Home Entrepreneur 7 Convincing Technical Content Writing Rules

7 Convincing Technical Content Writing Rules

February 5, 2020

6 minutes of reading

Comments expressed by Businessmen the contributors are their own.

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Lots of B2B marketing or promoting technical products, selling to a technical audience, or both. The nature of these marketing campaigns poses a challenge for those who have to create them as the marketers tasked with executing these campaigns often lack a technical background. As a result, they may have a hard time learning and have difficulty understanding what they are selling and who they are selling.

I used to copy to sell engineering products to engineers, scientists, programmers and other technologists for more than four decades. Here are seven trading tips that will give me an edge in client-pleasing and convincing leads:

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first. Build an accurate “data bank”. Fact Bank is a series of product description statements and product features that have been checked by a technical expert. Before I started writing my copy, I went through the source documentation for the project and wrote out 5 to 10 sentences that accurately describe the product, how it works, its key features, and how those features translate. into important benefits. I email these statements to my clients asking them to review them and make any necessary corrections, additions or deletions. After they do that, I incorporate their edits. I now have a set of pre-approved sentences that I can use to build my copy and I know what I’m writing is technically correct. The client will then receive a first draft of a successful, accurate, and highly technical topic.

2. Buy a children’s book on the subject. If you have to write a copy of a technical topic, buy a children’s book on the subject or a non-fiction adult book aimed at the casual audience. For example, when I had to clone for an aerospace contractor, I was supported by a book by Isaac Asimov for a young reader about satellites. In particular, children’s books provide clear, easy-to-understand explanations of key terms and concepts. The adult book will likely have descriptions of features and functions that you could interpret in your own copy. (If I “borrow” the book, I would warn clients by adding footnotes and make sure I don’t plagiarize by repeating my own words.) Another good buy for tech copywriters. High is a dictionary of terms in the industry. At many times, I owned dictionaries for computers, telecommunications, banking, finance, and aerospace.

3. Ask client for copies of PowerPoints. Engineers in particular tend to be visually oriented, so it’s a good idea to have an image accompanying your text. Instead of drawing a lot of charts and graphs, I ask clients to provide the PowerPoint copies used by their technical and sales staff in their presentations. I then paste in my copy whatever images I think will work best, carefully noting the name of the PowerPoint and the page number from the source. Sometimes I find an ideal diagram to illustrate my point on a non-client website. If I use it, I add a note explaining that it is for reference only and must be redrawn to avoid piracy.

4. Understand that meaningful. Unless you understand what a chart or graph means, don’t use it. It’s a shame to cut and paste a diagram from a client’s PowerPoint into your copy, just to not be able to explain to the client why you used it. It’s a good idea to understand each image so you can write a clear, descriptive caption for it – and then do so.

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5. Use email to interview. I often interview subject experts (SMEs) over the phone when writing articles. But sometimes I come across SMEs that don’t do well with words. In those cases, I suggest emailing them questions so they can email their responses. Usually, technical people who can’t speak English well can write well – perhaps as a result of the proliferation of emails, which forces people to write frequently. Occasionally, the reply emails were so clear that I could almost paste them right into my copy. If the answer is still unclear, I rewrite it in plain English and then email it back to SME for review. Usually, the SME makes a few minor tweaks and then, it’s ready to go.

6. Use – careful. You cannot rely entirely on information on Wikipedia as it is correct because it was compiled by volunteers. However, I find that entries for technical terms often begin with a simple English definition of the term, which can be invaluable. But when you’re researching stats to enhance your replication – for example, the day lasers were invented or the speed of sound in a vacuum – most customers want a better source than Wikipedia. Websites are bad when you don’t know who’s running them, and so are blogs. I love quoting an article from an established industry or scientific journal.

7. Become smart. If you regularly write about a product or technology, you should learn more about this topic. An advertising agency president told me that he had appointed an account executive to handle an industrial welding account. His own account, the account CEO who took night courses in welding, eventually became a certified welder. Smart move!

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