Writing in the technical fields

So, here is a comment I got a couple of days ago on Twitter: how do I go about getting into writing on technical topics and for technical clients?

And that’s a great question! Most of my writing money comes from technical topics. I do not write generic copy for health or fitness or any of the more common niches. Instead, I rely on my two decades of experience in aerospace and aviation, as well as my extensive experience in and around the automotive industry for my work, and it’s highly technical.

You must have a technical background

This first paragraph is non-negotiable. You must have a technical background in what you want to do. It doesn’t mean that it has to be an exact match. It doesn’t have to line up exactly.

Well, for the most part. If you’re talking serious, hard sciences, then you have to be an expert in that specific thing. But that’s a tiny fraction of the industry.

My background in aviation, but as a non-pilot, has still opened the doors for dozens of jobs in all sorts of different disciplines of aviation and aerospace.

There is absolutely no substitute for experience, and these vendors are looking for that experience. It’s tough because you usually have to go out and find them, but that’s all part of the game.

You must be technically competent in your field

I’m gonna say that your next one is also non-negotiable. When I say that you need to be experienced, I’m not talking about three months as an E-3 in the Navy.

You can’t just come into this with a few months of experience and be a technical expert. It takes years of experience in whatever highly technical discipline you’re trying to sell yourself for to be worth big money. That’s just the way it is.

But here’s the thing: there is no established entry threshold unless the client specifically says so. If they say you have to have 10 years of mechanical engineering experience, then you will probably need 10 years of that experience.

So, there isn’t really one exact amount of experience that makes you an expert. Mostly, it’s just that you must convince the client that you’re an expert, and from there, your work will prove whether or not you were. In other words, it’s all about getting your foot in the door with the clients you want to work with.

So, how do I find these clients?

All right, now we know that there is a threshold entry, which is different for every single gig and every single client. But this is a results-oriented industry, so if you can deliver, you’re probably qualified.

But where do you even start?

I suggest making a dream sheet in Notion or Google Sheets about who you want to work for. Be very specific, and also make sure you have plenty of potential targets on there; the more, the better.

Once you have some pitching targets, don’t even think about starting the next part of the process until you have at least 25 to 50 targets; you need to figure out some way to reach out.

This isn’t difficult. Most of these will be companies or organizations you’re already familiar with because you were in the industry for a while; if you don’t know who to pitch to, you probably aren’t qualified.

There are a couple of ways to go about this. One of them is using hunter.io. I really like Hunter because it helps you discover the email addresses of people in the organization. It’s not foolproof, but it’s a good place to start now if you can help; you don’t want to go with the general information inbox. Do you want specifics? Go with the marketing manager if you can because he’s the one who’s gonna be signing your checks anyway.

The next way is really doing the same thing. If your pitching targets have open social media accounts in the DM’s, just go after them that way. It’s probably going to end up in the same people, i.e., the marketing department. If not, ask them to direct you that way, and they’ll probably give you a personal wow email address.

Parting thoughts

This is not a conclusive draft, but it certainly helps lay the groundwork for striking gold with technical clients. Most importantly, you must have a technical background, and the clients will probably want some evidence of your success.

Next week’s newsletter will have nothing at all to do with SEO or writing and will instead be about some key life lessons I’ve learned while workcationing here in Hawaii. LOTS of pics to follow.

SEO Tips of The Week

I’ve been on the Big Island of Hawaii for the past week, taking it all in. My wife is a sweetie and sent me here to see it for myself, by myself. Accordingly, I haven’t done much reading beyond what is required for paid work.

I’ll leave with this article that I’ve been reading on keyword research.


Resources & Recommended Reading

I finished reading “Empire of Shadows” by George Black. It is the real, unfiltered history of the Yellowstone area. It is an excellent read, so buy it and check it out.

Hey, life can’t just be all about paid work, ya know?

your first post. Edit or delete it, then start writing!


3 responses to “Writing in the technical fields”

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  2. Thank you for this post. I am curious, if someone is currently working in a technical field, could they start writing freelance on the side for the same, or a similar field assuming no NDAs are violated? Or would this cause a host of problems like conflicts of interest?

    1. I don’t see why not. That’s more or less how I got my start in this line of work

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