Unless you are a PR or Marketing and Communications firm, there’s a chance that your organization hasn’t been hiring and retaining business and technical writing staff. It’s not a priority, and not a surprise. Companies across a range of industries stay focused on developing and distributing products and services, converting prospects to customers, and retaining those customers. It’s hard to argue with growing business entities committing to their mission, vision and core capabilities in order to expand in their market and return a profit. Copywriting, Technical Writing, and Content creation is often considered a non-critical business process, and therefore isn’t one of the top capabilities these firms are investing in.
The good news is that these professional skills and more can be sourced and managed as an external vendor relationship. It’s an effective tactic to augment and complement internal resources. And that leads us to some really good reasons to hire a freelance writer.
Marketing and customer service print and on-line content always accompanies a product or service launch. Mid-course modifications to operational procedures, or even system delivery changes require good technical writers to adjust complex information, quickly and accurately.
When it’s time to get your product to market, arm the marketing staff with information to sell the features and benefits, or prepare front line service staff for conversations with customer…. alas, where are the copywriters? Oh that’s right, we don’t have any on staff.
An option for some has been to tap the technical experts, the product development folks, the ‘Obi Wan Kenobi’s’ of the company (sorry for the shameless Star Wars plug). And hopefully the in-house go-to people have good writing skills, know how to promote the brand, are in sync with the overarching marketing and content strategy and understand distribution requirements. Limits on time and focus can impact the quality of the end product. These experts are a wealth of knowledge and insight for the marketers to glean creative inspiration. But sourcing copywriting in this manner over time, is not a sustainable solution. Even more now, in this digital age, when there is an unrelenting demand for more content, better content, customized content, etc. etc. etc. ‘Content is King’, but content is a hard taskmaster as well.
That’s the point isn’t it? Sure, but it may get in the way of creating inspiring and motivating content, or simple, straightforward technical documentation. Hey it’s really hard to come up with powerful, informative, compelling copy, when you’ve been staring that product in the face every day, and can describe every nook and cranny to an infinitesimal level of detail. (Yawn).
And the jargon. I spent a lot of time in an industry that has its own language, like many others. It’s a widely accepted fact that customers don’t understand this ‘biz speak’, but for some reason, we forget that we are customers, and that we buy stuff too! And in our personal shopping approach, it’s the clear and concise information that illuminates the products and services for us and that catch our attention. Usually that exploration is done before we purchase, and before we can begin to trust a brand, or remain loyal to that brand.
Amen! Business communication can take on many forms, depending upon the audience, the purpose, the distribution method and/or platform being used. Professional writers can specialize in certain niches such as marketing, promotion, web content, highly technical communication, customer or consumer targeted writing, or employee targeted messaging. And of course there are many more categories that could be explored across the freelance writing spectrum.
Professional writers should be hired based on their experience and proficiency in the various writing disciplines. Of course, there are writers who present a wide range of skills and experience. The complexity, size and scale of the project should be discussed at the outset to achieve a common understanding of expectations and reach agreement.
We’ve established that the salary and budget for in-house writers and creative staff is either non-existent, or is limited in terms of meeting the steady stream demand for digital content.
Hiring a contract writer that supports specific projects and/or one- off assignments is definitely the way to go, if you are a small business with no resources. Web and Social Media marketing is ideal for businesses that have limited marketing budgets, but need to reach their target customers and expand their on-line social communities.
Mid-size and large corporate firms will often consider outsourcing these jobs, and view it as an expense and resource that can be aligned with their own content strategy. These corporations have voluminous requirements for a variety of content, in different formats. The quality and consistency can be managed and delivered, if they hire the right professionals and match them to the right assignments.