How to Write a Technical Newsletter

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Adding the term "technical" can make anything seem complex, but the process of writing a technical newsletter can be deciphered. Remember, the point of technical writing is to transform the complex so it's easily understood. You don't have to study technical writing to successfully produce technical documents --- you just have to understand the theory and the elements involved with the document. With a little research and planning, even a novice successfully can write a technical newsletter.

Things You'll Need

  • Computer
  • Word processing software
  • Design or layout software
  • Printer

The Basics

  • Ensure that you have a modicum of experience with the subject you will be writing about. Though you may do additional research so that the information is current, it is not advisable to discuss or offer instructions in a field that is mostly foreign to you. Edccorp.com's June 2002 technical newsletter serves as an example of the elements and formatting found in a technical newsletter.

  • Comprise a list of the topics and facts you intend to cover. Being organized will help you be prepared and pay attention to detail.

  • Interview individuals in the field you will be covering. Outside accounts, especially from experienced professionals, lend credibility to your technical newsletter, as well as dimension. Someone new to the field might have picked up a skill that is currently only taught in schools. An older professional might have a reason for preferring a certain tool or method for a task.

  • Outline your newsletter by writing and editing your sections; this can be done on a computer or on paper. By drafting your sections now, you can begin determining how the newsletter should flow, as well as have another opportunity to cut sections that might not be pertinent to this edition. When the time comes, you will have the luxury of focusing on your graphics and the overall layout of your technical newsletter, prior to printing.

Formatting

  • Type the text of your newsletter into word processing software. While your design or layout software will have text capabilities, spell check capabilities might be lacking. In addition to serving as a general spelling editor, word processing software should allow you to copy your corrected text and paste it into a text box in your design or layout software. Doing so saves you from having to type your information twice, but also prevents mistakes you might overlook by retyping directly onto your layout.

  • Design the layout of your technical newsletter. Typical newsletter options are 8 1/2-by-11, or 11-by-17 printed front and back, then folded in half. For longterm layout design options, it is advisable to invest in software such as Adobe Creative Suite InDesign. For casual use, templates can be created in OpenOffice's Draw and Writer, or even obtained online for free or a small fee. For those who want to save paper, websites such as www.cakemail.com offer templates for digital distribution.

  • Add graphic elements to your technical newsletter. Though the topics discussed might be complex, the design of your newsletter need not be bland. Borders, images and color can be used to add visual interest. However, such things should be used sparingly; a technical newsletter is valued for the information provided, graphic design should not overshadow content. Newentrepreneur.com offers tips on how to create a newsletter with basic design knowledge, in the article "Create the Perfect Business or Organization Newsletter: Twelve Steps to Success."

  • Print your newsletter either on your home printer, or through a commercial printing company. Distribute your technical newsletter to your employees, contacts or customers.

Tips & Warnings

  • Depending on the audience and scale at which your technical newsletter will be produced, it might be advisable to consult a graphic designer to help you with your layout.
  • In a technical newsletter, your audience depends on your knowledge and expertise when you provide instructions. Never make up details when giving instructions on how to perform a task, especially when that task can be potentially dangerous.

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References

  • Photo Credit writing image by DBarby from Fotolia.com
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