This hybrid position combines the language skill, attention to detail, and ability to thrive under pressure with the writing talent of a technical marketing writer. The job primarily requires the copy editing role. However, the ability to write also is important and is a key to career growth and advancement.
Let’s describe the role of a copy editor first. From a broad perspective, a copy editor’s function is to improve any document he or she reviews. Find and eliminate errors, remove ambiguities, rewrite unclear or awkward sentences, polish the prose, and improve overall readability. In addition, as the “final eye” on most documents, a copy editor must deliver a defect-free document. Here is a list of the copy editor’s primary functions:
Correct grammar, spelling, syntax, usage, punctuation, and style. (Style is a recorded list of guidelines specific to a company. Cypress has its own Style Guide. Examples include the use of serial commas or when to use copyright or trademark symbols.)
Proofread to catch errors.
Verify facts. You cannot check everything, but you need to pick your spots. For example, you would check to determine if a URL is correct and “live.”
Rewrite when necessary. As possibly the final line of defense against bad writing, a copy editor must possess the discerning judgment to know when to rewrite, and then he must be able to do it. Examples include tightening up wordy sentences and smoothing awkward transitions.
Evaluate the organization of a document. Does it flow logically? How could it be better organized to enhance reader comprehension?
Beyond the written word, a good copy editor must be sensitive to graphics requirements and must be able to recognize flaws in the following types of graphics: tables, charts, block diagrams, schematics, and images. A good editor must point out flaws in how the content is delivered and ensure consistency in format.
In addition, this dual role requires the ability to write both technical content and marketing collateral. A technical marketing writer must demonstrate the ability to take a long—and perhaps complex—document and distill it into its essential parts. What is the main message? A writer must be able to express it clearly and succinctly to engage readers. In addition, the document must remain focused on the customer or user. And the writing must be engaging and conversational, not formal and stiff.
A technical marketing writer must have a strong command of Microsoft Office (particularly Word and PowerPoint) and Adobe FrameMaker. Other useful, though less critical, tools include: Adobe Acrobat Professional, Adobe In Design, and Dreamweaver.
A good technical marketing writer must have the right temperament for the job:
Works well under deadline pressure
Remains open-minded to other people’s suggestions and edits
Remains calm and focused while juggling tasks
Collaborates well as part of a cross-functional team
Technical content could include:
Technical reference manuals
Marketing collateral could include:
Customer success stories
A copy editor must master certain tools:
Microsoft Office (Word, PowerPoint and Excel
Adobe Acrobat Professional
Adobe In Design