We live in a convenient world.
If you want to get someone else to write your content for you, you can, and sometimes for an unbelievably low price.
In many cases, this can keep a content marketing strategy alive, because if you had opted to do it all yourself, you may have burned out on it only weeks in.
Outsourcing is an attractive prospect. You can hire someone who not only loves writing, but is good at it, to produce quality content on your behalf.
But how you treat your writers can impact the outcome of the project as well as their willingness to go the extra mile for you when necessary.
The Dreaded Edit Request
Most skilled writers don’t just commit to paper (or digital ink) the first thoughts that come to mind.
And even if they do, they comb through their piece multiple times to check for errors and ensure the content is well-written.
Depending on the length of the piece, they will pore over the article for hours before they submit it.
But most experienced writers have multiple projects on the go and have limited time to dedicate to each article. So, they will finish the piece best to their ability, call it “done”, and move on to the next assignment.
Ah, but that’s when the dreaded edit request comes in.
The client says something like:
- This is great, but we need you to use AP style instead of Oxford style.
- This article does not have the right tone. We need you to do a complete rewrite.
- Please don’t use idioms or colloquialisms.
- There was a typo in the first paragraph of the article.
They will say these things with no regard to the work that’s already gone into the document.
They don’t consider what the writer has gone through to get this piece done. They just shoot back with, “this isn’t right, do it again.”
That writer might end up having to work evenings and weekends to field requests and edits. Even though they probably have a blog, eBook, or book of their own they’ve been working diligently on for weeks, months, or even years, and their audience is eagerly awaiting their next update, they end up having to put that off.
They might have a family to get back to, a life to live, a rare weekend to rest up and enjoy themselves. That’s not going to happen if they’re stuck with half a dozen edit requests. Too bad, so sad.
Let’s be Respectful
Your writers have scheduled and deadlines. And you, as a business owner, marketer, or blogger, also have a busy work life.
But if you’ve never stopped to think about what things look like and feel like from the writer’s perspective, I would urge you to take a second look.
Many writers don’t get paid for editing your article. Sometimes they don’t even get paid for complete rewrites!
The only thing they might get paid for is delivering quality articles on the agreed-upon deadline.
Let’s be real. Whether you’re an entrepreneur or head of marketing, you may well be important. But your content marketing strategy might not exist without your writers, so they shouldn’t be an afterthought.
Consider how would you like to be treated if you were in the shoes of the writer.
Here are some proposed solutions for keeping your best writers engaged:
- Offer specific and explicit guidelines to the writer. Be as clear as possible. Let them know what you’re expecting in terms of tone, punctuation, research, company specific jargon, terminology, and so on.
- Think twice before requesting an edit if it would take you no longer than 30 seconds to a minute to do yourself. If the writer took you 95% of the way there, why bother them with a quick edit?
- Hire a chief editor in your company and have them handle the editing part. Unless the writer submitted subpar content, your editor should be able to make it pretty and bring it up to spec in five minutes or less.
- Pay your writers for edits. Send them a little bonus at the end of the month, or pay a flat fee. Make it worth their time. Otherwise, they have no reason to prioritize your project.
- Even if most of the article doesn’t work, point out the parts that you liked so the writer doesn’t have to rethink 100% of the piece when putting together the rewrite.
Happy writer, successful content marketing initiative. Are you taking steps to keep your content creators happy?