Should Writers Be Industry Experts?

Wordsmithie writers work with clients in a range of industries, including technology, education, finance, healthcare, retail and entertainment, as well as nonprofit organizations. But does a writer need to have experience within the industry to write the content? Should writers be industry experts? The short answer is, it depends.

There’s an ongoing debate about whether writers should generalize or specialize in a particular industry or niche. Some writers market themselves as tech writers, finance writers or legal writers. Others specialize in writing for particular formats, such as white papers and case studies.

On the other hand, many writers who are generalists can create compelling content across any number of fields and formats. And a good storyteller can bring just about any subject matter to life. Here are three things we consider when matching writers to clients’ projects.

How technical is the subject matter?

The more technical the subject matter, the more likely you’ll benefit from a writer experienced in your industry. The more familiar they are with your type of products and services, technical terminology and trends in the field, the easier it will be for them to scale the learning curve. That’s not to say a generalist writer can’t learn your stuff and write about it effectively. Some of it depends on your in-house experts and how well they work with writers.

Get a read on your subject matter experts

Wordsmithie writers often work hand-in-hand with our clients’ subject matter experts (SMEs). An SME who enjoys being interviewed, easily articulates concepts and ideas and edits with a confident hand can work with a generalist writer to produce bang-up copy. SMEs who are more reticent or have a harder time putting their ideas into words might do better with a niche writer who knows their industry—and can help them develop thought leadership.

Are we creating new content from scratch?

Clients who want to expand on or update existing content can work with either specialist or generalist writers. It all depends on how well developed the existing content is. Generalist writers use existing content as a model to guide their work. In cases where we’re creating brand new content, we’re likely to pair clients with writers experienced in that subject matter. Again, it really all depends on the client, the writer and the particular challenges of the project.

Many factors come into play when pairing a writer with a client—client expectations and goals, the writer’s experience and writing style and content format, to name just a few. Personality is another big factor that can make or break a working relationship. Do you need a writer who is low key and steady, who will put everyone at ease? Or someone upbeat and energizing, to drive the process forward? Will a writer with experience in your industry serve you best, or is a great storyteller or ghostwriter what you really need?

At Wordsmithie, we work hard to find the right writer for every client’s content development project. Give us a call and let’s talk writing.

ABOUT Heidi LaFleche

Heidi launched her writing career as a newspaper and magazine journalist—most notably as a Boston correspondent for People magazine. She transitioned into marketing communications for business, helping clients find the right words to engage their audiences. Heidi is a Senior Editor for Wordsmithie, and also runs her own freelance writing business on the side. She writes within a range of industries including technology, healthcare, financial services, legal services, education and nonprofits. Her slogan: “Every business has a story. Let’s tell yours together.”