As a technical writer, you may end up being confused about your job description. That’s because each industry and organization can have varying duties for you, and at times, they may ask for something you’ve never written before. In that case, you can consider checking out some technical writing examples to get you started again.
If you’re beginning your technical writing career, it’s advisable to go over several technical writing examples to make sure you get the hang of it. You don’t necessarily have to take a gander over at industry-specific examples; you can get the general idea in any case.
In this article, we’ll go over what technical writing is and some of the common technical writing examples to get you started.
Let’s start by covering what technical writing is.
What Exactly is Technical Writing and What Do Technical Writers Do?
Technical writing is all about writing easily digestible content for the masses regarding a technical product or service. Technical writers have to translate complex technical information into useful and easy-to-understand language.
There are many examples of technical writing, such as preparing instruction manuals to writing complete guides. In some cases, technical writing includes preparing research journals, writing support documents, and other technical documentation.
The idea is to help the final user understand any technical aspects of the product or service.
In other cases, technical writing simply means that the writer needs to have specific knowledge of something. For example, pharmaceutical companies may hire medical writers to write their content since they will have the required knowledge.
Since technical writing involves dealing with complex information, the writer needs to have a solid base on the topic. That may require past experience, direct technical knowledge, or an ability to understand multiple pieces of information quickly and effectively.
In any case, technical writers may have to work with various other people, such as software developers, software engineers, human resources professionals, product designers, and other subject matter experts.
While most organizations tend to hire writers with a history in their fields, others opt for individuals with great writing skills and team them up with their employees.
Technical writers may also work with customer service experts, product liability specialists, and user experience professionals to improve the end-user experience. In any case, they work closely with people to develop digestible content for the end customers.
Nowadays, you can also find several technical writers online. There is an increasing demand for technical writing because of the insurgence of SaaS companies, e-commerce stores, and more.
In the end, technical writers need to have a strong grasp of proper grammar and understand how to insert the right images, graphics, sounds, and even videos.
If you're interested in learning more about these technical writing skills, then check out our Technical Writing Certification Course.
8 Technical Writing Examples to Get You Started
As a technical writer, you may have to continually learn new stuff, increase your knowledge, and work with new forms of content. While you may not have experience with all forms of technical writing, it’s crucial to at least understand how to do it.
If you manage to learn all the intricacies of technical writing and technical documents, you can practically work with any form of content, given that you know the format.
Therefore, the following examples of technical writing should be sufficient for you to get an idea. The different types of technical writing have their unique characteristics that you can easily learn and master effectively.
1. User Manuals
User manuals or instruction manuals are usually found along with various products, such as consumer electronics like televisions, consoles, cellphones, kitchen appliances, and more. The user manual serves as a complete guide on how to use the product, how to maintain it, clean it, and more.
All technical manuals, including user manuals, have to be extremely user-friendly. The technical writer has to write a manual so that even someone with zero experience can use the product. Therefore, the target audience of user manuals is complete novices, amateurs, and people using the product/s for the first time.
Traditionally, user manuals have had text and diagrams to help the user understand. However, in recent times, user manuals have photographs, numbered diagrams, disclaimers, flow charts, sequenced instructions, warranty information, troubleshooting guides, and contact information.
Technical writers have to work with engineers, programmers, and product designers to ensure they don’t miss out on anything. The writer also anticipates potential issues common users may have by using the product themselves first. That helps them develop a first-hand experience, ultimately leading to developing better user manuals.
The point of the user manual isn’t to predict every possible issue or problem. Most issues are unpredictable and are better left to be handled by the customer support or help desk. User manuals are there to address direct and common issues at most.
You can check out some user manual examples and templates here. You can download them in PDF and edit them to develop an idea about how you can write a custom user manual for your product.
2. Standard Operating Procedures (SOP)
Standard operating procedures are complete processes for various tasks that each organization develops to ensure smoother operations. SOPs help make each process more efficient, time-saving, and less costly.
An SOP document can include everything from the method of processing payroll, hiring employees, calculating vacation time to manufacturing guidelines. In any case, SOPs ensure that each person in an organization works in unison and uniformly to maintain the quality.
If used correctly, SOPs help eliminate irregularities, favoritism, and other human errors. Lastly, SOPs are designed to make sure employees can take the responsibilities of an absent employee, so there’s no lag in work.
Therefore, developing SOPs requires a complete study of how an organization works and the processes themselves.
Here are some examples of standard operating procedures you can study. You can edit the samples directly or simply develop your own while taking inspiration from them.
3. Case Studies & White Papers
Case studies and white papers are a way of demonstrating one’s expertise in an area. Case studies delve into a specific instance or project and have takeaways proving or disproving something. White papers delve into addressing any industry-specific challenge, issue, or problem.
Both case studies and white papers are used as a tool for getting more business and leads by organizations.
Technical writers who write white papers and case studies need to be experts in the field, industry, and the project itself. It’s best if the technical writer has prior experience in writing such white papers.
The writing style of white papers and case studies is unique, along with the formatting. Both documents are written for a specific target audience and require technical writing skills. Case studies are written in passive voice while white papers are written in an active voice. In any case, it’s crucial to maintain a certain level of knowledge to be able to pull it off.
4. API Documentation
API documentation includes instructions on how you can effectively use and integrate with any API, such as web-API, software API, and SCPIs. API documentation tends to contain details about classes, functions, arguments, and other information required to work with the API. It also includes examples and tutorials to help make integration easier.
In any case, API documentation helps clients understand how it works and how they can effectively implement API. In short, it helps businesses and people interact with the code more easily.
A great example of proper API documentation can be found in how Dropbox’s API documentation works. You can learn more about it here.
5. Press Releases
Press releases are formal documents issued by an organization or agency to share news or to make an announcement. The idea is to set a precedent for releasing any key piece of information in a follow-up press conference, news release, or on a social media channel.
The press release emphasizes why the information is important to the general public and customers. It’s a fact-based document and includes multiple direct quotes from major company stakeholders, such as the CEO.
Usually, press releases have a very specific writing process. Depending on the feasibility, they may have an executive summary or follow the universal press release format.
You can find several examples of press releases from major companies like Microsoft and Nestle here, along with some writing tips.
6. Company Documents
Company documents can include various internal documents and orientation manuals for new employees. These documents can contain different information depending on their use.
For example, orientation manuals include the company’s history, organizational chart, list of services and products, map of the facility, and dress codes. It may also include employee rights, responsibilities, operation hours, rules, regulations, disciplinary processes, job descriptions, internal policies, safety procedures, educational opportunities, common forms, and more.
Writing company documents just requires good technical writing skills and organizational knowledge. Such help files assist new employees in settling into the company and integrating more efficiently.
Here are some great examples of orientation manuals you can check out.
7. Annual Reports
Annual reports are yearly updates on a company’s performance and other financial information. Annual reports are direct correspondence with company stakeholders and serve as a transparency tool.
The annual reports can also be technical reports in some cases. However, mostly they include stock performance, financial information, new product information, and key developments.
Technical writers that develop annual reports have to compile all the necessary information and present it in an attractive form. It’s crucial to use creative writing skills and excellent communication skills to ensure that the maximum amount of information is presented comprehensively and straightforwardly.
If the company is technical in nature, such as a robotics company, the technical writer needs to develop a technical communication method that’s easy to digest.
You can check out some annual report examples and templates here.
8. Business Plans
Every company starts with a complete business plan to develop a vision and secure funding. If a company is launching a new branch, it still needs to start with a business plan.
In any case, the business plan has a few predetermined sections. To develop the ideal business plan, include the following sections in it.
- Executive Summary – includes the business concept, product, or service, along with the target market. It may also include information on key personnel, legal entity, founding date, location, and brief financial information.
- Product or Service Description – includes what the offering is, what value it provides, and what stage of development it is in currently.
- Team Members – includes all the information on the management team.
- Competitor and Market Analysis – includes a detailed analysis of the target market and potential competitors.
- Organizational System – includes information on how the organizational structure would work.
- Schedules – include start dates, hiring dates, planning dates, and milestones.
- Risks and Opportunities – include profit and loss predictions and projections.
- Financial Planning – includes planned income statements, liquidity measures, projected balance sheet, and more.
- Appendix – includes the organizational chart, resumes, patents, and more.
The technical writer needs to work closely with the company stakeholders to develop a complete business plan.
You can check out hundreds of business plan samples and examples here, according to your industry.
Becoming an Expert Technical Writer
Becoming an expert technical writer is all about focusing on your strengths. For example, you should try to focus on one to two industries or a specific form of technical writing. You can do various writing assignments and check out technical writing samples to understand what you’re good with.
You can also check out user guides and get online help in determining your industry. Once you’ve nailed down an industry and technical writing type, you can start to focus on becoming an expert in it.
In any case, it always helps to check out technical writing examples before starting any project. Try to check out examples of the same industry and from a similar company.
Once you have a complete idea of what you need to do, start your creative writing process.
If you are new to technical writing and are looking to break in, we recommend taking our Technical Writing Certification Course, where you will learn fundamentals of being a technical writer, how to dominate technical writer interviews, and how to stand out as a technical writing candidate.