5 Tips for Working with a Writer
Many organisations outsource a portion of their writing requirements to a professional - and for good reasons. A professional writer can lift your game when it comes to how you communicate externally as well as internally within your organisation.
Writers will devote their full attention to writing - as opposed to staff who may write only occasionally. They can also identify missing information and help you develop your ideas to the fullest.
Does this sound familiar?
+ Multiple deadlines are looming
+ You have limited time for checking the work of your staff
+ Your current staff are too busy to write in the volume and depth required
+ Your team are extroverts and shine in conversation - not necessarily in writing
+ Previous attempted drafts were not compelling
These are some of the common reasons teams decide to engage a professional writer. To get the most from your experience, read on for my top 5 tips.
1. Prepare your writer
Your writer needs to understand your audience. Is the audience new to the organisation, or already engaged? Share what you know as well as pertinent audience demographics to help your writer find the right tone.
Assemble a Writer’s Kit that will give context to your writer.
You can include your organisation’s:
+ Existing collateral, publications and communications
+ Previous publications and communications
+ Links to relevant pages on your website
+ Websites of other relevant organisations
+ Style Guide
+ Brand Guide
+ Templates you would like the writer to follow
+ Examples of writing you like
+ Successful writing examples
+ Confidentiality Agreements
+ Policies and Procedures documents
2. Plan a 30 min chat
Book in a 30 min phone call with your writer to discuss the Writer's Kit you have sent. The conversation is an opportunity to clarify anything that is unclear and to strengthen your working relationship. Perhaps a deadline or focus has changed? This phone call is a chance to discuss that.
3. Introduce your organisation
Writers are typically excellent observers and listeners - they absorb their surroundings and capture their observations in what they write. Invite your writer to a meeting or other relevant event. An invitation will help them understand your style, voice and values. For large or complex writing projects, this will save you time and effort in the long run.
4. Allow time for editing
Editing takes time: You need to factor in as much time for editing as writing – if not more. Understand the editing cycle. Will your writer give you one round of editing or more? Will they work with you until you are completely satisfied, or is there a cut-off point when they consider they’ve completed their job and they need to move onto other clients? Chat to find out.
5. Be clear about the price to avoid surprises
Discuss costs openly. Be crystal clear on how much your budget will allow and what products your writer will deliver. Some writers charge by the hour or will cap their costs once your project reaches a certain amount of hours. Many writers offer both options, depending on the project.
Bonus tip – Know your deadline
Projects can change quickly. Knowing when you are expected to deliver is essential information for your writer. Consider asking for a critical path of product delivery so that you know when various elements are complete. Include editing in this plan. Bring a flexible approach to the process and inform your writer of any changes in strategy, need, or deadline. Your writer can redirect their focus to support your new direction.