You have one of two decisions to make about your website content.
It’s either you’re writing it yourself, or you’re hiring expert writers to help you out.
And if you’re a believer in good content (and copy), you mostly would have considered hiring these writers to create for your business.
Heck, you probably even use them already. You understand that great content and copy is crucial for marketing and selling your products and services online. And you’re familiar with some of the success stories that people share around about using content.
Kissmetrics, for example, generated over 5,000 leads via content alone in a single month.
And that’s just one example. There are several others. If I asked you, you’d probably have your story to share as well. That’s how powerful content can be. And that’s also how crucial your copy and content writers are as well.
But have you ever imagined that you could be hindering these wordsmiths from giving you their best work? Probably not. As a matter of fact, it’s quite possible that you really are.
In this post, I’m going to share 5 tips here that’ll help you see if you’ve actually been restricting your writers from exuding great results from their work and understand how to get the best out of them.
So, am I in a good position to tell you how to get the best out of your writers? The short answer to that is yes. Here’s the longer version:
The tips I’m about to share with you are the things that help my productivity, efficiency and effectiveness whenever I’m writing for my clients. So, yes, I know a few things about how to get the best out of your copy and content writers.
Without further ado, here are 5 tips on you can stop over restricting your copywriters and content writers and get the best out of them:
1. Don’t box them in a corner
You’re the boss, we know. You’re the one paying; we get that, too. But when it comes to writing, we’re the expert. I mean, that’s why you’re paying us thousands of dollars to craft great content and copy for your business.
You know we use virtually all of our time polishing our writing skills like you put in a lot of time and attention into developing your craft or product. So why not give us enough space to give you our very best? Why not take the bits of advice we give you from our years of writing experience?
Recently, I started telling my clients that I can only deliver their work after at least 5 business days that they commission me to start a writing project. The first client I said this to didn’t flinch. I told them I’ll need 7 business days to deliver a piece of content; they gladly paid an upfront and I proceeded with the job.
In the end, it turned out my decision was well worth it. I didn’t even use all the 7 days I budgeted. But all through the time I was writing for them, I had zero pressure on myself. No rush at all. No deadline alert blaring in front of me. And so, I was relaxed and focused enough to deliver my best.
If you really want to get the best out of your writers, you’d want to take their recommendations seriously. But of course, that doesn’t imply that you shouldn’t insist on your values or the things you’ve proven to work best for you.
Also, you want to make sure your writer is experienced enough to advise you on how you should handle content. That means before hiring them, you should see their writing samples, who they’ve worked with, where they’ve been published and so on. Expertise doesn’t just show up on anyone’s forehead. It’s the experiences that we’ve had that make us beginners or experts.
2. Pay writers for value, not hours.
The value of your content is more important than the number of hours put into creating it. Personally, I’ve written content that took days to complete because I had to do interviews, a lot of research, etc. Some jobs, on the other hand, take me just a few hours to complete.
In the end, it’s the value you get that matters the most. So if you have a writer who says she’s charging for value and not hours, you’re lucky. She’s aiming to give you her best no matter how long it takes.
Veteran Copywriter Bob Bly says “Ideally I like to have 2-3 weeks for freelance direct response copywriting assignments. That gives me the time to polish, edit, and revise until I’m happy with every word.”
3. Ask them to write long-form copy and content
Not because I just like writing lengthy copy or content, but this is pretty much one of the major things it takes to get on the good side of Google and rank well on search engines these days. In fact, SerpIQ recently found that top-rated posts are usually over 2,450 words.
And you’ve probably even see other case studies from people sharing how they ranked higher on search engines just because they started writing long-form content on their site.
As a writer myself, I see more and more clients demanding long-form content of about 2,500-3,000 words long. Why? They want to get rank well on search engines. The client I mentioned earlier wanted to rank higher than the two sites ranking for a particular keyphrase. So they specifically asked for a 3000-word post on the topic:
4. Don’t be too busy to answer your writer’s questions
Great writers want to know a lot of things about you before they get started on your writing projects. They want to know who your prospects are, what keeps them up at night, wakes them up at 5 am, etc. Sometimes they even want to talk to some of your customers.
Why? They want to know how to tailor their work specifically for your business and audience. As an example, here’s a list of questions that I asked a client recently:
“…Let’s start with you answering these few questions? What are you trying to achieve with content? What type(s) of content are you looking to hire me for? Bylined posts? Ghostwritten articles? E-books? Landing pages? Others? Do you have any topics in mind or you’d like me to brainstorm them for you?”
Her reply to this email immediately showed the both of us that we weren’t a fit. And we went our separate ways.
Director of Content at HubSpot says, “…we would tell our freelancer about inbound marketing, how we talk about it, what tactics we promote, how those tactics relate to the software we sell, and how our software helps enable marketers trying to implement those marketing tactics. Remember, you get all this stuff because you live and breathe it every day. Your freelancer does not. And even if they work in your industry, every company has its own nuances. It’s your job to fill them in.”
5. Ensure their work will be edited by a professional editor
After writing a piece of content (whether or not you’re a writer) for hours or even days, you become so attached to it that it becomes nearly impossible for you to see where you’ve committed tiny blunders––just as it’s not always easy for us to spot our own mistakes. Your best bet is to get an editor to help you out.
A good editor will look at your copy with a set of fresh eyes and edit it objectively. She knows what errors to look out for, how to correct them and make your content blunder-free.
So you need to ensure that your writers actually have an expert to edit their work. It’s okay to ask them about it. Or, you can just hire editing services for them. Professional editor Anita Smith says:
“…by the time you’ve produced your final version of a piece, you have read it over and over so many times that you can’t even “see” the words anymore—you practically know them by heart. In that way, it becomes easy to overlook typos, missing words, punctuation errors, or misused words…”
What’s your experience with writers?
How do you manage your writers and ensure they produce the best results? Share your experience in the comments.