Writing is one of the most unique professions in today’s day and age. There are very few other jobs that allow you to exploit your creativity as much as writing does. The more creative and organized you are, the better will be your acceptability as a technical or content writer.
But not all forms of writing are created alike.
While some want you to be as creative as you can, others require more patience, streamlining, and sticking to the rules.
The key difference between content writing and technical writing is its goal. While content writing aims to motivate, technical writing seeks to educate.
Read on to understand the top-3 critical differences between a content writer and a technical writer.
The Top-3 Key Differences Between Content Writer and Technical Writer Job
Difference in Purpose
Although a content writer and a technical writer’s primary task is the same – to write, what they write about, and why they write can be entirely different.
If you are a content writer, you have to be a jack and master of varied subjects. On some days, you will write about medical science, while on others, you may have to act as a finance professional. As long as you know the art of writing, no subject on earth should seem difficult to you.
Content writing has two types – web content writing and academic content writing.
The primary purpose of web content writing is to catch the content-hungry netizens’ attention and draw them towards your website. To do that, you have to employ techniques like keyword positioning and search engine optimization.
An academic writer’s task is to prepare resources and reference materials for students pursuing their formal or technical education. You have to simplify complex topics and make life easier for students seeking help.
A technical writer does something entirely different. You will work in close coordination with departments like manufacturing, marketing, finance, etc., to discover the purpose of writing. You have to create user guides, design technical presentations, prepare product manuals and specifications, and write tutorials.
As a technical writer, you have to maintain a professional tone and follow the client-provided or industry-approved format to the tee. Always remember that you are writing to integrate a product or a service with the user’s life. You will simplify jargon and make it more reader-friendly.
Hence, a content writer writes to catch readers’ attention, while a technical writer writes to make a product or service simple to understand.
The Difference in Skills Required to Excel
Before understanding the differences, let’s know what’s common between a content writer and a technical writer.
The most critical skills that a writer should possess are time management, patience, good communication, and sound knowledge of grammar and spelling.
However, what makes them different is the way they use this knowledge. While a technical writer sticks to a documentation plan, the content writer relies on a content plan.
A technical writer has to follow a specific type of language which targets a particular category of users. The writing style has to be formal and to the point.
For example, if you are writing a user manual for a new air-conditioner, your audience will be AC buyers and not other readers. So, your language has to be targeted and concise. And you have to read a lot and have excellent research abilities.
Since a content writer’s primary task is to hook readers, you can choose to communicate in a formal or semi-formal tone. However, be sure to take a look at the client’s language specifications. As a content writer, you have to engage your readers and make them feel that the language addresses them.
Therefore, as a technical writer, you need to write formally; while as a content writer, you can experiment with the language and style, as long as it appeals to your readers.
The Difference in the Nature of Job
Being a technical writer, you must have an acute understanding of the various types of documents you need to work on. You should also know the nature of each type. Broadly, a technical writer creates the following types of documents:
- Instruction manuals
- Product descriptions
- Legal documents
- API documentation
- User manuals
- Product documentation
- Any other article related to a product or service
Without technical writing, no product or service can see the light of the day. Hence, there is always a massive demand for technical writers. An experienced technical writer can get high-paying jobs in manufacturing, energy, finance, telecom, engineering, transport, medical, and many others.
On average, a technical writer in the US gets a salary in the range of US$42k to $87k.
The job of a content writer is a lot different from that of a technical writer. As a content writer, you have to write the following things:
- Landing page content
- Blog post
- Social media content
- Category pages
- Product description
- How-to guide
- Marketing emails
- Product reviews
- Any other article or blog that does not come under technical writing
A content writer’s nature of writing is more persuasive. You must write in a way that attracts readers and entices them to share your work. Additionally, you need to understand the difference between each of the types and write accordingly.
The average salary of a content writer can range between US$32k and $71k in the US.
While a technical writer’s job is more remunerative than that of a content writer, to get into the field, you have to possess some qualifications, like a technical writing certification.
The Key Differences Simplified
In essence, both technical writer and content writer does the same thing – simplify complex concepts for expert and non-expert readers.
The eligibility criteria to become a content writer is simple. You have to have an immense grasp of the language you wish to write. It is an added advantage if you are a voracious reader.
A content writer can be less picky than a technical writer. You must have mastery over many topics and be keen to learn new things. Additionally, knowing a few tricks of marketing can help you excel in the field.
A technical writer works with products or services. You can have the liberty to work in your area of specialization. You will be the go-to person when a user with a non-technical background wants to understand something technical.
Although technical writing can be exciting and remunerative, you need to have a professional certification that would prove your knowledge in the field.
Content writing and technical writing are two sides of the same coin. Without knowing about content writing work, you can never be a technical writer. Similarly, without understanding the technical aspects of writing, you can never be a content writer.
Before choosing the best writing career, you should scour the internet and read a few articles on either side to see which one appeals to you the most.