Writing content for pay spans more than just typing words or developing an idea into something meaningful. There is a responsibility, at least in my opinion, to write the best possible content. This is not a thing of ego or pride. It is, instead, about fulfilling my part of a relationship — the relationship between client and writer.
Content, the Internet, and Writing
Being a responsible writer goes beyond just using fancy vocabulary and unique rules of grammar. It delves into understanding how the internet works when it comes to content. It requires that we interpret what the client expects from of our work regarding SERPs. It sometimes requires a whole lot of patience.
Sometimes it involves teaching clients about the writing process or painstakingly pulling out the most common details from clients who think we may steal their million dollar idea. It may also involve interpreting the difference between what a client says and what they mean. Words are after all our superpower.
Creating Powerful Content is a Two-way Street
It is also not always easy to educate clients on the importance of identifying who their audience is and why writing to specific people is important for creating powerful content. Yet, there is a need to know this, both for the writer and the client.
Someone is paying me to create a piece of content. That content is a tool that is supposed to perform a task, and, therefore, it becomes my responsibility to ask questions, do research. The process is more than just writing. It involves working clients to produce something that is valuable to them. That is just one way to get repeat business —afterall, happy clients buy more content.
Not Every Client Is Worth the Aggravation
It takes a lot of energy to pull teeth from a snarling dog. Clients do not always make the process of producing the perfect tool an easy job. Because writers charge by the word — in most cases — producing the perfect tool needs to happen quickly and with a minimum of revisions.
Just recently there was a project that had vague instructions. The client wanted 900 words on a sensitive subject. The instructions were minimal. The client thought that by simply listing the subject that they had done their job. When asked to improve the quality of their instructions their answer was pretty much “NO.”
I can try to write the 900 words, and we can play the revision game, or I can turn down the assignment and move onto something with a better shot of meeting the expectations.
Instructions are important. Who the audience is, is important. Where the content publication occurs is important. It is not that most writers want to steal the client’s million dollar idea, but rather without those pieces of information, creating content comes close to playing golf in the dark.
Knowing where content publication occurs is important because it helps identity the voice that the publisher wants. When a writer can provide the correct voice, then it helps readers value the content more. There are many voices in writing. Which voice is the correct one for your specific project? The answer to that question comes down to understanding the audience.
Can You Hear Me Now?
Content is a conversation. Someone is speaking. To whom are they speaking? If your audience is teens between 14-16 then the words I choose to write need to fit into their world. They need to understand what the content says. Someone is talking. They are talking to teens between the age of 14-16. Should the writer say — Pathogenesis increases when people smoke cigarettes? Or should the writer say — Smoking leads to the start of a disease, such as lung cancer increases when people smoke cigarettes?
When an audience does not understand the content they stop listening to the conversation. That is not the reaction that clients want from content. As a writer, it is important that I understand your project. That is part of the responsibility that writers have. It is also part of the responsibility that clients have. Together, content creation becomes a team effort. A writer tells the story using words, voice, and structure. A client empowers the writer to create a tool (content) for a specific job. That relationship is what helps clients succeed in reaching their goal. Helping clients reach their content goals is a writer responsibility, but it is a two-way street. How is your relationship with your writers?
David S is an active organic gardener and grows 70-80 percent of his food. He has been growing organic produce for over three decades. His 2015 summer garden was successful. It is currently in transition as the last of the tomatoes ripen. He has amended the soil and planted winter greens, peas, and brassicas.