If your business provides solutions targeted at technical markets, the content you create needs to be more specialised. This isn't always easy. Writing technical blogs takes thorough research and a deep understanding of the topic area. It also takes time – something that often comes as a premium in business.
However, there are three key things that – if you get right – will help you produce effective technical blogs your audience will appreciate.
1. Understand your audience
Knowing who you're writing for is important no matter what you're writing, but it's especially pertinent when producing technical content. You need to consider the levels of your audience's knowledge:
- What are they likely to know already? (acronyms / technical terms / references)
- What tone of voice do they expect from technical content?
- Where might the gaps in their knowledge be?
Imagine your reader works in digital marketing and is looking for a blog explaining how to set up Google Ads. When she finds one, the first two paragraphs are spent defining SEO and digital advertising – stuff she's likely to know already. It's infuriating when this happens, especially when readers just want specific solutions.
Equally, if the blog your audience lands upon uses unexplained nomenclature, they could bounce off your site and search for an easier to read blog instead.
Understanding your audience is crucial to finding the right balance between overexplaining and underexplaining, so spend time getting to know your readers before you start. There are many ways to do this.
Consider surveying your customers, for instance. Ask them what sort of questions they want answering, where the gaps in their knowledge lie, and what styles of content are likely to interest them.
However, as Steve Jobs once said, sometimes "people don't know what they want until you show it to them." In other words, you need to know your audience better than they know themselves. Creating rich persona profiles for your target audiences can prove invaluable in this endeavour.
2. Sharpen your technical knowledge
Often, your target audience are fellow subject matter experts, which is a double-edged sword. Yes, it means you can avoid diving deep into explanations, but it also means you need to demonstrate the breadth of your knowledge. Without this, it's hard to build credibility and trust.
Your first port of call when looking to hone your technical knowledge should be the people around you – your colleagues. They live and breathe your industry, so they're perfectly positioned to offer advice and insights.
Bolster your knowledge further with research. Read blogs, scan some trade papers, and generally brush up on the latest industry news (setting up a dedicated RSS feed can help here). Keeping your finger on the pulse in this way will build your industry knowledge and blogging confidence no end.
Another way of building your credibility is by employing the help of external industry experts. Search LinkedIn for industry voices who may be able to lend you their wisdom or – better still – a quote you can use in your blog. This sort of collaboration has two key benefits: it boosts the perceived reliability of your blog content and increases the likelihood of it being shared on social media and other blogs. Win-win.
However you choose to keep your industry knowledge sharp, doing so is critical to producing useful technical blogs. As the old adage goes, if you can't explain something clearly, you don't understand it well enough yourself.
3. Keep it simple
No matter how technical your topic or knowledgeable your audience, everyone values simplicity. So, make sure your technical blog is:
- Written in plain English and layman's terms wherever possible
- Structured logically with clear sections and subsections
- Kept short and sweet – most people looking for technical blogs are looking for swift answers
It's also a great idea to use examples, diagrams, and case studies to explain complex issues lucidly. After all...
...90% of information sent to the brain is visual, and people gain understanding 60,000x faster from images than words. Use this to your advantage.
Keeping simplicity in mind when writing your technical blogs will ensure they're easy to digest, enjoyable to read, and genuinely helpful.
How to write your technical blog
With these three tips fresh in your mind, it's time to write your technical blog. Here's how to go about it.
1. Research the topic area
As mentioned earlier, researching your topic thoroughly before you start is essential. Doing so will set you on the right track to writing an excellent technical blog.
2. Do SEO & keyword research
3. Create a blog outline
Planning out your blog will give you a greater sense of its structure, making your writing that much easier. It doesn't have to be polished; a few section headings should suffice.
4. Get expert feedback
Before you type a word, share your blog outline with a trusted team mate. They'll be able to spot areas you've not covered and confirm that what you're saying rings true.
5. Write your blog
The fun bit! With your outline approved, start writing your technical blog using your CMS platform of choice.
6. Get more feedback
Once you're happy with what you've written, get someone to review your blog again. This will ensure you've come at the technical subject from the right perspective. It'll let you spot any last minute typos, too.
7. Publish your blog
Congratulations! It's time to set your blog free and spread the word across your social channels.
Now, go write!
It's fair to say that writing useful, compelling technical blogs is no mean feat. But it can be done. You just need to:
- know your audience
- have a deep understanding of the topic
- have the blogging skills necessary to streamline complexity
If you can do all that, you'll be pushing out fantastic technical blogs in no time.