Do You Need a Writer on Your Team?

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A few weeks back, we gave you some important tools and tips to use to improve your writing, and last week, we talked about how automating tasks can help you save some precious time.

Writing is time-consuming, and it takes concentration and effort, as any good writer worth their paycheck will tell you! So, if you’re coming to the conclusion that writing is not exactly your strongest suit, or that it’s not the most efficient way for you to spend your time, hiring a writer might be the best investment you'll make this year.

You may have heard that it's possible to use artificial intelligence to automate writing copy, and it's true that you can. But unless you're running an international media organization, you probably can't afford that kind of service, and cheaper options that claim to automate the writing process will probably just be a waste.

Investing in a writer can pay off in lots of ways, and it can make your marketing more effective. For one, outsourcing a task you don't like (but still need to do) can allow you to focus on the things you do like. But not only that; if you're thinking of trying out some automation tactics that we mentioned last week, like setting up pre-scheduled drip campaigns to engage your email subscribers, you'll need great content.

Here's what you need to know to effectively work with a writer and get the most out of that investment.

Before you put up a shiny new job listing, let’s consider: What kind of writer do you need, and what will they do for you?

It's definition time: 

If you’re looking for promotional content that’s SEO-optimized, or you need someone to crank out advertising copy, a copywriter is who you’ll need.

WriterFinder defines a copywriter as: “someone who writes content with the goal of promoting sales or marketing objectives. Essentially, copywriters create web content that informs potential customers and shows them why they should buy your products.”

However, if you’re looking for entertaining and engaging content that builds trust and confidence in your brand, you might be looking for a content writer: "The role of a content writer is to support the content marketing team and meet marketing objectives by creating informative pieces. Most content writing is educational in nature and doesn't feature a call to action or promotional angle."

These are very basic definitions to get you started, of course; there are lots of types of writers out there with different skill sets, so do your research ahead of time to know exactly who to hire.

Set your writer up for success

Now that you know the type of person you should be working with, make sure that the business relationship will be a positive one. 

Define your objectives clearly: Content & copy writers almost never have the exact same industry background or knowledge as you do, even if they're experienced in your issue area. So be as specific as possible when communicating your needs and what you want your writer to accomplish through their written work. If you don't know the key call-to-action you're promoting, your copywriter won't either. If you don't know what your audience wants to learn from you or what they find compelling about your brand, your content writer won't either. Do the hard work of defining your goals and your brand before you hire someone, and you'll both be a lot happier. 

Share examples: Don't hesitate to show your writer things you've written or have been working on, or collateral from other staff members. If it's not exactly what you wanted, share why. As many examples (good or bad) as possible will help your writer know what you need more of... and what you don't need at all. If you don't have good examples, find copy from other organizations or businesses similar to your own that you like, or don't like, and share that.

Involve yourself in the entire process: Decide at the beginning how you'd like your writer to communicate with you, and how often; it will take a while before your writer can generate copy and content without your feedback and edits. Although it's ultimately your writer’s responsibility to turn in final drafts on time to meet your deadlines, working with them at the project's start to refine language and hone your brand voice and tone will pay off later, when they're able to generate more copy and content in less time. And don't hesitate to inform your writer about your work and projects, so they have lots and lots of context. 

Let your writer interact with the rest of your team: Don't be a barrier between your writer and the knowledge they need to be effective. Let them meet with your other staff members, especially any issue or product experts, so they can keep gathering more information. Professional writers should ask you for this!

Be realistic about deadlines: Good writing takes time, so, at the beginning of your working relationship, build trust with your writer by having open conversations about deadlines and the amount of time it takes to create something good. If you are constantly rushing or asking your writer to rush, you won't just incur rush fees; the end product might not be as great as it could be. Allow plenty of times for revision and discussion, and make sure your writer clearly communicates how this process is handled in their contract and scope of work.

Have a shared project management tool: We love Asana for this, but there are lots of tools to choose from that can help you keep track of what your writer is working on, what the deadlines are, and what you're on the hook to review. Commit to a good tool and save yourself the hassle of long email threads and having to repeat yourself over and over about a deadline or an edit. 

Okay! Ready to find a kick-ass writer to work with? Let us know if you need a recommendation; we know some pretty awesome writers who can take your content and copy to the next level.