When Bad Is Bad
As the song says, sometimes bad is bad. When clients feel dissatisfied with their content order from one of our vetted writers, it’s not usually because the writing’s really bad. It’s because the piece fell short of meeting the client’s expectations in some specific way. The piece may have had the wrong angle, left out an expected element, or did not speak to the right audience. I can say this from the perspective of doing rewrites for pieces from other writers that I thought were pretty good, but they were just not what the customer expected.
Humans, even talented professionals, don’t knock every single ball out of the park on their first swing, even though they want to. As a client, you might stretch that baseball analogy just a little bit further by making certain that you’re pitching over the plate.
Five Tips to Help Your Writers Meet and Exceed Your Expectations Every Time
Your order instructions guide writers. Naturally, you hope your instructions communicate your expectations. You don’t necessarily need to write a lot. After all, that’s what you’re hiring writers to do.
These tips can help you make even brief instructions effective:
1. If You’re Not Sure How to Provide Style Instructions, Give Examples
Have you bookmarked some favorite online publications? Does your company already have a website or blog with published articles or web pages? The writers here are pretty adept at analyzing text in order to emulate its general flavor and style. If you know what you like, simply link to a few examples.
2. If You Expect Certain Elements, Include Them in the Instructions
As an example, knowing when to include or leave off a call to action generates frequent confusion, delays, and revisions. Some clients expect a call to action in every blog post, but others prefer to keep their posts informative or already have a call to action on the page. If you want to give the writer freedom to make decisions based upon experience with a certain type of order, feel free to mention that too. Otherwise, make sure you include any elements that you expect to see in your order.
3. Describe Your Intended Audience
Even writers with expertise in very specific industries work for clients who hope to engage various kinds of audiences. The style and tone of a blog post for general consumers will differ from a white paper for executives to download. As another example, recruiters want very different angles for job seekers than they do for hiring managers. You’re the expert on your own unique audience, and you can help writers by offering them a description or a buyer persona.
4. Consider Formatting and Point-of-View Options
Most writers make some default formatting and point-of-view choices without instructions to the contrary.
- I typically choose to use subheadings, bullet points, and short paragraphs a lot when composing blog posts for consumers or small business owners.
- I craft longer paragraphs and use fewer subheadings when targeting CEOs or academics.
- Unless instructed otherwise, I generally link sources instead of using footnotes or just mentioning citations.
- I also tend to default to second person for blog posts unless I’m including a call to action. In a call to action, I typically switch to a multiple-first-person point of view.
I’m not defending these choices as right or wrong; however, they satisfy 99 percent of clients who order blog posts and don’t override them with their own choices. If they won’t satisfy you, you should let me know.
5. Follow Common-Sense Revision Etiquette
In a perfect world, writers would follow every instruction perfectly the first time. Here on Earth, you may find that the writer has made a mistake, or even that you left some minor instruction out. This tends to happen more frequently the first few times you work on the platform or with a particular writer. In the vast majority of cases, your concise and polite revision request will help you enjoy a more perfect product with the second draft.
What Do You Do When Things Don’t Work Out?
Hopefully, you will only rarely feel frustrated because your writer can’t find the right voice or style or doesn’t seem to grasp the material you offered. WriterAccess offers a lot of tools to help avoid this. Some examples of these tools include casting calls, writer contests, and sophisticated profile search features with samples. If you’re overwhelmed with the amount of writers you can choose between, you might also submit some test orders to narrow down your choices for long-term orders.
While we can’t promise that these tools will offer you psychic writers, we believe they will help you find experienced writers with an intuitive understanding of your needs. If you’re still not satisfied after the revision process, you can always contact client support for help. Sometimes, good writers and good clients are just not a good match, but this is actually fairly rare.
Marilyn K loves to craft blog posts that can engage your audience, from consumers to the C-suite. Just show her what you like, and she can take it from there.