The Myth of the Robot Writer
Hiring a professional copywriter means taking some of the heavy lifting off of your agency staff and placing it firmly on the shoulders of your paid writer. While crystal clear guidelines can ensure that you get the content you desire, it’s also good to leave writers some creative room to infuse their copy with humanity, warmth, and voice. In other words, there’s no such thing as the perfect robot writer.
Direct, Don’t Dictate
Building a relationship with a content writer or a team of content writers often means getting to know an individual with a range of experience and expertise they can draw on to complete projects for your agency. Instead of spending time hammering your writer with lengthy guidelines that can feel a bit like a paint-by-numbers exercise to an experienced pro, work to build a relationship based on mutual trust and respect. The key here is cultivating a stable of writers whose work you admire so you can give simple, straightforward directives about what direction you’d like the work to take. If you feel the need to dictate a sentence-by-sentence approach, then perhaps you need to spend more time finding writers who intuitively “get” your agency’s style, and less time on a list of “how-tos.”
Collaboration For The Client
Now, lest you think we writers are simply a whiny bunch of iconoclasts who don’t like being told what to do, it appears that prioritizing collaboration over dictatorial lock-step has been shown to be a tenet of strong business leaders. By giving your writers a bit more leeway to run with their assigned topic, you may be surprised to receive content that feels more alive, more engaging, and, ultimately, more likely to get the clicks that you and your client crave. By fostering a relationship with your writer, you can come up with creative ideas for content that go beyond what you would have thought up on your own. If you simply force your writer to churn out the same structure over and over on similar topics, you’ll likely end up with tired content and a burnt out writer keen to search out other agencies who value their innovation as well as their efficient keyword placement.
Finding a Better Balance
So while the perfect robot writer simply doesn’t exist, that doesn’t mean that there aren’t plenty of freelance copywriters adept at following guidelines. This excellent list of tips for managing writers makes clear that you should certainly “specify the length, the tone, the takeaway and the format for the story,” but in the end, “the piece belongs to them.” The writers. The real, live, human, error-making, creative and innovative people who create the copy that can turn your campaign from humdrum to unforgettable. Why would you ever trade that for a well-trained ‘bot?
Caitlin C is a freelance writer available on WriterAccess, a marketplace where clients and expert writers connect for assignments.