writer

Are you keeping an eye on your content writer’s work?

Somewhere along the way, the importance of having a great writer on board became overshadowed by other positions of significance in the workplace. Sales Persons, Human Resource Managers, Controllers, Web … "/>

Evaluate Your Content Writer in 6 Easy Steps

writer

Are you keeping an eye on your content writer’s work?

Somewhere along the way, the importance of having a great writer on board became overshadowed by other positions of significance in the workplace. Sales Persons, Human Resource Managers, Controllers, Web Developers and Graphic Artists carry a lot of weight.

But your Content writer controls your branding.  That’s pretty powerful!

Branded

Branding isn’t a shiny word that only top floor marketing executives get to use.  It’s yours.  Your voice.  Your vision.  Your responsibility.

Branding is an important piece of the puzzle for any business. Embrace it. Own it.  If you, yourself are not generating the content to create and enforce your brand, hopefully you have a writer who understands:

  • The power of words
  • Your voice – AND the persona of your prospect
  • The importance of the role in which you’ve entrusted them

Does your content writer have what it takes to ensure your brand doesn’t go down the tubes with his or her next article?

Here are 6 ways that can help you determine whether your content writer is up to par.

1.  Is your Content Easy to Read?

Unreadable-text

Relevant and informative copy is essential, but it may not reach your intended viewers if it looks like they’ll have to trudge through long paragraphs to uncover the message.

Your content should include:

Strong Headlines

As well as Sub-headers. These are easy on the eyes.

Bullets that enable readers to scan and quickly assess the information in your article, and decide whether they want to commit to reading what you have to say.  Bullets can include:

  • Valuable Facts
  • Statistics that add credibility
  • A Tease / Hint of news that can be found in the rest of the article

Quality information should not be left out in order to produce a simplified layout.  Your writer should, however, know how to use headers and bullets to break up the information in categories that can be quickly identified.

2.  Is Your Writer’s Head in the Game?

Soldier

Nothing turns a reader away like a writer spouting off facts that were relevant six months ago, and therefore old news today.  Your writer should be as engrained into your industry as you are.

This means, that your writer regularly:

  • Scans the top websites in your industry several times a week
  • Downloads white papers and learns from them
  • Blogs, posts, shares information from white papers, articles and case studies
  • Updates your website with new content
  • Incorporates a Call to Action and Conversion form in all correspondence.

(This means knowing just WHAT will entice your customer to take action.)

Your writer can’t be informed of the latest industry trends if he or she is not doing these things.  You’re extending a lot of trust when you give a writer the honor to write on your behalf.  Make sure they’re proactive at looking out for your brand.

3.  Would Your 3rd Grade Teacher Be Proud?

If your writer misspells words and makes grammatical errors that give you a flashback to your disappointed 7th grade English teacher, find another writer.  The “tisk, tisk,tisk” memory is not worth the stress.

only-lanoguage

In all seriousness, a good content writer doesn’t make grammatical or punctuation errors, and for goodness sake, with spellcheck on practically every computer, there’s no excuse for incorrect spelling. If your articles have misspellings, then you’ve got yourself one lazy writer.

Sound harsh?  Perhaps, but think logically:  If your writer doesn’t have the basics of proper writing in his or her adult life, he or she probably never will.  Remember, this is a reflection of you and your brand.  Maybe your writer can still work for you in a different capacity.  Your content shouldn’t be left to chance.

4. Fact or Fluff?

Is your writer researching a topic and incorporating facts into your article?  Adding links or quotes from other sources is a sure sign that your writer applies due diligence.

If the article lands on your desk with only your writer’s take on the topic, send it back.  Hopefully you’re not under a deadline to submit it in the next hour.  You know the saying:

“Opinions…everybody’s got one.”

Prospects who read your work are doing so because they’re in search of an answer, not an opinion.  Your writer should address a pain point and provide a solution based on facts.

5.  Does Your Writer Give Due Credit?

Quotes-source-unknownIf your writer is including facts from other sources, then these should be properly noted.

Imagine your Research and Development Department discovering that a natural resource could be incorporated into your everyday widget, yielding the power to save thousands of lives every year.  As your company gets the green light to produce the product, you make your big announcement.  What if the day after basking in the glory of media attention and recognition, your competitor shouts your discoveries from HIS rooftop?  Not cool.

According to a recent article by Craig Silverman, the news media set a historical precedent of this type of behavior.  Journalists are notorious for not acknowledging their competitors who broke a story before they did themselves.

“That’s why you’ll still sometimes read a news story
that refers to ‘a report today’ or ‘media reports,’
without naming the source. The standard operating
procedure in newsrooms was to re-report the story
just so you could run it without having to note
that the crosstown rival got there first.”

This is simply bad practice.  On the other hand, if your competitors spread the word of your new development along with facts from your findings, by blogging about it and giving you credit, or even better = linking to your site, then it creates a respectful win-win.

Silver says:

“If your relationship with your customers or clients is
so tenuous that sending them to a useful link
on a competitor’s website will damage your standing,
then maybe linking out is the least of your troubles.”

A good content writer puts time, energy and care into an article. A writer who claims another’s work as his or her own without crediting the source, is unacceptable.  This can place an embarrassing mark on your brand overnight.  For insurance, make sure your articles include at least one source.

6.  Do Titles Match the Content?

It’s exciting to come up with a creative title or headline.  Edgy, or humorous, or those that include a timely fear-factor are most likely to catch the attention of your reader and reel them in to read more.

As your viewers anxiously read sentence after sentence, digging for that answer they seek; or the punch line that just may turn their day around…imagine how frustrating to reach the end of the article and realize the writer went off course and never delivered on the promise of the crafty headline?

Shape-Ups

We’ve learned to be skeptical of ads and false claims.

Readers are immediately turned off when the title, the promise, or the topic is not addressed by the content.

Skechers declared that their shoes would tone the body and increase weight loss.  This stretch in truth cost them $40 MILLION.

Will a misleading article headline lead to a financial loss?  Not likely, but it may cost you in other ways.  Your credibility, being one.  Can you afford that?

An experienced content writer stays on course.  Sometimes, in the middle of an article, information is uncovered that is far more valuable to the reader than the topic your writer originally planned to address.  When this happens, the title / header should change to reflect the content.

Does Your Writer Meet These Best Practice Recommendations?

If not, it’s time for a serious sit-down.  Never underestimate the importance of what your writer is putting out there.

Chances are, your web developer and graphic artist pulled off a winning website; and your salesman worked hard to turn a prospect into a customer.   Your new customer decides whether to continue to do businesses with you based on their last purchase or customer service interaction.  One bad interaction can turn your hard-earned customer into your competition’s new client.

So much focus and energy is applied to maintaining that very important client.  Sales teams are guided, HR and Customer Services employees are trained, and Executives implement quality assurance measures, all to keep that delicate new client on board.

The truth is, if your writer made a bad first impression on your prospect, all of the talent, measures and QA in the world won’t turn him or her into your client.

Your prospects can only go by what you tell them – Or by what your content writer tells them.  Your writer controls your brand.  Start to finish.  Find one that lives and breathes these basic fundamentals.

What are your thoughts?
  • Does a great content writer carry as much weight as the rest of a successful team?  More weight?  Less weight?
  • Are you a writer who has implemented these 6 core elements?  Do you have another key “must do” that you’d like to share?

 

Make sure your web content writer avoids these 8 common mistakes as well.

css.php