A freelancer will often encounter a situation where the company or client they are writing for is one that is completely unfamiliar to the writer. The company may have a desire for certain types of writings that help the company educate its customers about its products and services as well as showcase its benefits in order to increase sales and market appeal. Much of this is communicated by the company through its mission and/or vision statement and can prove to be a beneficial tool for a freelance writer.
What if, however, a company’s mission or vision statement is unclear or does not quite communicate to the writer what they need to know to write effectively about the company? In these instances it is the responsibility of the User to be clear in its communications to its writers in order to ensure that its message is properly captured and translated in the types of assignments it gives to freelancers. The following will describe how to conduct effective communication with writers, reduce misinterpretations and yield better written articles.
Review Mission Statement and Other Communications for Consistent Messaging
The mission statement and other corporate communications should be reviewed periodically for consistency and to ensure that they provide outsiders with the information they need about the company. If a writer has difficulty gleaning from the company’s communications what the company is about, it will be as difficult for the public to do the same. Starting with clear and effective core communications will only serve to aid the writer when writing on the company’s behalf.
Keep the Message Simple
A company looking to engage freelance writers for messaging should keep their instructions simple and to the point. It is tempting to send writing instructions that ask for a list of 10 points to be covered in the article along with several hyperlinks, catch phrases and keywords. These types of instructions may not contain enough information or communicate redundant ideas that do not help the writer.
Think about what you want the article to communicate from the standpoint of the customer or potential customer the company would like to direct the piece. From this perspective, the company should be able to boil down their wants to a very simple list of two or three concepts that need to be captured and communicated. This level of clarity from the company to the writer should result in more effective communication and better written articles.
Prioritize the Writer’s Focus
A company seeking the assistance of a freelance writer may ask for more than what can be communicated in a writing assignment. Ideally, an article should have a length of no more than 350 to 500 words. This length requires a company to be focused on prioritizing its wants in order to keep the writer focused on meeting those needs, as oppose to a hunting expedition which results in a confusing and exhaustive piece of writing that does not parlay the company’s message effectively to its intended audience.
Allow for Questions and Feedback from the Writer
Even if a company is unfamiliar to the writer, the company may benefit from soliciting ideas or feedback from the writer in order to clarify their message and ensure that the writer understands what is being requested. The exchange of ideas between the company and the freelance writer can be an important part of the process to help foster understanding and produces more concise writing.
This information is best communicated through the Content Runner “Style Guide.” Here, Users can make their directions as clear and concise as possible. If a Writer has an questions, concerns, or simply needs the User to clarify a portion of the instructions, they may communicate them by messaging the User.
Even after instructions have been given for an article and the writer begins the writing process it may be helpful for the company to let the writer know that any confusion or lingering questions should be discussed as they occur. Keeping open the communications channel will clear misunderstandings and make cross communication between the company and writer more effective and writing assignments better.