Ask Not What Your Writer Can Do For You

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It’s great to be in a position to pay for content. All you have to do is hire writers, cut a check, and let the writers figure out the rest. It’s so easy, right?

Or is it?

As much as you might like to think your work is done the second you place a content order, that’s not really the case. Sure, you could go off the grid and come back to review the piece at your convenience, but odds are good that you won’t be very pleased with the results.

There’s a little more to being a client than simply asking someone to do something. And that’s a good thing. Remember, this content will eventually be on your site or on your printed materials, so it’s gotta be good. That’s why you have to help your writer to help you.

Build Expectations

Writers are a lot of things, but they’re definitely not mindreaders. It’s up to you to set the scene, to get them into the right mindset to deliver great content. From the start, let them know what you expect. Go beyond a word count and dig into the stuff that really matters. Give examples of the tone you’re looking for and the layout you have your heart set on. After all, if you don’t know what you want, how could a writer possibly know?

Provide Materials

It’s the writer’s job to do research, right? Yes and no. The writer absolutely has to do what’s necessary to get up to snuff on the topic in question and that often means doing some outside research. While there’s nothing wrong with a writer searching the Web for answers, there’s no sense in sending them on a wild goose chase for no reason. Give your writer what he or she needs to get the job done, especially if it’s a specialized topic that doesn’t have a lot of readily available information. Going this extra mile for your writer will result in a higher quality article that’s done more quickly.

Be A Coach

Writers are wonderful people, but they’re not perfect. Even the best writer has a bad day and sometimes even a field expert will forget to mention a fact or two. You could tear the writer to shreds if you don’t like what you see, but a less harmful way to get what you want would be to nudge the writer in the right direction. Point out what’s good, and then mention what needs work. If a writer has a question, a polite and friendly answer goes a long way.

The writer-client relationship can sometimes be awkward, but it doesn’t always have to be. If you do your part, rest assured that your writers will do theirs. In the end, you’ll both be much happier, and that means you’ll get more than your money’s worth for some great work.

Bryan B is a freelance writer living in Long Island, NY. He likes good music, bad puns and awful movies.


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