Congratulations – you’re well on the way to better search rankings and more visitors to your website! But just because you hired someone to create excellent content doesn’t mean your work is done.
I talk a lot about supporting business owners with content so they can get back to the business of running their business. While this is 100 per cent true, I need support to get to the point where I’m comfortable churning out appropriate content.
Once you’ve found someone to support your business with their writing chops, make sure your communication lines are open.
You don’t see a lot about how to work with a content writer, likely because there’s no one way to do it.
People have preferences and different strategies and goals, but I will share how my process works, so you know what you’ll get when you work with me. (Some of these will be true of other writers as well.)
First things first:
At an initial meeting, the writer and business owner get to know each other and discuss things like budget and frequency. Maybe they’ll discuss some initial content ideas and share best ways to stay in contact, or schedule some future meetings (monthly, weekly, whichever works for all involved.)
The writer expects to stay in close contact with the business in order to ask questions or find guidance in the early days of the partnership. After all, you want them to provide relevant consumable content that supports what you do.
A good content writer also needs to know as much as possible about the business in order to craft content that fits your brand.
Things I need to know:
What do you do?
This is usually straightforward, but a mission statement or brief outline of the business is very helpful for writers.
Why do you do it?
Explore customer pain points – what problem(s) are you fixing for your customer/clientele? How does your product or service help people?
Who do you support with your business?
This is important to determine tone and feeling for articles. I ask for customer avatars, as opposed to current clientele. Avatars are descriptions of the client you have pinpointed as someone who would benefit most from your services or product. Learn more about creating avatars here.
What outcome do you want with consistent content?
More readers for your website? More visits to your physical location? Shareable online content that educates about your industry? How sales-y do you want your content to be?
What type of content will we share?
Are we educating people about your industry? Providing more details on your products? Highlighting staff/doing behind-the-scenes sharing? Usually it’s a combination of all of these.
These questions are important for crafting interesting and relevant content. Some articles will require research and deep-dives or interviews, and others can (and will) be fun and entertaining, highlighting why you’re a great business.
How you can help me create great content:
Obviously, I can’t speak to all content writers, but I need guidance for the first few pieces I create for a business. I’m essentially coming in blind and working from a (usually brief) conversation.
Things I need from business owners:
- Resources/contacts to provide context, quotes or more detailed information
- Content ideas/brainstorming sessions
- A contact individual who can be somewhat available for my questions
I don’t want to monopolize a business owner’s time – in fact, that’s the exact opposite of my mission statement. Working independently, but with an appropriate contact, is what I excel at. However, there is a learning curve to get to that point.
After three to five pieces, I find my rhythm with a new business, and I expect most writers would say the same. So be prepared for a bit of heavy contact in the early days, as we find a groove together.
I don’t want to waste my time, and yours, creating content that doesn’t fit your brand.