How Do You Know How Many Words to Order?
When you pull up to your favorite drive-thru window, you probably already know what you want to order, right? You want a #2 with fries, a large soda, and a cookie. It’s so easy. Everything’s right there for you on the menu board, complete with pictures and possible upsells that’ll make your meal even better than what you’d imagined it could be.
But, when you’re staring at the order of a content window, things aren’t quite that easy. There are no pictures telling you how big your burger will be if you get the standard version versus the ultimate supreme item. Nobody’s there to tell you the difference between small fries and big fries. And, what if you want small fries with a big burger? Can you do that?
Of course you can. But, you need to know how to do that so your writer can give you the content you’re looking for within your budget.
1. Define the Type of Content You Need
There’s a big difference between white papers and press releases—not only in the type of content they provide, but also in the length they need to be. Press releases, for example, should be short, sweet, and to the point. The goal is to announce the rollout of a new product, service, or event while enticing readers to want to learn more about you. White papers, on the other hand, should be packed with tons of valuable information that gives the readers everything they need to know (and more). The difference between these two—in terms of word count—is likely a couple thousand words.
Press releases shouldn’t really be more than 300 to 600 words. If they’re longer than that, they’re blogs, and you’re not going to hold the attention of the press, which is your ultimate goal. True white papers tend to run between 3,000 and 5,000 words because they’re chock-full of all the beefy goodness your readers need to gain insights.
And then we have blogs and web pages. These, after all, are the most commonly ordered forms of content here at WriterAccess, so we certainly don’t want to leave them out of the equation. Recently, there’s been a trend for web pages to be longer and longer, but you shouldn’t feel forced to order a ton of words if that’s not necessary for your unique business. Let’s take an “About Us” page, for example. Your writer should be able to succinctly tell your story in about 500 words or less. If you’re ordering 2,500 words of content for that single page, you’re going to lose your readers’ attention very quickly. On the other hand, if you’re doing an employee spotlight, whereby you highlight three of your top sales people in a blog post, 2,000 words might be just the right fit.
When it comes to blogs, there is no right answer, but it’s important to understand the material you’re working with. Some blogs can easily cover everything you need to say in 400 words, particularly if your sole goal is SEO. For meaty pieces, 1,500 is often a good sweet spot.
2. Give a Range
It’s terribly difficult for writers to give you exactly what you want within an exact word count. If you give a range of 675 to 700 words, you’re not giving a lot of leeway. What if your writer says everything they need to say in 500 words? You don’t want the rest of your blog to be a bunch of fluff, nor do you want to pay for words that don’t really have meaning. On the other hand, what if the writer needs an extra 150 words to get the points across correctly? In this example, it would be better to order a range of words with a minimum of 500 and a maximum of 850.
Don’t be afraid to offer wide ranges of word counts. That gives your writer the best opportunity to fulfill your needs without needing to leave out necessary information or embellish on items that have already been discussed.
3. Trust Your Writer
Let’s say you have never ordered content before. You know you want a blog, and you know you want it to be about marketing. You’ve done some research, and you have three keywords you’d like integrated into the piece. You’ve found a writer you’d like to work with.
Reach out to your writer for guidance. We do this for a living, and we see plenty of orders. If you’re open to guidance, it’ll make the process a lot easier on both parties. The same can be said for unexpected overages. If you ordered a maximum of 600 words, but your writer couldn’t fit your content under 750 words, chances are, he or she isn’t trying to fluff the words to get more money out of you. More than likely, your writer needed those extra words to make your content outstanding. If that’s the case, consider boosting the word count to accommodate the increase. While you do order maximums within your budget, many clients offer flexibility for overages when they trust their writers.
4. Examine Your Brief and Outline
A quick rule of thumb: if your outline is 700 words all by itself, we won’t be able to give you a 500-word blog. While detailed outlines are great and give us a ton of guidance, it’s important to remember that all the words you give us will need to be integrated into the final product, along with lots of other words that aren’t included in the information you give us. As a rule, multiply your brief by two as a starting point. For a 700-word outline, a 1,200- to 1,500-word order would seem reasonable. If the writer comes in under the minimum, you can always reduce the minimum word count when he or she reaches out to you, but it’s best to anticipate a higher count when you provide a beefy outline or content brief.
Here at WriterAccess, you’ll find thousands of writers who come from all different backgrounds and star levels. When you’re armed with the type of knowledge you need to order your content, we’ll be here to help you make it happen. Get started by opening an account today!
Kristin B is interested in anything that teaches her something new or gives her a different perspective on something she already knew. She’s a self-proclaimed Learn Nerd, which means the world is her educational oyster, and she’s always seeking opportunities to learn from life’s experiences and her clients’ assignments.