Part of the advantage of working with Content Runner for your content creation, if you’ll forgive us tooting our own horn for a moment, is the chance to work directly with a community of writers. Instead of trying to describe to a third party what you’re looking for, and hoping that your criteria get passed on to a writer you’ll never have contact with, you have the opportunity to be your own advocate and get exactly what you need. But building the kind of profitable, trusting relationships with writers that Content Runner loves to foster takes a little bit of effort to master. Here are some tried and true methods for establishing mutually beneficial relationships with Content Runner’s writers.

Be Clear – Handcrafted Style Guides and Instructions

The best part about working directly with writers is the opportunity to communicate—so make sure you’re communicating clearly! This means making use of the Style Guides feature and handcrafting your instructions for each article to make sure the writer will know exactly what you’re looking for and be able to deliver it.

Style Guides
Style Guides, which can be found in your Settings, are a great way to let writers know not what you want them to say, but how you want it said. For example, while your instructions might indicate that you’re looking for an article about creative ways to add color to your home without painting the walls, your Style Guide could convey that you want the article to be written in the second person (e.g., “You can paint the inside of a bookcase for a pop of color!”), how you prefer sources be cited, and any kind of special formatting, like bullet points or section headers. You can create as many Style Guides as you like, so if you have more than one kind of article you request frequently you can make a separate Style Guide tailored to each one.

Instructions are where you get specific. Detailed and thorough instructions are especially important if your topic is niche or particularly complex, when a single sentence might not be enough to let the writer know what tone the article needs to have and what subjects it should cover. The ideal instructions should convey all the relevant details about an article: who will be reading it, what topics it needs to touch on, any sensitive issues to be aware of, whether the article should take a critical view or stay positive, and more. Any information about the article that isn’t in the Style Guide you chose needs to be communicated in your instructions. It might take slightly longer to write out lengthier instructions, but think of it this way: the more information the writer has at the outset, the less likely you’ll be to have to return the article for revision.

And cheddar, for some reason.

Mmm, tastes like friendly communication.

Be Thorough – Send Thoughtful Revisions

When you do have to return an article to a writer for revision, it’s always best to be polite, friendly, and thorough. It’s important to be specific, and provide feedback rather than just praise or criticism. Make sure you mention exactly where the writer went wrong, and be specific: if there are too many typos, list a few and suggest they read through their work before submitting it. If the article goes off-topic and doesn’t answer the prompt, it can be helpful to point out which sections worked well and then clarifying which ones didn’t. Try to keep things positive—remember that the writer is doing their best, so give them the benefit of the doubt. When I return a revision I always make sure to thank the writer for the hard work they’ve put in already and let them know I’m looking forward to seeing their revisions. To paraphrase a particularly wise nanny, a spoonful of sugar helps the revision request go down.

Careful and thoughtful reviews are particularly important if you’re interested in building a lasting relationship with the writers. It’s helpful to think of revisions as an opportunity to train the writer to meet your requirements in the future. If you’re going to work with the writer again, it makes sense to invest the time to explain exactly what you’re looking for in an article now, rather than having to send back more revisions on future projects.

Though it doesn't smell nearly as good, to be perfectly honest.

A 5-star review is almost as sweet as grandma’s cookies.

Be Kind – Rate, Review, and Re-Order

After you’ve got an article you’re happy with, it’s time to accept it. When you do, feel free to leave some parting remarks in the Notes box at the bottom of the page, just as you would if you were going to return the article for revision. Anything you write in the Notes field will be sent to the writer, regardless of which action you take. You can thank the writer for their work, praise them for a job well done, or even remind them that, in the future, you’d prefer if they did something a little differently.
Content Runner now also has a rating system where you can rate an article from one to five stars and leave comments. The comments you leave on a rating will be featured on the writer’s profile, so remember to be kind as well as honest. Since the comments left with the ratings will be associated with the writer’s profile and not with any particular article, it’s better to comment on overall quality and the writer’s skill level rather than article-specific details. Rating articles and leaving comments will help the writer establish a reputation on Content Runner and will help other Users figure out which writers will be most advantageous to work with, so it’s well worth the time to rate each article you accept. Additionally, the writer will appreciate the feedback and your kind words and be more likely to want to work with you again. It’s a win/win!

Be Proactive – Build Pools of Writers You Can Trust

After you spend some time working with different writers, sending them thoughtful revisions and kind comments when they do things well, you’ll be able to start building your list of favorite writers. As your list of favorite writers grows, you can begin to post orders that only your Favorites Pool can see and accept. This is especially helpful for those rush orders where you won’t have time to send the articles back for revision and just need quality work quickly. If you’ve hand-selected your favorite writers, written thorough instructions and a concise Style Guide, it will be much easier to get what you need. You can also send an order directly to a writer with whom you have a good relationship—just make sure to ask whether they’re interested in writing it first.

Content Runner is designed to help facilitate relationships between our users and writers, but our work is never over. Not sure how one of these features works? Found room for improvement? Have an idea that would help you connect with writers better? Drop us a line—we’d love to hear your thoughts.