I get this question all the time. Or rather, they assume a technical writer is the same thing as a technical copywriter, which is not the case. We both communicate technical or specialized topics to an audience, such as writing about SaaS, medical procedures, or aviation regulations. We both communicate using technology, whether it’s a web page, social media tool, or help files. We both make information more usable and accessible to readers and advance the goals of the company or product we’re writing about.
Yet there’s a big difference between us.
What’s the difference between a technical copywriter and a technical writer?
The main difference is the purpose for writing the content. A technical writer aims to provide instructions on how to do something, while a technical copywriter aims to persuade and explain to readers a technical topic (instructions are not usually included.)
Think of it like this: A technical copywriter writes about the benefits of the tech product and how it’ll help overcome obstacles in your workday. A technical writer writes the procedure that tells you exactly how to use the functionality that will help you overcome those obstacles.
I spent the first decade & change of my career as a technical writer. That is, writing things that people never read.Julia Borgini jokes about her former career as a technical writer
Why hire a technical copywriter?
A technical copywriter has specialized knowledge and skills that will help you reveal the magic (or benefits) of your tech products to your market. She’ll write marketing materials like blog posts & articles, product descriptions and web pages, email newsletters & autoresponders, and case studies & stories, that’ll sell your tech products. She understands high-tech products and services like Saas, PaaS, software applications, and infrastructure & hardware products like servers & network storage, or professional services like enterprise application implementations.
These are specialized topics that require specialized knowledge or at least a specialized copywriter who is familiar with the environment, terminologies, and methodologies used by these companies to produce their products and services. A technical copywriter is someone with that specialized knowledge and can jump in right away to help you.
How I help my tech clients as a technical copywriter
Because I started out as a technical writer before transitioning to technical copywriter, I’m uniquely qualified to help you, B2B tech & SaaS clients. In my earlier life, I helped my clients support their products through help files and admin manuals. Now, I help them sell their products with web copy, blog posts & articles, white papers, eBooks, and repurposed marketing assets.
All that geeky experience means I understand what high-tech companies are talking about, and I’m able to translate this into engaging marketing copy. My clients don’t have to waste time explaining the technology behind their products to me, but instead, can trust me to write about their products & services correctly and efficiently. They know I can understand the features and extract the benefits from them. They like that I can translate their technical magic into plain language their prospects and customers understand.
The three main things I do for my tech clients
- ⌨️ Translate technical information into plain English for their audience.
- 👩💻 Apply principles of copywriting to that technical information. (Principles like Unique Selling Proposition [USP], web page layout, and lead generation)
- 🧍 Add the human element to their technical information. Surprisingly, a lot of technology companies forget that humans are the ones buying their products, and don’t always appeal to them.
Translate technical information
Technology companies have their own language when it comes to their products. It might be an industry-specific set of terminology or principles that apply to the programming language you use or a highly-specialized set of words you use when talking about your products and services. This sometimes makes it difficult for you to convey your USP to your prospects because it’s buried behind 15-syllable words or abstract concepts.
My love of computers is what lead me to become a technical writer in the first place. I understand these abstract and complex concepts. I worked inside technology companies for over 13 years, so I am familiar with different programming languages like Java and PHP. I’ve visited enterprise data centers and have written about racks, layouts, and admin topics for a variety of industries (finance, insurance, and gaming). I’ve worked late nights with the dev or QA team as they struggled to push out the latest release.
Combine it with copywriting flare
Often technical marketing materials are simply lists of product specifications that don’t give a clear indication of the product’s overall benefit to the customer. All of this geeky experience means I understand what high-tech companies are talking about, and I’m able to translate this into my marketing copy.
My clients don’t have to waste time explaining the technology behind their products to me but instead, can focus on the features and benefits of it. Then I take those features and benefits and write technical marketing materials for them that their prospects will understand.
As a technical copywriter, I am able to analyze the technical specifications of your product or service and find the benefits. So when you say:
- “Uses cloud computing to detect zero-day malware“, I write “Reduce the time it takes to detect malware.”
- “Decision support for adjusting workforce levels and optimizing sales mix“, I write “Our software reduces overhead costs through workforce staffing and schedule optimization for your stores.”
Add the human element
The final element I bring to my work as a technical copywriter is humanity. Technology workers often forget about the human aspect of our work, and copywriting is no different. Marketing materials must focus on the human, because after all, it is the human that will make the purchasing decision, and it’s the human that will take the final step to purchase your technology product or service.
In the B2B technology space, the larger the company, the more people involved in the purchasing decision. So your marketing materials should reflect that. Are you only two people away from a purchase, or 4 or 5? A technical copywriter can help you navigate those steps, as I am aware of the audience for the marketing materials. I can tailor them to help move your prospect along your sales pipeline, and ultimately change them from a prospect to a buyer. You still need to appeal to the prospect’s emotions, but they’re slightly different than in the B2C space.
B2B technology prospects want to look good to their bosses and make their workdays and the workdays of their colleagues better. So your marketing materials must be relevant and memorable enough to remain at the top of your prospect’s Will Call list. That means that when they’re ready to present an option to their bosses who will make that ultimate purchasing decision, they choose your product. If you’ve spoken to them correctly, and humanely, through your materials, they’re going to call you.
Take your tech marketing to the next level
Break away from the pack with more conversational and easy-to-understand marketing copy. A technical copywriter can weave your tech magic into that plain language so that all decision makers will respond to it. You’ll have more copy that speaks to every stage of the buying journey, reducing your monthly churn, increasing revenues, and making it easier to onboard and support your customers.
To find out more about how I can help you, visit my Services page. I look forward to working with you.