When you’ve found the content writer who seems to have an instinct for voicing your thoughts perfectly, you know you’ve chosen well. Like any good business partnership, everything just seems to fall into place effortlessly. However, even the best content creation team or the sharpest prose stylist can benefit from your help. Giving your content marketing crew some direction will help you get the most for your marketing budget and make your content sing.
What Should This Content Do?
One of the biggest mistakes in do-it-yourself content creation is trying to stuff multiple purposes into a few paragraphs. Instead of asking your writing to multi-task, let each piece do one thing and do it well. If you need a broad range of content that serves a number of purposes – article marketing, static site creation and ongoing blog posts, for example – let your content creation team know up front. Giving your content creation team direction about what the writing should accomplish will help you get the most from each project.
Your writer may ask you up front what you intend the content to do. When you can answer with something more specific than “Convince readers to buy our product,” you’ll get more effective business content.
Who Is the Audience for The Content?
Your potential readers vary in their subject knowledge, careers, familiarity with your site and a host of other variables. The more narrowly you can define your target audience, the closer your content writing team can get to reaching the center of that target. By aiming the writing squarely at your intended audience, you get a significantly improved response rate to newsletters, blogs and static web pages. Troubleshooting guides and FAQs are more accurate when they’re addressed to the needs of your audience, so it’s especially important to define your audience for the content writing team in charge of designing them.
What Voice Should This Content Have?
You wouldn’t deliver the same speech to a university class that you would to a group of friends at a party even if you were talking about the same subject. Written content has a voice too; like spoken language, it changes with the venue. Readers who come to your blog or sign up for your newsletter hear a more conversational voice than those who read your white papers. They may be the same readers, but their expectations differ depending on where they’re reading.
Your company’s image, product line and personality also influence the voice in which your content creation team should write. Think of your content as the textual equivalent of work clothes; you always want to dress your site appropriately. The suit-and-tie writing on a CPA firm’s static website should look very different from the funky, fashionable tone of an online T-shirt shop.
What Is the Deadline?
A firm deadline is a content writer’s friend. With hard and fast deadlines, writers can budget their time effectively and deliver completed projects with enough time for any necessary revisions or last-minute additions. The first time you work with a new content creation team or business content writer, you may want to be more generous with the deadline. Over time, you’ll get a better feel for your team’s capabilities and can tighten the deadline accordingly. Authors who are more familiar with your content needs and corporate voice can also give you a faster turnaround time because they already know your preferred style by heart.
Do You Have Special Instructions for Writing Content?
Any information you can give your content creation team on your company’s tag lines, desirable keywords and terms to avoid will reduce the possibility of time-consuming revisions. Don’t be shy about giving detailed instructions to your team; writers are used to working with clients who have highly specific directions to include certain phrases or exclude a competitor’s tag lines.
Effective writing speaks the language of those who will read it. Help your writing team speak your readers’ language by giving them a clearer picture of who those readers are and what you’d like to say to them.
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