Communication is key to a good working relationship, whether it’s with your in-house team or your freelance writer. Get up to speed on the essentials for clear communication with freelance writers, so you can get the content you need with no misfires.
1. Provide instructions
Your blog post needs are clear to you, because you’ve been blogging weekly for your brand for years. Your new writer is just that – new. If you don’t provide ample instructions, your writer may make an educated guess on what you like — and, often as not, miss the mark.
Comprehensive instructions are the best way to forge clear communication with your writers. If you realize you’ve omitted something important after you have put together an assignment, reach out to the writer ASAP.
2. Give examples
It’s always wise to show the writer examples of niche content you love or deliver in-house resources that they can mine to better understand your brand. The writer won’t copy the content, but they will adopt the tone and target a similar audience. You’ll wind up with quality content that hits the mark.
3. Keep it in Writing
You may be used to meetings and phone calls, but those generally aren’t efficient ways at communicating deliverables to your team of writers.
While a phone call can set scope the outset of a project, most communication should be in writing — especially when it involves your deadline. This provides accountability on both sides and helps the writer stay on-topic.
4. Include a style guide
Be sure to include a style guide or a creative brief. If you don’t have one, think over your preferences. Should a writer use industry jargon or plain language? Do you tend to write in third person or second person? These little choices add up to a big impression on your audience.
When in doubt over grammatical choice, ask yourself what your target audience would want to see or hear. If you aren’t sure how to answer that question, your writer can’t be clear on who to speak to either.
If your guidelines change, drop writers a note to let them know what’s different. Your go-to writer may be working from memory.
5. Use Revisions Wisely
Not delighted with your content? You can ask your writer to revise.
Revisions are a learning process for both sides. You’ll see whether you omitted important information from your instructions, so you can be more clear the next time around. Your writer will learn your preferences, so they can hone their voice.
The strongest edit notes explain what should be changed and why. By contextualizing your requests, you are teaching the writer what you like and why it mattes, so they’ll get it right next time. If you just say, “change X to Y” you’re missing a teachable moment.
6. Have a Single Point of Contact
Assign one person at your organization who will liaise with writers. When different people deliver instructions, writers may be unsure whose opinion matters. If the point of contact changes down the road, have the new person introduce themselves to your team of writers and point out any stylistic or personal preferences before they assign new work.
With these 6 tips, you can steer clear of most problems and get content that delights.
Lindsey D has 10+ years of experience with content marketing. She enjoys helping clients create blog posts, landing pages, case studies, and web copy that educates, informs, delights, and engages their target audience, whether that’s B2B or B2C.