Right from the start, Elise shows that she has worked with some of the biggest SaaS brands and media sites.
Her portfolio is 100% tailored to her clients’ needs and focuses on highlighting client relationships to maximize authority.
Throughout the website, one can see the emphasis on creating content for B2B brands to increase organic traffic, generate thousands of social shares, gain more sign-ups, and paying customers.
4. John Espirian
Looking at this portfolio, as a potential client, I’d be immediately drawn to it.
The web design is very clear and to the point and the visuals pleasing. I think he does great work “selling” his services by immediately answering the customer’s questions in the section “Why bother hiring a writer?”
5. Wendy Holland
This portfolio takes a formal tone, with sections that are centered around Wendy’s services and results.
Take a note of the or example, if you’re a humor columnist, your bio might be lighthearted and use playful language. If you’re a PR professional, you might take a more conservative approach, and so on.
6. Katelyn Petty
Another very clean and minimalistic design which I enjoy, the portfolio highlights all the most important sections such as the sample categories and her areas of expertise.
What I like about this one is the chat section which allows the client to ask any questions they may have.
7. Samar Owais
I love how visually pleasing her website is, from the look of it I can tell she knows how to convert and why she would be perfect for more technical writing.
She sells her skills very directly and the customer instantly knows what they’re getting into.
8. Enlighten Writing
Mahesh has organized its portfolio into clear sections with company logos and thumbnails in each of them to add credibility.
He also included testimonials which I think makes all the difference to the potential client
9. Megan Nye
She instantly highlights “killer content for your financial business.”
I love how clear and direct she is for potential clients.
10. Stray Goat Writing Services
Owned by Craig a technical writer based in Derbyshire, UK.
He tells a prospect what he does and his website makes it clear what his services are not only technical but can deal with all sorts of content problems. I also like that he included testimonials
It’s not necessary to add all your work to the portfolio. Choose only the most interesting ones, improving your image in the eyes of a potential client. Sometimes it’s even better to add fewer but more impressive technical writing documents to your portfolio. Otherwise, they may get lost in the rest of your work.
Now that you’ve seen some great examples of technical writing portfolios to draw inspiration from, now is the time to consider where to host it and start adding your work!