Writing effective communication is a highly sought-after skill set in the commercial space today. Businesses, both large and small, need to send tailored communications to their target audience. In some cases, multiple segments require different communications for a product or service. The type of audience – business writing vs. technical writing – is an important factor in the technical business writing style.
Companies are willing to pay good money to someone who can write effective copy for their target audience. There are many freelancing opportunities for both types of writing. However, business writing and technical writing are two entirely different expertise, having unique requirements.
If your company can master both, you can benefit from higher CTRs and ROIs on your marketing campaigns. It’s also worth consulting a content writing agency like One Content Pro to do the job effectively.
In this article, we’ll help you understand the differences between technical writing and business writing. You will be able to know what is needed in both cases and choose which type of communication is best suited to your projects.
Business Writing vs. Technical Writing: How Do We Define Them?
Technical Business writing is basically any content that is intended for communication. It includes reports, blogs, corporate communication, emails, press releases, ad copy, etc. It is often used as an umbrella term for all types of business content, and some include technical writing within it.
Technical writing, on the other hand, often encompasses complex topics on science, engineering, and technical equipment. Technical documents include research articles, technical manuals, product specifications, business proposals, project bids, software release notes, and many other items.
The Grey Area between Business Writing and Technical Writing
A couple of similarities are notable between business and technical writing. The first is that there is always some overlap between the two types of content writing. In many business situations, technical specifications need to be defined, so you may have to work with a team of technical experts. Conversely, business writers help to market technical items and products by removing or rephrasing complex terms.
Secondly, subject matter and context determine the need for technical and business writing. Complex subjects like mathematical analysis and system specifications are targeted at an expert audience. However, if you are running a medical newsletter for general readers, a business writer will be able to make your communication accessible to everyone.
Many situations call for either technical and business writing or both, but for clarity, we can categorize them as informational, instructional, persuasive, and transactional. Each situation can utilize either type of writing.
Business writing is useful in all four situations, while technical writing is often informational or instructional. That being said, a technical expert can work wonders for making transactional or informative communication persuasive since it serves a specialized or niche audience.
Business Writing vs. Technical Writing: What are the Differences?
There are a few differences between business writing vs. technical writing. Here’s what sets the writing styles apart.
While both technical and business writing are directed toward an audience, they differ in prioritizing the communication tools. We’ve already mentioned that technical business writing has to work in a broad range of situations. For such writers and content creators, the main emphasis is on the message given. Reaching out to the customer is the most important part of technical business writing.
Technical business writers, therefore, need to work on a document-driven approach. In that sense, technical writing takes the form of a physical or virtual object that works as a point of reference for the intended recipient.
In general, technical business writing involves shorter communications, while pure technical writing involves lengthy documents. However, there is some overlap in situations where business writers may need to write executive summaries or market information in documents for public investors.
Similarly, not every technical document is expected to be detailed, and sometimes technical information may need to be summarized in a single page, such as a technical brochure or research poster.
Generally speaking, the writing tone refers to the attitude of the content, writing tone is set by how you approach the target audience. Business writing requires some flexibility in tone because customers can vary drastically between segments and businesses. B2B communication is usually formal. Many companies, however, may sometimes prefer to communicate informally with customers, requiring a friendly tone. Writers can, therefore, use subjective words that convey emotions or feelings.
Technical business writing, on the other hand, is usually formal and needs to be neutral in tone. This is because it is mostly informational or instructional in nature. In the latter case, a structure is required (we’ve covered that below). Technical content requires accurate and concrete information. It is common to include numbers and symbols in such communications. Good technical writing excludes elements like hyperbole or opinions and is often objective.
Writing structure refers to the visual presentation of the communication. Business communication covers many situations. That means that the tools used determine the overall structure of the writing. For instance, when writing an email, the ideal structure divides the message into three parts (sender, subject, and body). Beyond that, technical business writing is structured using clear headings and simple lists (bulleted or numbered) for informational and instructional content.
On the other hand, pure technical writing is heavily structured. Manuals, research articles, technical notes, and similar items have to adhere to specific standards set by the company or even entire industries. In many industries, there are professional or legal requirements that need to be fulfilled. Examples include scholarly articles and contracts, which require writers to include specific sections and notes.
Technical business writing experts can utilize their visual presentation skills to make documents more persuasive by presenting information in an eye-catching and engaging format. This is because, by default, technical business writing appeals to readers who are actively seeking information. The use of tables, charts, pictures, and graphs is, therefore, encouraged or even required.
Common Words vs. Technical Jargon
Technical and business writing requires a balance between simple language and technical terms. Business writers often have to distill technical information to make it accessible to general readers. The same is true for technical writers working in consumer-oriented businesses. In both situations, the language needs to be clear, accurate, and consistent. If the audience is non-technical, then writers should use less technical jargon. There is some leeway here if the audience is well versed on a complex subject.
Language is an important element in making your writing persuasive and engaging. Therefore, language errors or inconsistencies can prove to be costly mistakes for businesses.
International business communication may need to be localized to regional norms and preferences. Technical business writing takes a generalist approach by ensuring that the corporate messaging is consistent.
Technical writing for localization requires expertise in a local language, where accurate translation is required to convey the right meaning and context. Native level proficiency is a must, and certifications are usually a prerequisite for these writing tasks.
The Final Word
Understanding the main differences between business writing and technical writing will help you quickly identify any gaps that you need to fill in your communications. A skilled and experienced copywriter can try their hand at both types of writing, but it helps to specialize in one form over the other.
Writing a tight copy requires collaboration between cross-functional teams of writers, editors, and business managers so that you can rely on an expert to complement your writing when the situation asks for it.
Need help with business writing or technical writing for your project? Our writing gurus can help you hit the bulls-eye with your messaging. One Content Pro is a purpose-driven content marketing agency with skilled content creators in both domains, technical writing and business writing.