Reading. Writing. Arithmetic. These are the fundamentals of an elementary education; the basics of what we’re expected to learn in school. Some of us grow up to become mathematicians and scientists. Others are scholars or architects; builders, teachers, or business owners. Whatever our chosen profession, we’re expected to be able to write. Because communication is a necessary tool in just about every field.
So when it comes time to create content for your web site, write a blog or an article, or even send an informational letter to customers, you should be able to do it, right? Don’t feel bad if the idea makes you queasy. Just because you can put words together, and you know the ins-and-outs of your business, doesn’t mean you’re the right person to write. Let’s take a look at the options for getting good content:
Write it yourself. If you enjoy writing and have the time, then have at it. But keep in mind, writing marketing content isn’t one-and-done. You need to keep information about your business fresh, and that means carving out time weekly, or at least monthly, to create something new. When digital media like web and social became top marketing channels, I started hearing about the need to “feed the beast” with marketing content. If you let your content go stale, your online relevance will, too.
Many of my clients find themselves putting off writing tasks, and for good reason; they have a business to run. Putting in focused time to write, then edit, is hard when there are customers to serve. Some clients manage to crank out a first draft, only to feel frustrated when they find it’s too long, too short, or doesn’t convey what they’d hoped. Before you know it, days and weeks go by; the writing never sees the light of day; and your customers wonder if you’ve got anything new to say.
Hire an editor. If you can manage a steady stream of first drafts, a good editor could be your perfect marketing partner. Your editor will “clean up” your content and get it publication-ready. This is often a good solution when you know what you want to say but don’t want to agonize over every sentence. It’s important, though, to hire someone who’s got experience writing and editing marketing content. This means, don’t ask your relatives to edit your work. One good reason: They may hesitate to be truly critical when you need it. And when you find an editor you like, don’t change for the promise of a cheaper deal. Build a relationship with your editor so they’ll invest in understanding your company and your preferences.
Hire a writer. In addition to saving you time and agony, a professional writer allows you to see your business from the outside. They’ll make sure your content speaks to your target audience with clarity and the right level of detail. This means less nonsense jargon and insider-speak and more engaging content that helps you stand out from the competition. You’ll still need to provide guidance on what you’re looking for, but over time your writer will be recommending content based on an understanding of your business.
Good content doesn’t come cheap, but you should be able to negotiate a contract that eliminates uncertainty. Rather than paying by the hour, ask if you can pay by the article or project. This works as long as you’re clear on the length and complexity of the content you need. Over time you’ll benefit from consistent, on-target messaging so you can focus on running your business.
If you decide to work with a writer or editor for your marketing content, be patient at the start as they get used to your products and your communication style. Be clear and uncompromising with your feedback. A good writer will learn from your input and the writing will improve over time.
Do you need help with your content? I’m here for you.
Copyright 2019, Liz Behlke