As a writer, one of my top priorities is to make life easier for my clients. I know when marketers hire me, it’s not just because they need a white paper or a case study.
What they really need is someone who can get the job done—and well—without a bunch of hand-holding. You know, so they can check that task off their to-do list, not add to it.
But no matter how committed I am, one simple truth remains: it’s not just what I do that determines the success of the project—it also depends on what my clients do.
So what can you do to make sure your next writing project’s a home run? Here are four things your freelancer needs from you to knock it out of the park.
1. Relevant background info
A professional writer can and will pore over your website to learn about your company. But depending on your website, that may mean sifting through a ton of information, or practically none at all.
Point your writer to those resources that are most relevant to the current project. Press releases, marketing collateral, internal memos and talking points—all of these can provide crucial insight into your company.
2. Solid sources
In my experience, the difference between a good piece and a one that truly kills it often comes down to the experts provided by the client. Whether quoted directly in the piece or not, sources serve as the foundation of the piece itself.
When referring your writer to a marketing colleague or technical expert, choose sources who are good communicators. Consider whether the source needs to have an in-depth understanding of your company, or if you need someone who can provide an impartial perspective.
3. A project advocate
Every project needs an internal champion to keep things running smoothly. With everyone’s insane schedules, it’s common for internal folks to put off interviews, not return emails and leave important questions unanswered. And while good writers have that ideal combination of politeness and persistence, it’s easy to see how quickly a project can run off-course without an internal advocate.
If you’re the designated point person, that means being part of the planning phase, helping determine the piece’s purpose and objectives while setting expectations for team members. During the project, you may also need to remind your colleagues to do their part in terms of making time for interviews or reviewing drafts.
4. Support during revisions
Competing egos, conflicting viewpoints and last-minute scope changes are just a few of the problems that can crop up during the editing phase. To ensure your project makes it to completion, you need to help your writer navigate a group edit situation.
Things you can do to avoid problems include:
- Have a meeting to determine the goals of the piece so that if competing interests arise, you have a path forward (and solid rationale for making those decisions).
- Tell your writer how to interpret conflicting comments, including whose input takes precedence.
- Pick good reviewers who understand the big picture, instead of those who tend to focus on nitpicky details.
It’s possible to get a project done without this kind of support. I know because I’ve been there, bringing projects across the finish line where the client simply did not have the time or inclination to be involved. But in the end, they weren’t the home runs that I hit with clients who were willing to be an engaged partner.
Have questions about planning your next project? Email me at racheltracy [at] oncallcopywriter.com.