When Hillary Clinton famously said, “It takes a village,” she was, of course, referring to the collaborative community effort needed to usher a child safely into adulthood. The phrase works, however, just as well in the world of web content. If you’ve got a business website that needs pages, or a blog that needs posts, you know how hard it can be to flesh out the necessary content. If you’ve tried to write all the content yourself, or even if you’ve hired a single writer without much success, you may want to rethink your strategy. A “village” of writers may just be the answer to your problems.
Freelance writers for hire are a diverse group. Each has his or her own skill set, areas of expertise, writing speed, experience and work schedule. Expecting just one of them to write all your business content—content that may include blog posts, product descriptions and even short, quirky tweets—is unrealistic. Here are some tips on how to put together your dream team, and how to manage it.
- Share the load – Good writing takes time. Usually some research is required. Once a piece is finished, it will need to be refined. Most writers re-read what they have written a half-dozen times or more, often asking themselves, Does this piece flow? Have I picked the best approach? Are there any typos? Some even like to let their writing sit a while, breathing like a fine wine, before one final round of editing. All of this takes time. Most freelance writers also balance dozens of projects a week. They may not always be immediately available. If you need a lot of content right away, it’s time to call in a lot of writers.
- Voice matters – Just because a writer can wow you with her product descriptions, doesn’t mean she’ll be good at technical writing. Another writer may grace you with witty and engaging blog posts, while fumbling over more scholarly work. That’s why you need more than one writer. Most online content brokers allow clients to pre-screen writers for the talents and experience needed for a particular project. Take advantage of that service. And don’t stop with a single team. Define your different content needs as clearly as you can and make different teams for each area.
- Fast or fastidious? Sometimes you need a blast of verbiage. Maybe you’ve just opened a new branch office; maybe you’re releasing a new product line. You’ll want a media blitz of press releases, blog posts and tweets storming across the web. That’s when you need writers with flying fingers. They’ll get you the volume content you need on time. At other times, you’ll need content with more staying power, for your landing page, for instance, or your service agreement. That’s when more thoughtful, precise writing is needed. Aw, back to the village theory. When you’re working with a stable of qualified writers, you’ll quickly learn who’s best at whipping out content fast, and who can give you the precision you need.
Speed, ease of scheduling, and industry experience: these are all easier to find when you’ve surrounded yourself with a “village.”
Kate C is a freelance writer available on WriterAccess, a marketplace where clients and expert writers connect for assignments.