If writers and content developers were mind readers, the world of content marketing would be a much happier place. Unfortunately, when you hire a content writer to help develop your marketing campaign or to update the content for your site, you are dealing with a regular Joe (or Jane). Do they want to make you happy? Yes! Do they want to deliver exactly what you have in mind? Yes! Can they read your mind in order to figure that out? No!
As a business owner or marketing supervisor, you understand your business inside and out. You know your brand better than anyone, but do not expect that the writers you hire will automatically understand these details just as well in a very short amount of time. This creates a fertile ground for miscommunications between writers and clients. Add into the mix that you and your writers will likely be working together remotely and you have a whole new layer of possibility for misunderstandings. However, with a little forethought, some of the worse miscommunications between writers and clients can be easily solved.
Types of Content
A lot of business owners who are hiring content writers are not aware that there are many different types of content they can buy for their sites. Each type of content will, hopefully, accomplish a different goal. Blog posts, journalistic articles, news articles, press releases, and B2B (business to business) Marketing each have their own purpose. To ensure that you are getting exactly the type of content you need and want, do a little homework. This will benefit you and help you to more clearly communicate to the writer what it is you are looking for. If you do not have time for that, you could ask the writer to take a look at your site and then give you ideas about which type of content would be most beneficial. A good writer will not mind doing this bit of research for you.
Specific Ideas Need Specific Instructions
If, within your own head, you see a very specific marketing campaign, or a very specific tone for your site, then you will need to couple that with very specific instructions to your writers. Some business owners figure that the writer is a professional and will know what to produce, so they leave it in their hands. However, if you need to be more closely involved with the content being developed, then you will need to make the extra effort to make sure you are completely relaying to the writer what you have in mind. Writers really do want to make you happy. Your writers want your site to do well, they want their work to generate traffic for you. They have the skills to make this happen; all they need from you are clear ideas and instructions.
If You Are Unhappy, Explain Why
Revisions are almost always a part of the content development process. Revisions are a blessing and curse. Yes, they are a pain for both the writer and the client, but revisions help clarify and focus in on the exact goal. Revisions also pave the way for smoother jobs in the future. If you find a writer who will happily and successfully do the revisions you ask for, then odds are the next time you work with them will be easier. The writer will, because of the revision process, have a better understanding of exactly what you need and want. To help a round of revisions go successfully, however, it is important to clearly outline what you are unhappy about. A simple, “I don’t like this, please re-write,” will get you nowhere fast. Keep in mind that the writer thinks their work was great, otherwise they would not have submitted it. If your first initial reaction to the piece was, “I just don’t like this,” take some time to re-read it very carefully, in light of the instructions that you provided to the writer, then jot down specific notes on what did not work about the piece. The writer will not be offended or irritated at specific revision notes. Specific revision notes makes it easier for the writer to create what you need.
To make the most of your relationship with a content writer, be informed and be specific. Vague instructions and vague complaints will lead to long turnaround times, poor connection between client and writer, and ultimately weak content.
Sarah R has been a professional freelance author for ten years, working with publishers, such as Zondervan Church Resources and Standard Publishing. When she is not producing great content for WriterAccess clients, she is busy being a single mom and homeschooling her four kids (and suffering sleep deprivation.)