5 Step checklist for outsourcing Technical Content Development

A large volume of blog posts and articles are published every day, and a vast majority of them consist of just low value, mediocre noise written to appeal to Search Engines and not so much to discerning, intelligent humans with specific information needs.  Of the ones that do deserve some attention, it is often hard to take away any tangible value as a reader.  The problem becomes significantly more compounded when it comes to Technical Content which inevitably requires more than a cursory knowledge of the underlying domain. What are your options as a Technology Company looking to create content at scale?

Technology Expertise is crucial in Technology Content Development

B2B Content writing is significantly more difficult to get right as compared to its B2C counterpart. Within B2B, Technology writing adds an altogether different challenge to creating content at scale and within constraints of time and budget. The specific requirements would likely be different depending upon specific sub-segments within Technology domain but in general, you must look out for the following core competencies when outsourcing Technical Content Production-

What sets Technology Writers apart

Domain expertise

This is clearly a given. Many good writers have prior, hands-on backgrounds in the domains they write about and this obviously leads to better quality with minimal supervision and editing. Occasionally, you may consider arrangements where writers do not have hands-on consulting background but have enough research expertise and more importantly, common sense and aptitude to be able to put together content through primary or secondary research.

It should also be noted however that specialization in one field rarely translates to expertise in another even within the same ‘macro-function’. For example, producing high quality content for web analytics would rarely be possible by someone more familiar with web testing and optimization even though the two topics are closely related under the overall function of ‘digital analytics’.

The ability to create stories

One of the reasons that Marketing teams do not use developers to actually create content is that effective content needs more than just facts and figures. It needs skills to actually craft out a story around a topic or theme. It needs to be crafted for a specific business purpose (Lead generation, Branding, Customer Service etc.). This requires unique skills that can translate low level technical details into a purposeful, objective piece of content that instantly appeals to target audience. Simply having domain expertise is clearly not enough and the writers must demonstrate this specific story-telling skill.

The ability to write with an audience in mind

B2B content extends far beyond blog articles and other content items to be distributed on owned media. The requirement to be able to write for a specific audience in mind entails having an intricate knowledge of various content formats and themes and which ones would be most relevant for a specific persona and buying cycle stage combination. For example, a ‘use case’ style blog post might resonate lot more with a prospect at the ‘top of the funnel’ as compared to a more technical ‘toolkit’ style post that delves into technical specifics.

In our experience working with leading B2B Technology brands who complain about content quality, generalist freelance writers and content development firms rarely demonstrate any of the skills above.  While hands-on Technology expertise is largely missing, even the ability to create logically structured, purposeful content designed for human consumption is often a big ask.

Selecting Writers for Technology related content-A simple checklist

Selecting Partners for Technology Content development and then building a long lasting relationship is time intensive process that should not be taken lightly. There is clear need to avoid impulsive selection of Writers based on content deadline schedules and instead build a comprehensive vetting process that filters in only candidates who are most aligned to your requirements. Here is a simple checklist to do that-

1-Evidence of relevant domain expertise

Make sure you ask questions specifically to the niche of interest. Technology writing is a large industry and expertise in filed 1 may not translate to the same in field 2. This criteria should be even more important for selection when you are writing content for direct communication with target clients (e.g. in email marketing) rather than ‘pull’ style communication through blog posts.

2-Evidence of aptitude and common sense

Next to technical domain expertise, this is probably the single-most important trait to look for in a Writer. Shortcomings on Technology know-how front can be easily compensated for by an intelligent author who can dig out information from the right sources and package these in an engaging manner. Such Writers are skillful enough to avoid getting too technical but yet, create convincing articles through sheer application of common sense and aptitude.

3-Evidence of story-telling capability

The ability to present an argument or point of view or analysis in the form of a story that directly appeals to target audience is critical. There are a number of Writers out there with great, hands-on technical skills but who are unable to craft compelling stories with their output.

4-Ability to understand in-house products and services

The unique thing about Technology Companies is that they all have either a product or service to market through content. Product companies will benefit a great deal from Writers who are competent enough to be able to work with Product teams to understand Product features and then create content that outlines benefits vis-a-vis competition. Similarly, Services Companies likely have internal Frameworks and Best Practices that need to be thoroughly understood for promotion collateral to be impactful. Notice that this requirement is different to that of someone just have relevant technology background. That is at best a necessary but not sufficient condition for being able to get inside the skin of a third party product/service and know it well enough to be able to craft authoritative content.

5-Evidence of understanding of technical aspects of Content Marketing

B2B content is rarely limited to mono-thematic blog posts though these are one of the most common types of formats. When to use other formats such as ebooks, whitepapers, shor-form articles, powerpoints, and how to structure content according to format are all skills that come under the purview of technical Content Marketing. Candidates must clearly demonstrate this understanding without extensive hand holding.


For B2B Marketing in general and Technology segment in particular, niche expertise plays a critical role in determining the effectiveness of Content in achieving expected business outcomes. Companies looking to outsource Technical Content Development must ensure that there is a meticulous vetting process in place for selecting writers and that the selection criteria is holistic in nature-extending well beyond just basic knowledge of the underlying domain to evidence of actual, practical experience in developing commercially relevant technology content.

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