Crushing Content: Secrets to Great Writing from a Top Performer
Miranda B. is one of the elite 6-star writers at WriterAccess, constantly crushing content creation and earning 1,881 exceed expectations with her article writing skills. She currently lives in South Dakota, but her writing soul was born in Georgia. When she’s not writing content or traveling, she spends her spare time reading, along with researching, plotting, and character creating as she writes fiction.
For the past couple of years, she has focused on content for medical clients and the trucking industry. Recently, she’s switched gears to include government proposals–those nifty RFPs–which she finds challenging in the best way possible. This continuous evolution in content writing keeps Miranda’s mind sharp and her skills fresh.
What do you need to deliver your best work? Creative briefs? Samples? Concise instructions?
Give me everything, including the first draft, please! I’m kidding. When I’m working with a new client, I prefer to have more information than not enough. One-liners or short phrases for the instructions leave too many holes for me to fall into.
At the same time, sending me a novel worth of instructions is no bueno. If the instructions are longer than the content I’m writing, that’s exceeding my expectations for instructions. It forces me to spend way too much time in a box when I could be spinning my creative sugar. On the other hand, creative briefs and samples are sweet as pie because they are clear-cut examples for voice and stylization.
However, once I’ve started working with a client, concise instructions make for the best recipe. It saves me writing time when I don’t have to read over detailed notes for each and every assignment. Also, it assures me that the rules have remained the same since the last round of content.
This is good. I know what is expected, what works, and how to handle the project without starting from scratch.
Do you work best under pressure? Or are you a planner that stays way ahead of the delivery goal?
Let’s see, pressure versus planner. I’m a healthy batter blending the two. Back to the new client scenario. When I’m working with someone new, I need time to absorb the instructions. This fermentation time helps me come up with off-the-wall approaches and ideas for the content. So in this case, planning is paramount.
Now, when it comes to clients I’ve written for before, I’ve already gone through this process. Existing clients, 99 percent of the time, want the same type of content but with fresh ideas.
So I’ve already marinated in the structural juices. All that remains is for my creative brain to bake up a new batch of content. In this instance, I work better under pressure. This means I give myself the minimum amount of time it should take me to research and write the content. Typically, I beat the clock.
If I sit around “planning” content I already have experience creating, I’m really just hoping that the content will cook up for me. This is textbook procrastination. I end up stressed out and anxious knowing I just have to do the old put-my-butt-in-the-chair routine.
Are you pitching topics to your best customers? And if so, does that motivate you more to create better work?
Yes! My best customer to date, whom I’ve worked with on content creation for more than two years, contacts me every Monday for pitches. I work as a team with the SEO analysts and social media community manager from the client’s company.
Together we pitch ideas, most of which come from me because I have a front row seat to what’s new that week. They approve them or we bounce around alternatives. Everything else from word counts to next week’s focus is discussed in-conference. Then I’m ready to roll with content creation for the remainder of the work week.
So, what one secret could you share with our audience that might help them earn those “exceed” expectations?
Does it have to be just one secret? Again, the humor.
Stick with me here; I’ll try to condense this into a single sauce that can be used by most content writers among different types of writing styles. I discovered my niche in writing, a subject I can cover from a professional angle that I have personal experience in. This is commercial truck driving.
Random–I know! I have never been a trucker, but I grew up with truck drivers all around me. I know what truckers want to hear about in web content and trucking blogs, and that is truly the secret ingredient.
You have to know the audience you are writing for quite intimately so you can create content that shines in their eyes. The audience will come back for more, and they’ll leave comments and share the content on social media. That is what the client wants. And if you give the client what they want, they give you what you want—exceeds expectations each and every time.
About the author
Miranda B specializes in travel writing with a focus on cultural aspects including the truck driving industry, ecotourism, road trips, solo female travel, and culinary delights from every plate on earth. As a freelance writer Miranda is equally interested in all aspects of creative nonfiction, whether writing product descriptions, press releases, website content or rock-and-roll trivia questions.