Essential Skills Every Freelance Tech Writer Should Have

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If you’ve been a tech writer for a while, then you know tech writing isn’t only about writing. It involves dealing with people, problem-solving, researching, and much more. And to master all these, it takes some skillsets.
Here we take a look at some of the fundamental skills that can help you flourish in your career as a freelance tech writer. Let’s delve and explore:
Writing skills
Good technical writers should know how to write well. It may sound like an obvious skill, but many freelance writers, not just tech writers, don’t seem to grasp its importance.
Writing is an art, and just like drawing and painting, it takes skill to present a masterpiece as a final product. And that is what readers want, something that has been worked on with great precision.
Of course, anyone that has gone to school can write. However, it takes someone who mastered the art to write content that is both engaging and educative.
A good freelance tech writer should be able to use words to communicate in the best way possible. If you can’t communicate to readers, you lose out on why you wrote in the first place.
Technical skills
This is one of those obvious skills that every tech writer should have. How can you be a tech writer without any technical skills? Doesn’t makes sense, right?
You don’t have to be an expert, but at least have an understanding of what you write about. For example, if you review software programs like VPNs, some knowledge about how the services work can help you come up with great content.
Readers are always looking for content that shows whoever wrote it knew what they were doing. Without the skills, it’s hard for any reader to trust the product or services you are trying to offer them.
While it can be argued that you don’t need a technical background for technical writing, some skills on the field can help a lot.
Research skills
Coming up with new and informative content is not always easy. Most writers can attest to this. It takes work, most of which goes into research, patience, and discipline.
Without the necessary research skills, it is highly possible to come up with generic content that many readers bump into on a daily basis and are already fed up with.
Taking time to find out all you need to know about what you intend to write about is one of the ways to come up with quality stuff.
Extensive research not only shows how well you understand what you write about but your prowess as a freelance tech writer as well. Research can also help your content stand out in your niche.
Besides ensuring you offer readers great reading materials, research also helps you as a tech writer, learn new things. And the more you learn, the more you educate your readers.
Communication skills
Besides writing well, writers should generally know how to communicate well. Communication skills not only help with readers but colleagues and employers as well.
For readers, as a tech writer, you have to know how to write content that communicates to readers. This means understanding the style of writing they appreciate. It also means finding out whether they prefer simplified versions of content or complex.
Content that communicates to readers rarely misses the mark, which might be converting readers to customers.
When it comes to colleagues and employers, you must know how to communicate clearly, promptly, and efficiently. Some employers have no patience for writers with poor communication skills.
Interviewing skills
Just like communication skills, interviewing skills are a plus for any freelance tech writer looking to improve on their writing.
Most of the time, interviewing skills come in handy when looking to know more about the product you intend to write about.
Remember to deliver quality content, content that readers understand and learn from, you must first understand what you are writing about. The chances that you can write great content on something you know nothing or very little about are very minimal.
You need to learn how to craft the right questions and how to ask them in the best way possible. You need to learn the patience and courage that comes with interviewing leaders in your niche and getting the best answers out of them. It takes practice, just like anything else, and it’s not that hard to master if you put in the work.
Testing and usability skills
Many products manufacture and tech developers like to invite technical writers to participate in the testing of their products before they go to market. Positive reviews usually mean manufacturers and developers are on the right track with their products.
As a freelance tech writer, if you don’t have the skills to test products to the maximum, it is highly possible to deliver shoddy work to your readers.
For example, if you are going to write about the latest smartphone in the market, you best know if it indeed works as advertised or it’s just a marketing strategy. Your readers depend on you for the right information in case they choose to buy the product you claim to be the best in the market.
Now, you don’t have to be an expert in testing products, but at least having some skills can be of great help in your writing career.
Ability to work with modern tools
Technology keeps growing fast. Tech-savvy engineers and developers are always churning out great products that, as a freelance tech writer, you have to keep up with.
Besides knowing what’s new in the market and how your readers can benefit from it, you have to know how to use it. This is one of the best ways of knowing how best to describe the product to your readers.
To know what’s new in the market, you have to keep up with the trends. This means popping into your social media accounts once in a while, reading tech blogs, and participating in tech communities just to know what’s new in the tech world.
If you are always looking to stay ahead of the pack, you need to learn and write about what’s new before it gets exhausted.
Sometimes it takes a matter of hours before people start talking about something else that suddenly became relevant. In a world where information moves fast, you need to learn to be fast.
Ability to utilize visual assets
Visual assets like images and videos come in handy when looking to help readers understand your work. They are a great way to keep your content engaging and entertaining.
Admittedly words alone are not enough to help some readers get the point you are trying to put across. Visual assets like diagrams, charts, infographs, and videos help with clarity.
If research is anything to go by, then as a tech writer, you have very few seconds before you lose a reader. Generally, the attention span of the average human being has gone down, standing at just under nine minutes. That’s shorter than that of a goldfish imagine that?
Learning how best to utilize visual assets in your content is a great way of taking your writing skills to another level. By the end of the day, you want your readers satisfied with your work to keep writing more. Their satisfaction is your win as a tech writer.
Ability to always deliver quality work
In a world where there are more than 500 million blogs out of 1.7 billion websites, whose authors account for the more than 2 million blog posts published every day, quality work is vital. With so many writers in the world, it is easy for your content to miss the visibility it deserves and gets lost in the crowd.
If you are looking to write content that is not only engaging but also stands out in the crowd, quality is the way to go. Quality works mean there is some level of originality. And in a world where copying and plagiarism are the order of the day, quality work can help you grow as a writer.
Note that the quality of your work should reflect on all the work you publish. Persistence is key if you are looking to better your writing skills.
Editing skills
Learning and perfecting editing skills is one of the many ways to improve your writing and deliver quality work to readers.
While there are several editing programs, free and subscription-based, to help you edit your work, much of the editing can be done by yourself.
By learning how to edit your work, you have an opportunity to rectify your mistakes and come up with a great final product. You ensure what readers get is the best you can deliver.
Patience and perseverance
Last but not least, patience and perseverance are skills every writer should possess, not just tech writers. Writing can be tough sometimes, and it takes some mental toughness to make it through such times.
While it may take time to get to the big leagues, having patience and perseverance can be of great help. Putting in the work and never giving up no matter how difficult it gets, no matter how much you make mistakes, can help you better your writing and become a great tech writer.
Bottom line
Writing, just like any other form of art, takes work to master and perfect. As a freelance tech writer, the skills listed above can help you take your writing to the levels you would love, and your readers would appreciate it. All you have to do is put in the work and practice what you have learned.
Practice makes perfect, so keep practicing and live to see the results.

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