Tip #1 Define your objectives. Are you trying to increase awareness, entertain or solicit a response?
Tip #2 Know what specific areas you want covered. A brainstorming session with a writer will help clarify your thoughts and the direction you want to go.
Tip #3 Suggest resources you know and trust. If you are asking a writer to talk with a customer, contact the customer in advance to let them know a writer will be calling. If you are interviewing sources within your company, let the writer know the best way to reach them. Provide email addresses as well as cell phone numbers. It is much more efficient to arrange a time for an interview via email, than via phone.
Tip #4 Think about tone. How do yo want the copy to sound? Do you want it to be conversational or authoritative? Funny or serious? If you are having a hard time defining it, find examples of writing styles you like and forward them to the writer.
Tip #5 Learn about word counts. How many words do you need? Do you want the writer to locate photography? These are variables that should be decided at the outset. You may not be used to working in word counts, but having a good idea of length makes for a more efficient process. If you ask for a 300 word blog post, don’t accept 1,000 words. It’s a lot harder to write concisely than it is to write “long.” But don’t ask the writer to cover the world in 300 words, either.
Tip #6 Set a realistic deadline. Most writers need three to four weeks for a feature article, especially if there are a number of people to interview. Your writer will likely be working on other projects as well as yours. Sometimes there are stumbling blocks, such as a person that is not available for an interview.
Tip #7 Give good feedback in a timely manner. A few days or even a week after the copy is submitted is fine. Personally, I like to see edits in RED. It helps me understand what you like and don’t like. Learn how to use “Track Changes” in Microsoft Word. If the writer missed the mark, a phone call, rather than an email is probably a better way to get the project back on track. Avoid the temptation to re-write the piece. That’s what you are paying for.
Writing is a time-consuming task that requires skillful attention. It is difficult to find the uninterrupted time you need to write. Hiring a professional writer is a great way to get the kind of engaging, valuable content you need to drive traffic to your website. Have you worked with a writer before? What do you think is most important to a successful outcome?