How to hire a professional writer and where to find them
Technical Writers are important to all kinds of organizations. When you’ve updated your software, you will need a writer with a technical background to communicate that change to the users. If you want to market something new, share what charities your company now supports, or ask that readers opt-in or engage with a product or service, you need a writer.
Do YOU need a technical writer?
Yes, everyone should have one (or more). Writers lessen your workload!
You will have one fewer email, schedule meeting or project plan follow-up to communicate if you have a writer to help you and your team. Everyone could have access to meeting notes and company content documents through your internal website or wiki, if you had a writer to pull that information together.
A technical writer contractor can be bridge between project managers, engineers, and management and even those outside your organization. Writers can convey what your product does to the public, customers and stakeholders and help them to understand your business.
Professional writers can handle projects almost interchangeably because the skills start with basic English and grammar rules and expand from there. Writers know to how to ask questions and listen to the answers; they are exceptional at research and notetaking and are able to empathize with their audience.
For specific projects or when you need your users to understand how your products work and how they can best be used, technical writers can quickly learn the complexities of your systems then get the documentation to users.
Consider a few questions to ask: Do I need to convey how my products work? Do I need more comprehensive advertising? How can I get the message out about the good work my company does to create a more favorable public image?
So, do you need a technical writer? Yes, having a professional writer work with your organization will lessen your workload.
Where can you find them?
https://www.linkedin.com/jobs/You can find them by creating specific, targeted job description. Consider sites like Indeed (indeed.com), Virtual Vocations , Flexjobs, LinkedIn and even Facebook. Sites like Upwork and Fivrr are also good sites.
In your job description, ask the prospect to write something for you and include an email address. Have them answer specific questions (for example: What do you know about writing marketing video scripts? Give me 2 topics and a short description for each one. Or, what do you know about our open source software? Write a 1-page Getting Started Guide).
Yes, you may be bombarded by emails, but then again you may have an excellent candidate pool from which to choose.
Most writers will have websites which will showcase the type of work they do and writing samples. These are the best writers to find. Also, any with testimonials and a blog on their site will help you decide what type of writing they do and how best they can fit into your organization.
Note: Writers are not always able to share their past work as it may be proprietary to a previous client.
What not to do when hiring (and I’ve seen this firsthand!) do not approach the writers with unrealistic writing “tests” which included 500-page workbooks that require non-specific instructions like “edit this within 48 hours” (I wish I was kidding). Having a reasonable writing request means that you understand what you need from the writers and what their job will entail. The writers are interviewing your company too and though we are accustomed to learning quickly and producing quality work on the fly, consider the image you’re projecting with your “test tasks.” Understanding what you need from a writer will only help them get your copy, content and documentation to the customers quickly and efficiently.
Once you have a writer as a member of your team, you need to have an onboarding process and a communication plan.
The onboarding process should include access to:
- Templates and style guides so that all of the documents, content and copy for your company is uniform.
- Wiki, website or cloud storage so they have a place to share any published work with team members or clients
- Business processes for specific guidelines to how your company does business
Work with the new writer to create a communication plan that details:
- Preferred methods of contact – Video conference, Slack, Teams, text or email, etc.
- Names and contact information for subject matter experts and key personnel
- What hours are appropriate and within what timeframe can you expect a response (for example, email will be answered within 1 hour between 9am and 3pm, Monday – Friday)
Depending on your organization and the type of work you do, a writer can improve your business processes, bring more traffic to your website, increase your company’s income, help your users understand the products better and reduce customer support calls.
After you consider what you would like to improve in your business, do you want to find a writer who can help you achieve your goals?