Great software companies walk alongside excellent software documentation. Regardless of which stage your business is in, you will eventually need to hire specialized writers to explain how your product works and how to connect it with your customer’s systems. When that time comes the same doubt crosses every technology manager: should I hire someone in-house or outsource a technical writer?
In the following infographic, we summed up all the advantages and disadvantages you are going to find explained in this article.
Advantages and Disadvantages of Outsourcing & In-house Technical Writing
Our goal is to help you compare the pros and cons to choose the best model, from a neutral perspective, that will suit your business best.
One solution to get a technical writer, or even more, is by outsourcing. That is when you hire a company or freelancer to provide technical writing services without a direct labor contract. This model can be suitable for small businesses that lack the team and skill sets to produce high-quality content independently.
It might also not be financially feasible to build a team or a single technical writer to accomplish this task, so outsourcing looks like a possible way to invest in top-notch technical writing services without using up all the budget. You can outsource an agency or a freelancer to provide excellent content at a reduced cost.
Outsourced professionals bring different experiences from previous work in other companies. These technical writers with varied backgrounds can explain complex concepts and jargon more straightforwardly and objectively. An outsider may also provide superior content editing services and guarantee the delivery of high-quality content.
The varied backgrounds of these professionals come also with a knowledge of different tools used around the industry, and how to best use the company’s given resources. These technical writers have the knowledge, training, and abilities that are necessary to produce current, pertinent, and original content.
It is easy to get biased when you work in an environment with low diversity of information. When working at the same place for an extended time, creating new content alternatives may get the in-house writers stuck. Outsourced technical writers might provide fresh new perspectives with low or no bias—their diversity of thinking results in easy-to-understand, engaging, and SEO-friendly content.
Also, if you outsource not one technical writer but a specialized company, you can find the exact agency that fits your requirements. Thus, if you have a project with high demand and a short deadline, these teams can concentrate on meeting your business demands in time.
In-house technical writers cost a fixed monthly amount, which is very predictable and can fit on a rigid budget. The cost of outsourced technical writing services can vary depending on the requested content, influenced by its complexity, specificity, and deadline.
However, some companies, such as Write Choice, already offer subscription models where you can hire a full team to work a specific number of hours every month at a subscription cost. This model can provide predictability and constant progress in technical documentation. Contact us for more information about our monthly plans.
Compared to in-house writers, you may feel less in control over the content creation process when dealing with an outsourced team. In today’s scenario, with hybrid or even complete remote work being adopted, especially in tech companies, managing in-house or outsourced teams may look very alike.
Not having a strict contract, though, may still give you the feeling of being less in control – which you can solve by investing in an outsourced agency with top communication processes.
If you don’t spend time choosing a company to outsource, you may fall for bad suppliers. Those agencies or freelancers can bail on you during the process or even provoke worse scenarios.
Until now, we have been neutral on the analysis, but we must add that when working with an agency such as Write Choice, you will have a contract, a backup team, and support, drastically reducing the odds and increasing your chances of success.
An in-house writer can be a full or part-time employee whose responsibilities include creating written materials about your product. Hiring in-house professionals suits best companies needing an internal team to manage their product content creation and update. Usually, more prominent companies choose an in-house technical writing team because they can and want to afford to maintain and develop their professionals.
Hiring an in-house technical writer might be the best option if you need a tight focus and a thorough awareness of your company’s brand, target market, offerings, and objectives. Working daily with your market and product makes it easier for an inside technical writer to tune in with the appropriate voice and get the target audience right. With this strategy, you may increase client trust by utilizing the expertise of seasoned staff familiar with your market.
Some companies and cultures feel more comfortable and secure when working with their peers. Even with the high adoption of remote work, which makes outsourcing and in-house hiring similar regarding communication and management, some teams and companies don’t adapt to external professionals working within internal processes. Working with in-house technical writers may empower the business to feel more in control over the team, processes and the produced content.
Building an internal team to create technical content may suit some companies looking for predictable costs and a more manageable budget. Deadlines and a floating demand for content may vary the price of an outsourced team, which doesn’t happen when dealing with in-house writers. So, since the inside writer’s wages are fixed, you don’t need to be too concerned about cost variation over time.
Having an internal specialized team provides more control over the documentation process. In the case of working with freelancers, if the company and the outsourced professionals don’t have good communication or haven’t established good content management processes, you may lose part of the work if anything goes wrong with your supplier.
The more specialized the professional must be, the harder it is to find and hire them. Therefore, if you hire some excellent technical writers in-house, you must also invest in developing new skills. Learning and applying new skill sets to produce quality content may take time, so you must be prepared for the direct and indirect costs of the process.
For each industry, finding and hiring the best writers full-time can take some time. Once hired, you must provide them with efficient onboarding training to reduce their time to learn the fundamentals to produce technical content. If you don’t have an established technical hiring and training process, your writers may take time or even not perform at all.
Risk of budget waste by bad hiring process
We compared the variable costs of outsourcing with the fixed and predictable costs of in-house hiring. We didn’t mention that the fixed costs of an in-house team tend to be higher because of the nature of the contract. For each technical writer, you must pay the salary and other benefits like health insurance, rent subsidies, and travel reimbursements. If you invest in bad professionals or don’t give enough training or tools to perform, this budget can go to waste.
Less content diversity
It becomes challenging to develop diverse documents if the internal technical writing staff is short on professional writers or good market practices. Since the internal staff may lack access to specialized outside information, they are susceptible to internal bias, which could lower the content’s quality by narrowing the creative possibilities.
While there may be situations where having an in-house technical writer makes sense, outsourcing technical writing services can suit most of the companies’ needs. The contract scope may vary depending on the company’s objectives and outsourcing agencies can create custom solutions to each business.
That’s why several clients recommend the work we do at Write Choice. We have highly qualified, enthusiastic, and meticulous professionals who can help you create excellent technical content. The technical and content writers at Write Choice have engineering and computer science backgrounds and possess the expertise to push your company forward.
Join us on revolutionizing how tech companies teach their products to customers through top-notch technical documentation and content created by a collaborative and highly skilled team. Talk to one of our specialists on this link.