The screening process for finding quality content writers is often rigorous. Writers must demonstrate above-average knowledge of the material in question; they must also have relevant prior experience and the ability to handle the job you’re asking them to do. Furthermore, they must demonstrate the requisite professionalism at all times. From the writer’s perspective, this process is the corporate equivalent of a job interview, and they go through this process very frequently. However, there’s one hoop that you should make a writer jump through, at least every once in a while.
Flipping the Script
As a client, you’re probably very used to coming up with the ideas for your content. You may even provide helpful links and resources for your writer to use. Writers greatly appreciate these tips; it makes their work easier, which usually results in a better piece. But sometimes it can be helpful to flip the script. Making writers come up with their own ideas can help both the client and writer to craft a piece that responds well with readers.
A New Set of Eyes
As a thought leader in your field, you probably have a good idea of what people want to read. Or do you?
It’s not uncommon for people who work in a given industry to be too close to the material with which they work. This means that they see things through they eyes of someone fully entrenched in their business, as opposed to the outsider who reads about it. On the other hand, a writer maintains the perspective of someone who simply wants to learn more about your industry. Who’s more likely to be attuned to the desires of the casual reader?
Testing, Testing, 1-2-3
Writers will often say anything to land a job. “Familiarity” with your industry may mean that the writer has read just a few articles about your area of expertise. Why not test that writer by throwing him or her the ultimate curveball?
Asking a writer to come up with their own ideas is a great way to see if they really know their stuff. If their ideas are boring and barely scratch the surface of what you do, it’s a sign that your writer is not really as knowledgeable as he or she seems. If they can’t come up with any ideas, you can kick them to the curb without a second thought. But if they come up with something unique – even if it’s something that has to be tweaked a little – it shows you that you’ve picked the right writer. You can proceed with confidence, knowing that your writer is as authoritative as he or she claims to be.
If you really want to know if your writer has what it takes, ask him or her to pitch some ideas to you. You’ll find out pretty quickly if their expertise is real or imaginary. You may find yourself learning something new about your industry and your audience.
Bryan B is a huge sports fan, particularly football, soccer and hockey. He is also a father to two perfect little girls