Working with a marketing writer, or any other type of web content writer, is unique in that poor communication can absolutely destroy the finished product. It almost always does. The success of your marketing content all boils down to its message. More specifically, how you relay the information you want conveyed to readers should be the top priority when working with a marketing writer.
Don’t Write It, Say It
When communicating online it may seem like typing instructions is the best method of relaying the necessary information to a writer. However, elements of your written instructions like context, tone, style, and the overall message, can be easily misunderstood when prompted via text. For such reason, verbally communicating on a project is often worth any extra effort involved.
Let’s say, for example, you need a 400-word article based on one of your products, which you want to feature on your company’s website. Because it is fairly typical, you type a message to the writer explaining in fair detail what you envision the finished piece to say. Specifically, you suggest that you want the article’s tone to be conservational, but authoritative. Within a week the writer presents you with the article, which is not to your liking. Perhaps because the writer was incompetent, or more likely, because he or she misread the instructions, the piece ended up looking more like something meant for a scientific journal than your company’s website.
This sort of miscommunication happens quite frequently between a client and writer. However, it has the potential to largely be avoided through the use of verbal instructions. Whether this means scheduling a meeting on the phone, or simply recording a voice memo, verbal communication is often clearer and more precise than written instructions. Not to mention, you are hiring the writer to, well, write, so typing any lengthy instructions pretty much defeats the purpose.
On the other hand, let’s say you record a voice memo instructing the writer to adopt a certain tone for the article. This way, if the instructions are still unclear, they can either send you a voice memo back, or the two of you can schedule a phone conversation.
Communication between a writer and client is definitely one of the easiest things to get wrong, yet it also remains the most vital element to any web content project. From the perspective of the client (you), it may be instinctual to take the traditional route and type your instructions, however, in the long run communicating verbally may just save you a lot of time and effort. Speaking from experience, the clients that I have worked with who give verbal instructions (while I take notes) have never asked for a revision, which to me shows a more effective method of communicating. If you find yourself failing to get your message across to a writer and constantly asking for revisions, try giving them verbal instructions next time. It may prove to be a game changer.
Jamison H is a freelance writer available on WriterAccess, a marketplace where clients and expert writers connect for assignments.