If you are considering outsourcing some of your copy to a freelancer, it’s a safe bet that you are willing to make that kind of investment in content services because you want results. Whether you are looking for words that turn prospects into buyers or content that racks up thousands of Facebook “Likes” and retweets on Twitter, you understand that having a solid writer on your team is critical.
What you may not realize is that, no matter how much a good writer can bring to the table, the key to successful copy is in your hands. That key is the client brief.
Client Briefs from a Writer’s Perspective
When you engage a writer, the client brief you supply at the beginning of the job acts as foundation for the document she eventually produces. You are the expert; the writer is just there to put your expertise into words.
Realizing this, clients generally approach putting these specifications together very seriously and include all the basics you would expect: The topic, a little background on the company or publication, the demographic they are trying to reach, a list of SEO keywords, relevant reference URLs, and an invitation to ask questions should they arise.
From a writer’s perspective, achieving an understanding of these basics before typing a single word is extremely helpful. Sometimes, however, the basics are not enough. If you want help your writer to produce the best results possible, consider taking your client brief to the next level by addressing the following points.
In writing, voice is a combination of tone, word choice and approach that gives an author or publication its own personality in readers’ minds. Consciously developing your voice is critical. After all, saying that people do business with those they know, like and trust is a cliché for a reason – it’s absolutely true. Any instructions you can give a writer concerning your unique voice will help her to build a solid brand in your readers’ minds. Is your site formal and cautious? Is it irreverent and playful? Let your writer know.
Let your writer know who your competitors are and what differentiates you. A skillful writer can weave your strengths and unique approach you take to your niche throughout her copy. Clearly, this is important in commercial writing, but it can also be a big part of success in more subtle content marketing as well.
If you have developed buyer personas as part of your marketing plan, by all means, share them with any freelancers with whom you choose to work. Access to buyer personas can allow a writer to draft copy specific to the needs of your most highly-targeted customers. Higher conversion rates will be the result. This is one step you will never want to neglect.
What You Don’t Want
Finally, if there are particular topics or approaches you just do not wish to pursue, let your writer know about them upfront. You might have legal reasons for not touching a certain aspect of a topic in your writing, or it might just be beyond the scope of what you want to cover. In any case, making the writer aware of this from the beginning will help both of you save time and avoid unnecessary rewrites.
Matthew R is a freelance writer available on WriterAccess, a marketplace where clients and expert writers connect for assignments.