Content marketing is a significant piece of your marketing strategy, regardless of what kind of business you operate. And, while your organization may produce many different types of content including video, audio, images, photographs, blogging is still the foundational element of content marketing. The only requirements to create written content are something to write with and someone to write it.
It’s that “someone to write it” that we discuss in this article, and, more specifically, how to bring that person into your organization. At this point, and in this article, we are assuming that you have made your choice of a writer to join your team. If you have not yet reached that point, this article will certainly serve you once you do arrive at that point in time, but, until then, it would be best for you to first utilize our other resources for bringing on new writers:
Once you’ve done all those things to get the best writer for your organization, and you have a starting date, that’s where we pick up right here: onboarding your new writer.
Much like the secret to a great retail or restaurant business is location, location, location, the main ingredient in onboarding a new writer is brand, brand, brand. Before your new writer types their first word, they must fully know, understand, embrace, and evangelize your brand.
Why? Because this person, whatever their experience, qualifications, style, and abilities, is now in charge of your brand. This person - or people if you have a content team - is the footsoldier on the very front line with the first and sharpest blade that anyone and everyone who experiences your brand will read, hear, or see. You are trusting this new writer with your brand. Are you ready to do that?
Of course you are! That’s why you hired the writer in the first place. But do you know your brand? Here’s a quick exercise that will help you determine if, or how well, you know your organization’s brand. Answer each of the following questions in 140 characters or fewer.
1) What are your core values?
2) What industry or market problem are you solving?
3) Who is your optimal customer and how do you reach them?
4) Describe your business.
If you have been intentional with defining your brand, this exercise was just a good refresher, and made you feel really good about your brand and how well you know it. If you never got past the first question, then you may have jumped the gun when you made the offer to your new writer. But that’s ok, because there is never a better time to define your brand than right now, and the 4 points above are a great construct in which to do just that. When you can answer all 4 of those questions really quickly in 140 characters or fewer, you’ve got the basics of defining your brand.
Now you need to pass that understanding on to your new writer. Just like learning a foreign language, the best way to learn a brand is total and complete immersion in the brand. Here are the 5 steps you should take - after defining your brand - to thoroughly onboard your new writer.
The new writer should:
Spend at least one hour with each executive in the organization during their first week, discussing the executive’s history (inside and outside the organization), their role today and if it has changed recently, successes they’ve seen, and failures they’ve experienced at the organization.
Attend product (or service) training as a customer, so they can listen to what your customers are being taught about your product and company, and learning in the same manner as your customers learn. This step has the added benefit of a fresh set of eyes and ears your your customer onboarding process.
Go (or listen) on sales calls with the sale team, to hear how prospects talk and what questions they are asking, because ultimately, your written content will be aimed at generating new interest in your products and services.
Interview long time customers who have experienced the most with your organization, so the writer can hear from the customer’s mouth what they love about the organization. This step has the added benefit of creating brand new content in the form of customer interviews.
Teach the brand over a lunch ‘n learn to the rest of team. This step should be more casual, with low pressure because it’s still part of the learning process, but just like medical schools teach medical students, when you can teach it to someone else, you understand it.
This process is time consuming, and can be expensive, depending on how often you conduct training sessions and if your sale team travels to customer sites. The process can also be logistically challenging; however, it is vital to remember that, when you hire a writer, or any other content creator, you are putting your brand in their hands for the world to see. It will be worth the time and trouble to make sure your writer is also your brand ambassador.
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