Difference between Copywriting and Technical Writing


It is important for marketers to understand the difference between technical copywriting and technical writing. First, let’s delve into the murky role of a technical writer.

When we describe writers working for a company dealing with technology or software, we usually call them “technical writers”. But “technical writer” is most often a misnomer because it doesn’t accurately reflect the writing they actually do.

In most cases, when a company wants a “technical writer”, it usually means they want a copywriter who is well versed in the type of technology that the company is selling. Unfortunately, very few copywriters have enough background in technology to truly understand how to market the company’s technical products in a compelling way.

“Technical copywriter” is the best term for a copywriter who specializes in selling software or technical products and services. It can be thought as an overlap between technical writing and copywriting, with a lean towards copywriting albeit subject to some special rules for marketing technically-oriented products.

In a nutshell, these roles can be defined as:

Sales and marketing of technical products follow a special set of rules because, anytime technology is involved, clarification is just as important as persuasion.

With non-technical products, persuasion alone is often enough as the “how-to” is straightforward. However, with technical products, it is important to clarify how they work before attempting to persuade the buyer of their benefits. Attempting to persuade a confused prospect to buy your product is futile.

For this reason, technical copywriting is one of the most difficult forms of copywriting, but also yields the most value for sellers of technical products and services.

What Do Technical Copywriters Do Exactly?

To distinguish between technical copywriters and technical writers, one needs to first understand what a technical writer does.

A technical writer explains what a product does and how to use it. In the work of a technical writer, there is neither any sales writing nor any use of marketing strategies. Although user manuals, product specifications, and how-to articles are dry and boring, they are never meant to be read in entirety before a sale is achieved. They are used as reference guides for users who have already bought the product.

The Rules of Technical Writing

Deliverable From Technical Writers

The Goal of Technical Writing

To encourage post-sale self-support: show how the product works and how to use it after a customer buys it.

Technical copywriting, especially B2B copywriting, is a special subcategory of copywriting with its own set of rules not applicable to selling non-technical products. Generally, copywriters write persuasive copy to promote the benefits of products and services rather than emphasizing their features.

All types of copywriting, including technical copywriting, involve emphasizing unique selling points to set oneself apart from competitors. The goal of all copywriters, including technical copywriters, is to help potential buyers overcome real or imaginary objections while using a powerful Call-to-Action persuading them to buy or subscribe.

The Rules of Technical Copywriting

Deliverables From Technical Copywriters

Goals of Technical Copywriting

To educate and to sell. In other words, to clarify how the product benefits the customer and to persuade the customer to buy.

For corporate and business communication material and B2B communication, technical copywriters are especially valuable in giving these companies the most bang for their buck. They understand how to describe technical features of a product while maintaining a clear sense of sales and marketing objectives. Technical copywriters may also have experience in technical writing and thus offer both services depending on the needs of the company.