How Technical Writers Fit into the Marketing Mix


The notion that art and science are contrary pursuits is a commonly held myth. Many people believe that one is either a logical, rational thinker or an inspired artistic talent, depending on which side of the brain is more dominant. This supposed dichotomy is also reflected in the way products are launched: The creation of operating manuals, user documentation, and similar materials typically falls to a technical writer while marketing content is handled by copywriters of a more creative stripe.

However, this division of labor doesn’t necessarily benefit the consumer, and it isn’t a very efficient approach for companies, either. Instead, they should try to bridge the gap that often exists between technical writing and marketing in order to pool their resources and tap into related synergies. Collaborating more closely in these areas also aids in designing more effective marketing copy and more user-friendly technical documentation.


What’s the difference between technical communication and copywriting?

While technical documentation and marketing texts are both geared toward consumers, each has to meet the varying expectations of different target groups:

  • Customers (or anyone who makes purchasing decisions):
    To appeal to this group, you need creative content that clearly demonstrates the added value of your product or service and gives people a positive feeling about it. This is traditionally a job for copywriters and other marketing specialists.
  • Users of products or services: These readers want to obtain technical information in a clear, precise format that enables them to get started as quickly as possible. Technical writers have a knack for explaining complex operating structures in ways that are easy to understand.

While technical communications are created for a narrowly defined user group with particular needs, copywriters often produce content for a diverse target audience. The style favored for these types of material differs accordingly:

  • Technical documentation is clear, concise, and logical. It therefore features short sentences, simple words, and uniform terminology.
  • Good marketing and advertising copy is vivid and dynamic. Using longer sentences and illustrative language, it seeks to establish an emotional connection with the reader.


How technical writers and copywriters complement one another

If you’re looking to implement a more efficient content strategy, you should rethink the traditional line between these two domains. Marketing copy and technical documentation can actually enhance one another in very persuasive ways.

Consider this example:

A manufacturer of wireless doorbells commissions a technical writer to create an operating manual for one of its new models. The writer proceeds to compile a clinical, factually accurate guide that is then included with every purchase.

After buying one of these doorbells, a customer takes a look at the user manual but loses interest after the first few sentences and decides to install the doorbell on their own. They unwittingly make a mistake in the process, however, and the bell doesn’t work. Disappointed, they contact the manufacturer’s customer support department. The situation results in a frustrated customer and unnecessary costs for the seller.

Consumers’ expectations for a given product are the highest when they find themselves alone with it for the first time. Companies can use this phase to shape the perception of their brand with compelling content and establish closer ties with customers.

Now, let’s rewind the above scenario and have the technical writer collaborate on the doorbell manual with a professional copywriter. A marketing expert like this can provide creative input to give the guide a bit more pep and make it more appealing to the reader. Meanwhile, the technical writer is there to make sure all the facts and terminology are correct. Together, they come up with a manual that actually encourages users to read it all the way through.

When marketing specialists and technical writers work hand in hand, they can highlight the value of a product in a way that’s both practical and user-oriented. This makes a user manual (for example) a key component of the marketing mix. After all, it’s also a form of advertising that’s sure to reach the customer directly.

In this ideal scenario, the company in question has both in-house technical writers and an internal marketing department. But many small and medium-sized firms have their technical documentation and marketing copy created by external service providers, and they usually aren’t the same agency.

This can lead to problems: When the writers need to have complex processes explained by technical experts, for instance, there are often delays, and key information can get lost. Holding separate briefings for writers in different organizations also entails more effort and higher associated costs. And finally, there’s always the risk that writers will come up with content that sounds great but happens to be complete nonsense from a technical point of view.


How both sides benefit 

A collaborative effort between these two realms doesn’t just benefit the technical side, either. A copywriter who understands the technology behind complex products can also create more convincing marketing material. Once they have been trained to do so, technical writers can influence the marketing process by advocating for the user’s perspective, as well.

The advantages of a cooperative approach are clear:

  • Faster, more efficient content creation
  • Less friction between the two sides
  • Opportunities to enhance marketing copy with practical use cases
  • User documentation that serves as a marketing tool

If you don’t have the option to create such content yourself, it’s definitely a good idea to find a service provider that specializes in both technical documentation and marketing copy. You’ve already come to the right place in Lexsys: Our growing team of experienced marketing experts and technical writers will work side by side to ensure that all the material they produce meets (or even surpasses) your high expectations.

We’d be thrilled to be your one-stop shop for everything from technical marketing to technical translations. The specialists at Lexsys have many years of combined experience in both technical writing and text production in general. Why not take advantage of these valuable synergies yourself?

If you’d like to learn more about how Lexsys can assist you in creating both technical and creative content, get in touch with us today to set up a consultation.


About the Author

David Hegarty

Senior Technical Writer and Content Creator

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