Nitty Gritty Winging It: Effective Client-Writer Communication
Working with a good writer isn’t that unlike making bread – you provide the right mix of ingredients and a little cooking time to the right starter and voila – your bowl of powdered potential becomes a wonderful finished product. If you happen to add too much salt, or not enough flour however, even the best starter won’t be able to create that lofty loaf you had in mind. Using effective communication to bridge between your ideas and your product specialist or press release writer’s results is key to setting yourself up for success. Here’s how to take your ideas and hopes for a content piece and turn them into ‘ingredients’ for your writer:
- Past Successes Make Excellent Guides. If you’ve seen an excellent example of what you consider great writing, share it! Whether it was a previous blog post at your own company or a competitor’s ad campaign, reading through something that you hold in high esteem will help your writer determine what you’re looking for in their work.
- Be Specific About Length. When discussing the ideal length of your content piece, terms like “about average” are highly subjective and increase the potential for miscommunication. Determine an ideal range, such as 800-1000 words, and instruct your writer to aim for it. For a special instance, such as a press release writer, page lengths may be more appropriate.
- Make Check-Ins a Habit for Longer Pieces. If a 4,000-word e-book is going off the rails and away from your vision, it’s far easier to course-correct halfway through as opposed to completely rewriting a botched product after the fact. Consider hiring a handful of writers for small test jobs to get a feel for their individual tones, awarding the large project to the writer that comes closest to your expectations.
- Try Explaining Your Needs Through Customer Impressions. If you find yourself struggling to properly explain the content idea you have in mind, try expressing what you’d like the reader to feel after seeing it instead.
- Make Your Deadlines Transparent. If you’re placing a writing job on a freelancing site, your ideal timeframe might not always fall within the site’s structured writing time periods. Adding a note to the order that you “need this article before 4pm PST on the 5th” will help your writer prioritize and get you a finished product when you need it, rather than when the timer runs low.
- Ensure You and Your Writer Are on the Same Page. If your product, service or company is highly technical, seek out a writer that demonstrates understanding of your industry through past work or expertise. You’ll have less to explain and the project is likely to go a lot more smoothly.
While these project guidance steps aren’t necessarily a ‘magic pill’, they’re an excellent start to tracking down the perfect blogger, article specialist or press release writer for your needs. Questions, crossed wires and murky direction can hold up your progress, so nip them in the bud with good communication practices and you’ll be well on your way to content mastery.
Delany M is available for projects at WriterAccess.