Dammit Jim, I’m a Writer, Not a Psychic!

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Freelance writers are a bold bunch of professionals. They’re talented, eager to please, anxious to show what they can, and usually willing to go where no man has gone before to make sure you, the client, are more than satisfied with the final result.

As the captain of this adventurous crew, you can help this relationship run more smoothly by communicating your wants and needs clearly from the get-go. Writers want clear leadership from the bridge. They need to know the important details of their missions up front:

  • Word Count?
  • Required Keywords?
  • Deadline?
  • Phasers Set to Stun or Kill?

Without this pertinent information, your writer might accidentally transport down to the planet unprepared, wearing a red shirt, and asking for disaster.

Give the Order to Raise the Shields

Whether your article is aimed at Klingons or Romulans, your crew needs to know your battle plan. It’s illogical to presume your writer knows exactly what you want if you haven’t spelled it out clearly in plain Federation English. Who are your readers and what conversion are you trying to encourage them to make?

Armed with this information, your writer can better determine the best plan of attack.

Don’t Be Troubled by Tribbles

If it’s your first time working with a writer, it can be easy to get lost in the small, minute details that add up to nothing: going over the word count, the use or omission of an Oxford comma or the ins and outs of the em dash. But you should know going in that fussing at your writer over small, insignificant tribbles won’t net you any points. Granted, if the tribbles are allowed to multiply, eventually they’ll become a problem that you’ll have to address, but in the beginning, one tribble isn’t going to ground your expedition.

Refrain From Gorn-Like Behavior

Don’t sever communication, strip your writer of his weapons, and then stalk him across rocky terrain. Your writer needs his keywords. He needs his title. He needs the URL to your website so he can read and study the type of content you’re hoping to buy. He wants to know what it is you’re selling and whether you want hyperlinks inside the text. Without these most basic of needs, he’ll be cornered — forced to improvise flash bangs out of nothing more than bamboo and diamonds.

If you want to lead a successful five-year mission into the deep space of online content, you must maintain good communication with your producer.

Dammit Jim, he’s a writer, not a psychic.

When she isn’t writing, Anne G watches a lot of retro television. She survives, most happily, on a steady diet of Netflix, Hulu, and MeTV. She believes the world was a kinder and more gentle place before the Priceline years.


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