Anyone whos ever tried marketing IT products or services knows that its a specialist field. Your customers in IT industry have very unique and specific requirements, and that means you do too. In order to write compelling copy around your offering, you need a copywriter with a solid understanding of IT world someone whos not afraid to call themselves an IT Copywriter.
So how do you know when youve found an IT copywriter? And more importantly how do you know what to expect from them? The following 10 tips will give you a good understanding of qualities to look for things that make a copywriter an IT copywriter.
1) IT background
Perhaps most beneficial quality in an IT copywriter is a solid background of some sort in IT industry. If your copywriter shares an understanding of your domain, youll spend far less time explaining benefits of your product or service. Remember last time you watched someone glaze over as you waxed lyrical about wonders of your latest technology? You dont want that to happen when youre briefing your copywriter. More importantly, you dont want that happening when your potential customers read your copy!
2) Technical writing experience
Good technical writers are experienced in bridging knowledge gaps. This means they have to understand technology, but they also have to be able to talk about it in laypersons language. A copywriter with technical writing experience in IT industry is likely to have domain knowledge and an ability to hit ground running. Theyll be quick on uptake, so theyll understand your product or service more rapidly than most.
Of course, not every technical writer is a IT copywriter. You need to be sure they can write compelling copy not just dry instruction manuals. Take a look at their samples and testimonials before making a decision.
The other important consideration especially if youre after a website copywriter is, do they have online writing experience? Writing for an online medium is entirely different to writing for print. Readers have different requirements and objectives, and reading conditions are very different. Many technical writers have written online help, so they should know how to cater to these differences. To be sure, ask them to recommend a maximum page length or word count per page. The correct answer should include some comment on trade-off between problems of scrolling and need for a high keyword count for SEO. Ask them whether they prefer long sentences or short (and hope to hear short).
3) Further Education
IT products and services are generally very complex in themselves. Whats more, needs of end-customer are also very complex and unique. This means theres normally quite a steep learning curve for anyone new. Ask your IT copywriter if they have tertiary qualifications. Its not essential, and by itself its no guarantee of quality copy, but its generally a good indicator of someone whos been trained in art of learning (i.e. researching, information filtering and modelling, knowledge retention, etc.).
The flip-side of that coin is to be wary of people who are technically qualified. Dont discount them on sight (many technical people have made great IT copywriters); just remember that technically trained people have a tendency to take a lot of things for granted when speaking to lay-people. Your IT copywriter needs to be able to understand technology and its complexities, but still relate to issues of non-technical customer.
4) Management Experience
Anyone with management experience at any level has dealt with decision makers. They may even have been a decision maker themself. In any form of promotion, you need to appeal to decision maker. Your IT copywriter needs to develop an understanding of needs, influences, pressures, problems, work environment, and constraints of your typical decision maker(s). The more understanding your IT copywriter brings to relationship, less time youll spend schooling them.