Too many cooks spoil the soup, but what are you going to do when you have to feed hundreds of people and you can’t possibly get the job done with just one cook?
When you hire writers, scratch that, when you hire a lot of writers to work on a single project, a lot of issues come up that you never have to deal with when working on small, one-writer projects. Keeping everyone on the same page (no pun intended) can be more work than writing everything yourself, if you’re not careful. Here are a few strategies to help keep the project on-track, focused, and in-character with your brand.
Delineate and Delineate
Hiring a head writer (or two or three) to handle teams can be a good way to keep things focused rather than having to send out the same brief to a couple dozen writers yourself. Your head writers may even command sub-teams of their own. This pyramid-like approach to organization can slow the process up a bit, as work needs to find its way up the ladder, and bad leadership on just one team can slow the entire project down, so bear in mind that you’re trading work for risk with this approach.
Get a Sample Piece
Start by hiring one writer to produce a few pieces, take the best one, and use that as a sample piece for every new writer on the team. This will help you to get your vision down in black and white. It’s a lot easier to go back and forth with one writer until a sample piece is just right than it is to go back and forth with thirty writers until all their work is just right.
Keep the Team in Touch
Start a web forum or share a Google Drive folder with the entire team so they can keep in touch with one another, see what the other writers are doing, and adjust their own work accordingly. Many writing teams aren’t so much “teams” as they are a couple dozen writers working solo. Keeping your writers in contact with one another will allow them to work as a unit.
Ultimately, what you’re after is a whole lot of content that comes from many writers, but carries a single voice. If it’s in the budget, the easiest way to handle this problem is to hire a great editor and trust them to figure it out. Otherwise, your best bet is to make sure that your writers know exactly what you want before they get started.
Gilbert S is a writer/artist/editor/project manager from New Mexico. When he’s not hard at work at the keyboard, he’s usually playing online games at the keyboard, or goofing around on social media at the keyboard. He spends a lot of time at the keyboard.