Recently, I’ve had a few clients come to me from The Sporting Goods Company (TSG), where I am a sales copywriter and technical writer. What they needed was a new sales copywriter to work on their technical and bi-lingual magazines. It made sense for them to bring in a seasoned technical writer/copywriter to do the writing for them, and then keep the production details in house so that they didn’t have to outsource those tasks.
What they wanted was a technical copy writer who could write technical articles for them that would be geared to attracting a niche consumer for their products. They already had many technical articles written but wanted additional articles in their genre, such as health/fitness, technology, home repair and other things. So I did a search online to find someone who could write those types of articles. A few names showed up on the lists I came across: David Steele, Mark Zucherberg, and Bryan Keetman.
These are all good names to be affiliated with and good people to do business with. I met David and got to know him during one of our training, so I thought I’d ask him a few questions before committing to hire him. David is a very energetic technical copywriter who seems to always be on the ball. He comes up with new ideas that will help the company grow.
I asked him about his background and what he did to get into sales copywriting. He told me that he grew up in Southern California and also studied acting in high school. He said his career path really began at Xerox in Hawaii, where he worked in digital imaging. He worked there for about six years and then went on to start his own direct marketing firm. Now he was a technical writer/copywriter for a number of different companies.
One of the things I really impressed him on was how detail-oriented he is. He told me how he goes from idea to add in a matter of hours – sometimes even minutes. He wanted to make sure that the client is happy with the end product, so much so he wanted to make sure the sales copywriter could write a custom sales page without looking like a copywriter. He wanted the sales page to speak to the target audience and not just some broad demographic. This is key, especially in today’s very competitive world.
Another thing I learned is that he wants to understand the technical side as well as the creative. He said he wants to understand everything from the product’s technical components to the content’s design. So you might be asking yourself, “Why does he need to know technical copywriter stuff?” Well, because a technical copywriter needs to have an understanding of how the product works and what its user interface is like, in order to explain it to potential clients. In addition, the technical copywriter needs to be able to analyze the customer’s needs and requirements and create a copy that addresses those needs. If a technical copywriter doesn’t understand the end user, the sales copy will not succeed, regardless of how beautifully written it is.
Technical writers are really only needed when a company has several different departments that need to communicate with one another. For example, if there are three or four departments that sell brochures and literature, then having a technical writer is important so that all of the departments can get their own versions of the book. The sales copywriter needs to be able to understand the technical elements as well as the audience, so that the entire message is understandable to all who read it.
It really is an exciting job and one that I would really enjoy working at. The other thing I found out is that you never really “finished” the project. You always have to learn new techniques and keep an eye on your competitors. In fact, when I worked for a major company, we hired an entire department of sales copywriters.