When we think of technical writing, most of us think of end-user documentation. However, technical writers have skills that can be leveraged inside the company as well. By acting as a communications service for other departments, technical writers can build a reputation for quality work and contribute to the bottom line.
What does this mean for you?
A lot, actually.
Greater respect from coworkers - You'll spend less time explaining what exactly you do, and justifying your existence to the powers-that-be.
Awareness of recent changes - You'll have deeper involvement in projects from other departments. This can mean earlier notification of changes that will impact the documentation.
Increased product knowledge - Through increased interaction with developers and engineers, you'll have more water-cooler discussions about how products function currently, as well as any enhancements being developed.
Networking opportunities - More cross-department projects leads to greater entrenchment within your company and opportunities for advancement. (And more invitations to food events!)
New skills - Inside projects often require skills that you may not get to exercise when working on end-user documentation.
How to get involved
Here are several ways technical writers can add to the efficiency and profits of an organization.
- Reviewing the content produced by other departments for technical accuracy. Marketing materials, executive presentations, policy and procedures manuals, and similar documents can always benefit from a thorough review.
- Assisting web developers with information architecture and taxonomy issues. For example, is the corporate website well-structured?
- Q&A and related product testing. Technical writers are great at looking at the product from a user's perspective.
- Developing case studies and assisting with specs.
- Creating scripts and storyboards for multimedia presentations.
- Producing training materials and reference guides for internal tools.
- Assisting with the technical details in Sales documents and providing screenshots.
- Developing flowcharts from use cases that can be used to guide the product design process.
- Assisting with the automation (macros, workflows, etc.) of document production in other departments.
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