Sure you can write your blog posts, articles, pitches to the media, reports, ebooks, social media posts, and create content from your speaking engagements… but let’s be honest, you’re not doing it. Why? Because there are a million other things that pop up on your list and you can always do your writing tasks later. But it never seems like there is time to get those tasks done. Am I right?
This is when it makes sense to outsource your writing. But before you do, I’d like to offer you some strategies for getting the most out of the money you will spend on a high-quality writer.
Come prepared with your goals
“I am looking for magazines to feature articles about my product.” <– This is not a goal, this is the beginning of the conversation about your goal.
My first question to people looking for media placement is what material have you put out there already? Do you have a blog, are you a guest in any podcasts, do you have any media placements? Do you have any published pieces with your name on it? This makes a huge difference in your ability to get into highly competitive publications.
The second question I have is, what are your goals with gaining media exposure? And which publications? They are all different and have different editorial guidelines. Most media outlets like Forbes, Entrepreneur, and Fast Company are not looking for articles specifically about your product. Instead, it would be more about you, your company, and how you solve a consumer problem.
An excellent example of a media goal is: “I have a really great system for recruiting that has led to hiring some really talented people that implemented XYZ at my company. I want to talk about leadership and creativity in Fast Company.” From here, we can design a strategy for how to work our way into that.
Do not ghost your writer!
Your writer, even a ghostwriter, needs to spend time with you. Hiring a ghostwriter does not mean you deliver a couple of ideas of what you want in your article, and then you drop off the grid for two weeks, assuming they will magically deliver content like some kind of mind-reading genie of letters.
I think when people hear the term ghostwriter, they assume that you can just put them on autopilot. And while that is possible, buyer beware: you are getting a one-sided interpretation of your thoughts and your business. This is especially true in the early stages before they really know your personality and stance on issues. That is not what you are paying for… if it is, you are doing it wrong.
The more that you can share your personality with your writer, the more they can step into your shoes with your content. By keeping in contact with your writer, you can cut down the back and forth while they are trying to figure out your personality, tone, stance on issues, and intended audience.
Pay for a research package
Many agencies will charge you an onboarding fee. While I can’t speak to what other companies do with that onboarding fee, mine is a research package to cover my time putting together a profile about your company and your leadership. If you are short on time, this is a way to get your writer up to speed quickly and cut the revision time down markedly.
While I don’t require a research package for new clients, it comes with the caveat that there will be some back and forth while we try to figure things out in the initial stages. If you are considering working with an agency or writer that has an onboarding fee, do your homework and see what it covers.
Do your outlines
If you do nothing else, preparing an outline of your ideas will provide you the most significant benefit. Nothing fancy is required here, just a few sentences about what the article should cover followed by some bullets of the main ideas.
Why does this work? An experienced writer can look at your outline and know right away if all the pieces work together. They will be able to tell if you are going to hit your targeted word count, or if it’s going to require extra research time or work building in the transitions because the pieces are so big, or don’t quite work together the way you envisioned. Your writer will advise you on when to do a long-form piece, or where to break things up into another article, and how to save on budget and time.
Hiring a professional writer can do wonders for your business. Like any resource, when used properly, it will save you time and become an investment in your business that pays off many times over!
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Brandi L. Holder