The following has been contributed by guest blogger, Elizabethtown College student Anna Speer.
Writers no longer need to be present in a corporate environment in order to write for a corporation. Freelance writers won’t receive benefits or payroll from the company, and it’s easier to hire someone short-term for a specific task than to give them a permanent position. Writing and culture are strongly intertwined, which can make it difficult for a freelance writer who never meets their clients in person.
Some technical writers believe that corporate culture only impacts full-time writers. One writer noted that companies will recognize that the freelance writer is an outsider, and will treat them as such. Another, however, said that corporate culture is important as a means of understanding the people or business behind the project.
Regardless of their scores on a survey rating the amount of corporate culture that they deal with, writers disagreed on the importance of knowing and understanding the personalities behind the project. Generally, the writers agreed that it’s important to have at least a mild understanding of a client’s corporate culture while remaining neutral in case of disagreements between management.
What that means for aspiring technical writers is that, as with any job, balance is important. If you want to give a client exactly what they’re looking for, you will need to have an idea of how that company works. That being said, you must also remember to not get involved in any workplace drama. That’s one of the benefits of being a freelance writer- you are able to easily remove yourself from any tense situations.
Kathy Brady. “Freelance Technical Writers and Their Place outside Corporate culture: High and Low Corporate Culture Styles” Technical Communication Quarterly 20.1, 2011