How to Find Technical Writers for Hire

Davor
Davor
Davor is a content marketing expert who loves writing about project management, productivity, and remote work.

If your growing business doesn't already have a technical writer, you need one as soon as possible. In this article, we'll teach you how to effectively find tech writers for hire.

📚 Table of contents

Whether you want to publish a help guide, product requirement documents, or a series of technical posts for your product’s blog, chances are that your developers are either too busy to write these docs or simply lack the writing skills.

That’s why technical writers have become a common addition to software development teams.

However, there are so many technical and content writers available that it can be difficult even to begin the hiring process.

In this article, we’ll teach you how to narrow down your selection and find a skilled tech writer efficiently.

So, let’s see what steps you have to take to present your readers with excellent technical content.

Know What You’re Looking For

Posting an ad for a tech writer without a clear goal in mind probably won’t grant you the quality content you’re after.

To hire the right technical writer for your business, you first need to identify the kind of writing you want them to produce.

Let’s say you were a manager looking for somebody to write technical documents for your company’s software product.

In that case, typing “technical writer” into a hiring platform could seem like the logical first step. Here’s what the results on one such platform, Upwork, could look like.

Source: Upwork

As you can see, there are writers of various specializations and seniority levels. And that’s where you might realize you need a better, more precise approach to hiring.

Unless you want to sift through hundreds of not quite relevant portfolios, it’s vital that you identify the exact type of content you’re hiring the writer for.

For instance, if your online booking app needs a guide for regular end-users, you don’t have to hire a Kotlin expert.

On the other hand, if you want to build API documentation, it’s wiser to look for a writer with programming experience.

Our article available here contains an overview of different software document types. You can use it to crystallize your content plan and look for writers accordingly.

Source: Archbee

Bear in mind that the choice between hiring an English major or a writer-developer is not the only one you have to make.

Depending on the complexity of your product and the type of document, you may have to look for technical writers skilled in specific technologies or programming languages.

These distinctions will affect the pay the writers ask for, so that’s another factor to consider.

Once you determine the type of technical content you want to produce and the most suitable writer profile for it, you’ll have a solid base for starting the recruitment process.

Knowing that you’re looking for, say, an API writer will let you filter out applicants who are unfamiliar with the format.

In other words, the more closely you determine your needs, the smoother the rest of the hiring process will go.

Create a Job Description

Unfortunately, not all job-seekers read job descriptions, which results in hiring managers receiving irrelevant applications.

Technical writers, however, have it in their nature to scrutinize each text they encounter, and they will do the same with your job description.

So, if you want to attract top writing talent, you have to make your business sound equally professional.

The most straightforward way to make your job description stand out from the others is by adjusting its format.

Merely listing bullet points could indicate that not a lot of effort went into writing the job description.

That’s why it’s better to also use full sentences, as seen in this ad for tech writers at PayPal.

Source: LinkedIn

You wouldn’t want to hire a tech writer that only lists instructions in bullet points, so it’s a good idea to lead by example.

As the sections with job description and responsibilities from PayPal’s ad show, a good approach is to present the job in regular text and then supplement it with bullet points for clarity.

Introducing the responsibilities of your future tech writer is just the start. You’ll be able to attract serious candidates by showing that you have clear expectations set for the position.

Here are some of the requirements from the PayPal ad.

  • Five or more years in the technical writing industry
  • Fluent written and spoken English (second language desirable)
  • Excellent writing and editing skills

Lastly, you should clarify how technical the role is.

Whether you’re looking for a skilled coder or just a writer who knows how to work in Markdown, the job description should be unambiguous about that.

If you don’t have a strict preference, you could mark software skills as desirables, not must-haves.

Source: LinkedIn

Creating a professional and informative job description will help you cut down the time needed to find the right fit.

When you list precise requirements for the position, you’ll avoid receiving applications from candidates whose skills don’t match your needs, leaving you with relevant applications only.

And if you want to motivate technical writers to approach you and not the other way around, you should look into inbound recruiting, our next topic.

Build Inbound Interest

When your hands are full with planning technical content, chances are that you don’t have time to chase potential candidates to look at your job advertisement and apply.

If that’s the case, you could benefit from inbound recruiting, a recruiting practice defined as:

“A strategy based on making the company attractive enough for potential candidates to come directly to you, rather than going out and seeking these candidates.”

For all the visual learners among our readers, here’s an illustration comparing this recruitment method to the traditional ones where companies reach out to employees.

Source: Iberdrola

Before we dive into the strategy, we should note that this type of hiring is the most advantageous if you’re looking to increase the amount of technical content you turn out and not looking for a singular author to hire permanently.

For instance, if you want to enrich your blog section with a series of posts demonstrating the capabilities of your product, then having multiple contributors shouldn’t be a problem, and inbound recruiting is a good choice.

With that said, let’s see how you can motivate tech writers to apply to work with you.

You could take a page from Apple’s book and tell writers what makes your business a good place to work at. Here’s a summary of the company’s ad for tech writers.

Source: Apple

Sounds more inspiring than an average job description in the software industry, doesn’t it?

After you’ve composed a motivating job description and described the benefits of working with you, you should think about where you’ll advertise.

After all, the purpose of creating inbound interest is to get writers to apply, so you have to find platforms that receive sufficient traffic from technical writers, such as Toptal or Upwork.

And if the content you want to create would work on a pay-per-article basis, you could ask to be included in this Community Writer Programs list on GitHub for free.

Source: GitHub

Listing your business there would make your business more visible to coding-oriented tech writers who spend time on GitHub, providing you with a constant source of writers looking to expand their portfolios.

Browse Through Specialized Websites

Hiring regular content writers won’t necessarily generate great technical documents. To find writers who are technical enough, you should browse specialized websites and hiring platforms.

This is especially important when you’re on the lookout for a writer who will produce a larger or a high-level piece of technical content, such as a user guide for your product or API documents.

In such cases, you wouldn’t want multiple contributors with different writing or coding styles—you need someone to produce consistent and comprehensive tech content.

To achieve that, we suggest that you look into websites where programming professionals with a passion for writing congregate. One such site is DEV Community.

Source: DEV Community

In the screenshot above, you can see the results we got when we looked up Golang on DEV. All these articles were written by people skilled in the language.

You could take a similar approach: visit a specialized website, look up the topic you need a writer for, and you’ll find a list of potential tech writers to contact.

Moreover, you’ll be able to immediately assess their know-how, along with the quality of their code and writing.

You can also see if they’re keeping up with technology—an ideal candidate has written about topics relevant to you in the past year, meaning that they’re aware of new developments in the field.

Besides DEV Community, Medium is also an excellent place to cast your net.

While Medium isn’t a developer-only community, the platform hosts multitudes of articles about programming. For instance, here’s one out of many posts on recursion in Python.

Source: Medium

Even if you want to hire a technical writer to write about a highly-specialized topic but can’t find one, browsing communities like these will point you in the right direction.

When you find authors interested in writing and technologies related to yours, you’ll be able to shape their skills and knowledge to fit the content you need.

We know that combing the internet for competent technical writers may not be the easiest task.

Still, taking the time to find the ideal writer to stick with your project after project will actually result in generating better content and spending less time and money on rewriting, so that’s an approach to hiring you shouldn’t dismiss.

Reach Out to Each Candidate

Reaching out to candidates is the final step in the process of finding tech writers for hire. We’ll list some tips on how you can do this effectively.

By this point, you’ve visited the specialized websites and selected the writers you’d like to have on your team.

However, you should bear in mind that they might not be interested in starting a new position, especially if you’ve found the writers through Medium and not a hiring platform.

If that’s so, you’ll have to carefully choose words to pique the interest of prospective candidates.

Below, you can find an example of an email, written by Karl Hughes of Draft.dev, that has received a reply.

Source: Draft.dev

As you can see, Hughes individualized the email to suit the particular writer. He also included compliments while still staying genuine.

So, if you want to increase your chances of hiring a good writer, you could emulate this email.

And if you’re reaching out to the candidates you’ve found on hiring platforms that you know would like to work with you, you could also mention the pay and the type of contract to make their decision easier.

Of course, this is just the beginning of the hiring process, but we hope we’ve managed to shed some light on how to start it.

Now that you know how to find technical writers for hire, you’re one step closer to providing your readers with exceptional technical content.

Conclusion

As the article shows, there are multiple approaches to hiring a tech writer, and they all have one thing in common: you have to know what you’re looking for before starting the pursuit.

Depending on the type of content you’re aiming for, you may end up needing a tech-savvy writer or a developer with a passion for writing.

Either way, identifying the ideal author for your content helps you streamline the hiring process, so make sure you prioritize that step.

And once you identify the top candidates, you can use this list of interview questions to find the best tech writer for your team.