While doing some research, I came across a guy who ended up firing his outsourced content writing staff because they weren't giving him what he wanted. I can't help but think that better communication could have fixed most, if not all, of his issues with his outsourced writers. He complained specifically about the articles being produced being "dry" with "no soul in them."
I'm left wondering whether he discussed these problems with his writers. Speaking personally, as someone who writes a lot of blogs, I love opportunities to let my hair down a bit and write content that's a bit fun as well as factual. After all, I doubt very many people enjoy writing articles that are "dull as dishwater."
What this illustrates to me is the importance of communicating with your blog writer when content writing goes bad.
Communication Makes Outsourced Content Writing Better
The author of that article is right about one thing. If you put up a content job with minimal instructions outside of the article title and a list of keywords, you probably are going to get back a fairly plain article. Content writers are going to be conservative in the face of minimal instructions. They aren't going to put too much personality into an article if they fear that personality will just garner rejections.
However, there's no need for it to be that way. Content writers thrive on feedback and the more you tell them about your wants and needs, the better they'll be able to meet them. Now, of course, some may still be unable to meet your needs, but you'll never know if you don't ask.
Care and Feeding of Your Outsourced Content Writer
There are some fairly easy things you can do to ensure good communication between yourself and your content writer. However - and this is the important bit - most of them require you to know in detail what you want from your blog writing. The better you understand your goals and strategies, the easier it will be to explain them to your writer.
Create a Style Sheet: Do like the newspapers and magazines do. Make a style guide that covers how you want the blog written, including aspects like how much personality you want it to show. Just remember that your writer will likely treat these as rules, rather than guidelines, if they're in doubt.
Give specific feedback: If you aren't happy with your blog writer's output, step one should be to simply tell them about it. Talk about your strategies and goals and why you don't think the blog is currently reaching them.
Start a conversation: If your blog writer specializes in your industry, just talk to them. Chances are they've come across items of interest in their own research that might be able to help you out. There's no harm in asking for suggestions, and if your writer gives you good ideas, you've probably got a keeper. Just like with your customers, the more engaged your writer is, the better they'll do.
Consider your keywords: Remember that your keyword choices will limit your writer's options. Using the infinitive form of a term, like "to buy a car" will force the writer to write using passive language like "those who want to buy a car," creating a weaker article. Try to pick keywords that can be easily integrated into more active and interesting content.
In short, many writer relationships are totally salvageable with a little communication. Share your ideas and strategies with them and discuss what sort of tone you want. The more informed your writer is, the better their content writing will be.
What tips do you have for working with content writers?