What Is Non-Technical Writing?

Malcolm Tatum
Malcolm Tatum

Non-technical writing is a type of business writing that is intended to provide general information that is likely to be helpful to the reader in some manner, but is not concerned with assembling facts, figures and instructions for the benefit of that reader. In terms of relations to business activities, non-technical work is often a component in the creation of copy for advertising campaigns. This includes the preparation of press releases or even sales collateral pieces that are intended to motivate potential customers to learn more about the goods and services offered by a business.

Writing for advertisements is one example of non-technical writing.
Writing for advertisements is one example of non-technical writing.

While both technical and non-technical writing has a goal of informing readers, the type of information provided is different. With technical writing, the focus is on providing hard facts that are backed up with verifiable information. A common example in technical writing for businesses would be a brochure that includes a step by step process of how to operate an appliance sold by a particular company, or the instructions for making use of a given service such as initiating a conference call with a particular service provider. By contrast, a non-technical writer would focus on copy that entices consumers to look into the benefits of doing business with a given company, based on general information regarding quality, products offered and strong customer service ethics that are portrayed in writings published in various venues.

In order to craft pieces that do not mislead consumers, non-technical writing involves paying attention to the facts.
In order to craft pieces that do not mislead consumers, non-technical writing involves paying attention to the facts.

Non-technical writing is seen in magazine and newspaper articles, as well as fiction that may be created in order to promote products. One example of the use this type of writing as fiction is in the preparation of scripting for radio and television commercials. Here, the goal is often to create a plausible situation that consumers can readily identify with, then bring whatever conflict is present to a conclusion thanks to the use of the products being promoted. While the specifics regarding how to use the good or service are kept to a minimum, the general purpose for that product is presented. Assuming the presentation is effective, consumers move on to looking into the product in more detail, which in turn often leads to exposure to technical information about how to go about actually using those goods and services.

The act of non-technical writing does involve paying attention to facts in order to craft pieces that do not mislead consumers. This means avoiding claims that cannot be substantiated or presenting a product as easy to use when in fact the usage is somewhat complicated. While there is a great deal of room for creativity in non-technical writing, the ads and promotions that are developed must ultimately be in harmony with what consumers encounter when they seek to learn more technical information about those products.

Malcolm Tatum
Malcolm Tatum

After many years in the teleconferencing industry, Michael decided to embrace his passion for trivia, research, and writing by becoming a full-time freelance writer. Since then, he has contributed articles to a variety of print and online publications, including wiseGEEK, and his work has also appeared in poetry collections, devotional anthologies, and several newspapers. Malcolm’s other interests include collecting vinyl records, minor league baseball, and cycling.

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Discussion Comments


@disciples - I was once a lot like you and now I am a full time freelance writer and making a pretty good living. I wish that I could give you some super secret tips but the best advice I can give you is to be persistent.

It took me almost a year before I really started to establish myself. I worked a second job and wrote whenever I had time off. Jobs were sporadic and the pay was sometimes terrible.

But as I accumulated more samples and made contacts and learned what people in the industry were looking for I started to get better jobs. And now I have more work than I can handle. I am even thinking of hiring a second person to subcontract some of my work.

So stick with it. It is possible and you do not need to be Shakespeare to make it happen for you.


I am really interested in picking up writing jobs for money. I don't have a lot of technical expertise or background so I think that part of the writing spectrum is off the table for me but I would still like to break in to non-technical writing.

Where can I find jobs and what kinds of qualifications are they looking for? I have a college degree and samples I can show them but I can't honestly claim to have a lot of experience. Will they hold that against me?

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