4 Reasons to Have Multiple Freelance Content Writers

Outsourcing your blog writing and copywriting to a freelance content writer can save you a lot of time, energy, laptop and notepadfrustration. Also, it can prevent you from sounding unprofessional if you or no one on your staff has writing skills.

 

A marketing writer who understands your brand can ensure your communications have consistency and continuity.

 

When you find one that fits perfectly with your company’s culture and “gets it,” hold onto that resource.

 

But regardless of how happy you are with that person, don’t make the mistake of using the services of only that one freelance writer.

 

Why It’s Critical to Have Multiple Freelance Content Writers for Your Business

Every writer has strengths and weaknesses.

Not every writer will be right for every assignment. Some are better at short-form content (such 600- to 800-word blog posts) while others shine at longer-form content (like white papers and ebooks). Some are adept at crafting brand slogans and print ad copy, while others are skilled at writing website copy that appeals to readers and search engines.

 

Takeaway: If you can find a writer who is the complete package, fantastic! But you may discover you need more than one writer to ensure all of your marketing content is top-notch.

 

Capable writers have busy schedules.

“Freelance” doesn’t mean “lounging around with nothing to do.” Established writers often have maxed out project schedules. If you have an “emergency” assignment that needs a quick turn-around, you might be out of luck. Most freelance content writers that I know (myself included) will do their best to accommodate rush requests, but that’s not always possible.

 

Takeaway: If you have relationships with several freelancers, you increase your odds of having a writing resource to help when you’re in a pinch.

 

Writers get sick, go on vacation, and have family emergencies.

Yes, we do. Fortunately, these situations are the exception rather than the rule. However, they can affect the volume of work we’re able to take on and create the need for extended deadlines now and then.

 

Takeaway: Having several writers to turn to will help you navigate times when your go-to writer will be out of town or is dealing with unforeseen circumstances.

 

It may be time for a change.

At some point in time, either you or your writer may decide it’s time to part ways. You may decide you want a fresh approach and feel a new writer is your best way to accomplish it. Or, your writer may choose to discontinue doing certain types of assignments or cease doing work for your industry.

 

Takeaway: Business relationships evolve. By having more than one writer to help you with your content, you will not feel stuck without options or be left high and dry when a writer opts to make a change.

 

Where to a Find Competent Freelance Content Writer

Doing searches on LinkedIn and Google will help you find potential candidates to help you with your content needs. Also, ask fellow business owners and marketing managers for recommendations. And, believe it or not, the freelancer you’re currently working with might be happy to connect you with other writers. I have introduced several of my clients to writers that I respect and trust to do good work.

 

Relying on one writer for everything can put your content at risk of falling behind deadlines or not being done as well as it could be. I believe you’ll find it’s well worth the time and effort to build relationships with multiple writers. Not only will it help ensure you have quality content for any assignment, but it will also provide peace of mind that all your eggs are not in one basket.

Forget More Cowbell; Your Blog Content Should Have More Of This Instead

Thanks to the flawless comic delivery of Christopher Walken and Will Ferrell on Saturday Night Live, “More cowbell,” has become one of the most recognized modern one-liners.

 

While more cowbell might solve some problems, unfortunately, it won’t do much to help your marketing efforts succeed. You can bang out more cowbell until…ahem… the cows come home, but it won’t make your audience more impelled to read and engage with your content.

 

What does your content need?

 

Put down your bell and do more of these two things instead:

 

Let Your Personality Sing

Unless you’re writing a technical manual, an academic piece, or something that otherwise demands a heightened degree of stuffiness and formality, relax a little. Writing in a conversational tone helps readers stay tuned in and makes them better able to grasp your message. Write like you speak so your content sounds natural and genuine. In the process:

 

  • Include references to things readers can relate to (e.g., cowbell).
  • Share relevant personal experiences to help your audience connect with the topic and to you as the author.
  • Avoid too much jargon, and don’t use fancy-dancy words to demonstrate your intelligence.

 

Approaching your writing in a more casual, conversational way doesn’t mean you will forfeit professionalism. To the contrary, you’ll improve your professional image by putting out content that readers will want to consume and share.

 

The “You” Factor

“You” is one of the most powerful words you can use in your marketing content. It instantly makes your readers a part of the conversation rather than keeping them on the outside looking in.

 

Work more “you” into your writing rather than using third person references.

 

For example, if I had written the first two sentences under this bullet as shown below, it would lose its direct connection to the reader, “’You” is one of the most powerful words business marketers can use in their marketing content. It instantly makes their readers a part of the conversation rather than keeping them on the outside looking in.”

 

And “you” becomes especially important when you’re writing about your services and products. Rather than dominating your content with sentences that begin with “We can…” or “We will…” or similar “we” wording, shift the focus on the reader and the benefits they can expect. For example: “If you…” or “You will find…” or “You’ll discover…” bring your readers into what otherwise might sound self-centered and pushy.

 

Final Notes (“Notes,” Get it?)

While more cowbell won’t make your small business marketing efforts smash hits, paying attention to how you approach the voicecow with cowbell around neck of your content can help give you star quality. Infuse more of your unique self into your writing style and speak to (rather than at) your readers.

 

Your turn! What tips and tricks have helped you connect with your readers?

 

 

 

Three Vital Points To Keep In Mind When Creating Marketing Content

As I prepare to be a part of a marketing panel discussion in a few days, I’ve been thinking about content creation from a differentTo-Do-Creating-Content perspective.

 

If I weren’t a freelancer who writes content for a living, what questions would I have about content’s role in marketing?

 

One thing I’d want to get a grip on are the things I should consider regardless of the type of content I’m creating. So, here’s a question I anticipate receiving in some form during the panel event—and how I would answer it:

 

What does a business owner need to keep in mind when creating content as part of a comprehensive marketing plan?

 

  • Maintain a consistent voice for your brand.

Whether you’re a solopreneur who is the face of your business or a business owner or manager at a larger company with multiple people creating content for you, strive to make your content consistent in its “personality.” Your tone, your level of formality, your values…your brand’s voice is “who” your brand is more so than what your brand does. A consistent voice builds trust as it enables your audience to know what to expect of you. Don’t confuse “consistent” with “boring,” though. You can still be creative when developing content that’s consistent!

 

  • Don’t make content all about “me, me, me.”

Focus on what’s in it for your audience and not how spectacularly wonderful your company is. A constant barrage of content that sings a business’s praises rather than giving prospective customers information they can learn from or be entertained by is a turnoff. Write content that is audience-centric. Use more sentences with “you” rather than “we” or “I” as the subject, and share insight that will help customers live and work smarter, save money, save time, accomplish their goals…you get the idea. Yes, that may mean sharing bits of expertise for free.

  • Realize creating content doesn’t guarantee people will find and consume it.

There’s a lot of content out there competing for your audience’s eyeballs. YOU have to make the effort to get it in front of your customers. Share content on LinkedIn (if you publish it as a post, all your connections will be notified about it), include it in your status updates on your social media channels, send it to your email marketing list, and directly share it with individuals you absolutely know can benefit from it.

 

Of course, there’s far more to creating content and making it an integral part of your overall marketing strategy. But I think these three considerations stand as a good foundation for guiding how to approach the creation of content for your business.

Your turn: What underlying principles or rules do you follow in your content efforts?

 

Learn First. Blog Second. How to Turn “On the Job” Lessons into Posts that Appeal.

Consistently pinning down blog topics that will provide value to readers presents a challenge to busy solo professionals. Blog keysIn fact, it’s one of the main reasons why many of the solopreneurs and small business owners I know haven’t started to blog.

We put a lot of pressure on ourselves. We think that unless we’ve got something monumental or expertly detailed to share, we won’t be providing anything worth reading. Fortunately, most readers aren’t looking for us to leap over tall buildings and solve all of the world’s – or their businesses’ – problems in a single post. What most are looking for is genuine advice, guidance, and information garnered from walking the walk and lessons learned.

As a solopreneur, does a day go by when you haven’t learned – or realize that you need to learn – something new or something more? Of course not! So, if you’re struggling to come up with compelling topics for your blog, start thinking about…

  • What you’ve learned “on the job” as a small business owner in your industry.
  • What you’re continually learning and the skills you’re developing every single day.
  • What you need to learn to run your business better or provide better services or products.

Keep in mind that you probably won’t need to go into great technical detail (unless your audience is very technically adept), and you don’t have to make your posts all-encompassing to include anything and everything on a topic. The key is to stay on point and inform, educate and even entertain by sharing what you know through your own efforts to learn more and do business better.

So what types of stuff might you focus on?

  • Trends in customer preferences and demand for the types of services or goods you sell.
  • Rules and regulations that affect your industry and their impact on what you sell, how you sell it, and what they mean to the consumer.
  • Technology tools that you’re using to improve the quality of your services & products.
  • Technology tools that you’re exploring to help build customer relationships.
  • Up and coming developments in products and services within your industry.
  • Services and products that are complementary to yours – and that will enhance the customer experience.
  • Upcoming events where prospects and customers can learn more about products & services in your industry (and ideally where they can connect with you one-on-one).
  • Credentials and expertise that customers should look for in a business within your industry.
  • Ways that customers can maximize the value of the products and services that they buy from you.

Basically, if you want or need more information about an industry topic, provided there’s a customer angle in there somewhere, you’ll have the makings of a blog post that can attract readers and give them a worthwhile takeaway. Just be sure that while you’re sharing what you’ve learned, you make the post about them. The “What’s in it for them?” needs to shine through in the finished product each and every post.

What types of things have you learned “on the job” that translate well into blog post topics? Please share your ideas!

Image courtesy of Idea Go / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Confounded by Content Marketing? Think: “Is There a “Takeaway?”

There’s no shortage of articles and points of view on the growing importance of content marketing in today’s SEO Contentenvironment. Of course, you’ll find a lot of hype as with any hot topic, but there’s no denying that the content you share with your audience has the potential to get you noticed, set you apart from your competition, demonstrate your expertise, and strengthen ties with your customers. Compelling reasons to put some dedicated thought and effort behind it!


Confused about Content?

“Content,” as pure and simple as it seems, has become a buzzword of sorts. Fact is, it entails everything your small business puts out there that’s building the perception of who you are and what you bring to the table through the eyes and ears of your prospects and customers. Print – by the nature of economy – is more static and less changeable. But online, solopreneurs – just like larger businesses – need to approach content dynamically and consistently. Most importantly, your content needs to provide value to your audience.

Think “Takeaway.”

Delivering value means something different than pushing a special deal or discount. It means putting yourself in your prospects’ and customers’ shoes and thinking about what they need and what they can relate to – in the context of your industry. Your content needs to give them a takeaway each and every time you post to your blog or social media channels. Seek to provide content that:

  • Answers a common question.
  • Helps them manage their time more effectively.
  • Makes them laugh.
  • Helps them save money.
  • Helps them make money.
  • Gives them a new perspective.
  • Motivates them.
  • Saves them from making a mistake.
  • Inspires them.
  • Gives them courage to try something new.
  • Connects them with resources for professional and personal development.

Realize that your audience might benefit from takeaways not mentioned here, so make sure you consider who you’re sharing with and what topics, issues and challenges resonate with them. If you don’t know, ASK!!! Also be prepared to experiment – sometimes it takes a period of trial and error to find the right combination of ideas and information that your followers and fans will grab onto and interact with. Above all, stick with it! It takes time and consistent effort to build an engaged and interested community around your content.

Your turn! What challenges have you faced in your content marketing efforts as a solopreneur? What has worked for you? What hasn’t worked?

Image courtesy of markuso / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Content is King – But Only With Quality and Consistency

Content has been a hot topic as businesses of all sizes and varieties compete to get noticed and stay top of mind with customers and prospective customers. And the consideration of content’s impact on business success doesn’t show any signs of cooling off!

Content is king, but yours has got to have 2 characteristics to make it so:

Quality and Consistency

Unfortunately, when you’re struggling to pay attention to the other responsibilities of running a business, attaining either of those can be daunting.

Quality

Whether you’re sharing a blog post that someone else shared on Facebook or if you’re publishing an original article on your blog, quality matters. Never leave it to chance; read everything you intend to post on your blog, tweet on Twitter, or share on Facebook. Just because other people (even those you revere) passed it along, doesn’t necessarily mean it was done well.

And it’s critical that the content you create is memorable in a good way. Written content (blogs, newsletters, articles…) should be error-free, interesting, well-written, and easy for your readers to relate to (don’t overdo jargon!). On many occasions, I’ve refrained from sharing articles and blog posts with really terrific information because they had multiple spelling errors, incorrect word choice and poor sentence structure. I’m sure I’m not alone. You want your content to be share-worthy so make it worthy of sharing.

Keep in mind that your content can either make you look like a pro or a grammar-school dropout. Your reputation depends on it, so if you personally don’t have the writing chops to pull it off, either hire an employee or a freelancer (like me!) who can skillfully create content from scratch or who can adeptly edit and proofread the drafts that you produce.

Consistency

Regularly contributing helpful information to your audience can raise you to trusted advisor status and make you the “go to” guy or gal when people need – or know someone who needs – your services or products. The operative word is “regularly”! Establish consistency in how often you share tips and resources.

Don’t be a stranger to your own Facebook page, LinkedIn account or Twitter stream. You need to be there for your followers. You need to share quality content of your own and that of others. Daily, several times per day, or several times per week…not all social platforms or audiences are created equal when it comes to their tolerance for posting frequency.

Educate yourself on the nuances of the online networks you’re using, and plan to interact enough to effectively build relationships and stay top of mind without turning people off and inciting them to tune you out. And seek help (either from an employee or a freelancer) to enable you to do it if you can’t personally dedicate time to the cause.

What measures do you take to create and share quality content? What challenges do you face in posting consistently to keep your audience engaged and meet their expectations for help and guidance in  your field of expertise?