Content writing journey – DISCOVER level
Just like everything fun in life and business – there’s often a journey before you reach that magical destination.
Especially when it comes to content writing, my friend!
And the very start of the content writing journey is the Discover level.
In last week’s blog I explain the content journey and what it looks like. This week, I want to delve deeper into so that you can get a clear picture of where you’re at, and your next level!
To make sure I give you my very best information, I’m going to run this Content Journey post as a 5-part series.
What I ask is that you read each post each week to fully determine where you are, and what you need to move forward. And, please, share these posts with your friends on social media and via email, and we can help other business people together! TIA
So, let’s run through the Discover level of the content writing journey, and see what it looks like for you.
Tip: Get a pen and paper and start making notes about where you are now, and where you need to be to have consistent leads, new clients, and more time with your loved ones.
Content writing journey: Level 1 – Discover
On this level, you discover that you need content writing for the first time, or you haven’t known about it, but never done anything, so you are dipping your toe in, or you are very new to business.
The two biggest questions you may have are:
- What is it?
- Why do I need it?
I see this all the time for people on this level, and it’s super exciting because you are learning so much.
You might be so new to this content writing thing that you may not even know what a blog is! And that’s OK. The only way is forward for you – what a great space to be in.
There are some other common questions I asked people at this stage, including:
- Why do I need a website when I have social media?
- Why do I need to blog on my website?
- Why do I even need to blog at all?
- I have social media, won’t that do?
Generally, at this step of the content writing journey, you won’t have much of a strategy, if you have one at all, (you may not even know you need a solid content strategy!), and you may have no idea what you are doing, or where even to start!
You may be new to business, or you could also be an established business, and you may have been told by a web developer or SEO expert that you need a blog or website pages written. Either way, it’s all very new to you on this level.
For those business owners in the Discover stage, it is a case of “you don’t know what you don’t know,” and so you’re binging on a whole bunch of free content to get the information you need.
That’s great, that’s what you should do when you find something new. Consume it!
BUT THERE’S A DECISION YOU NEED TO MAKE
To outsource or learn to write?
It is at this point that you decide whether you will outsource or continue on the content writing journey.
Many people will choose to outsource to a content writer, like the team at EC Writing Services, here at the Discover level because they don’t want to learn, they don’t have the time, and they already have a marketing budget to allocate the funds.
The people who decide to learn are those who love writing and want to get good at it, who has time because they may not have the money right now to outsource (but want to in the future), and they are quite possibly new to business (or still in their full-time job, and getting ready to leave it).
Whichever path you choose, it will save you a whole bunch of time if you decide now. Of course, you can outsource at any time, but I’m a firm believer, so do what you are good at, and outsource what you’re not good at.
So, if you are ready to outsource, here’s how you work with a content writer (or copywriter) successfully. Follow these outsourcing tips, so you get the most out of your money and content.
How to effectively outsource your content
Follow these steps to outsource your content effectively:
1. Research your options
Depending on your business, plans to grow and your budget, you must understand what options you have. There are freelance writers and contractors, and then there are agencies.
Some freelancers and contractors specialise in different industries, different niches, and content, and you will mostly work with the one writer (because there is only one writer)!.
Agencies might have many different people working on your account. This has advantages too because you will get different perspectives, and you will also have access to other professionals like videographers and graphic designers.
Editors – are different from writers. And having an editor on your team means your content will always be polished, sharp, and clean. It’s tough to edit your content, so all of our content is edited and proofread by our editors before sending the final version to the clients.
The other thing to think of is if there is anyone in your team who can do this work for you. If that’s the case, then, getting them to work with an editor or doing a content writing course will help them help you!
It can be daunting outsourcing your content because it’s a massive part of your marketing strategy and business – and it needs to be done with love, attention, and effectiveness. Plus, it has to sound like you and your business – and that is a hard task (if you don’t know what you’re doing)!.
Maybe you have had a bad experience. You know what? Don’t hold that against your next content writer. Sometimes, people and businesses don’t fit well together, but your star content writer who helps you take your business to the next step might be just around the corner – and you don’t want to miss that opportunity.
2. Check past work and experience
We rarely have to do this anymore because EC Writing Services is well-known in our industry, but if you are unsure, you can always ask to see a writer’s past work.
You could ask for references/clients to call. Remember, they will give you their best every time (it’s like a resume, you’re not going to give names that won’t sing your praises), that’s why it’s essential to do your research too.
You can ask for a test piece. I don’t believe in test pieces because I believe content is a journey, and working with a writer is also a journey, they will get better and better and better as time goes on, and they understand your business and objectives more and more.
>>> Please know – if you ask for a test piece, most smart content writers will charge you for this. We have done these from time to time, and I charge our top rate. It’s rude to ask for a free sample. (I have also been expected to do this with the promise of ongoing work). Would you give me a free high-end product if I promised to come back and shop with you? There are no guarantees, and I’m pretty sure you would go out of business!
3. Decide what you will outsource
You don’t have to outsource everything straight away, and I suggest you do this in parts. Give your writer one main task, like blog writing or social media, and then expand their projects. This will help you both adjust, and it will help your writer understand your business and your style. It’s a win-win
4. Have a process and style guide
Now, this might be completely foreign to you, or you might have a branding style guide. If you don’t have one, you will want to work on this with your content writer – think of them as part of your extended team.
We have a Client Questionnaire that we send all new clients so that we can understand their business, brand, style, and personality. This helps us mimic them – and become one with the content!
This will help keep your content consistent, so it builds trust. Your style guide should include your Wow Words™, audience, grammar, punctuation, personality, and preferred tone.
If you don’t have a process because it’s new, ask your content writer to document the process for you, and get it into your system!
5. Have a great brief form
This is ESSENTIAL. Your content won’t work without having this because everyone on the planet has different thought processes. A great brief for your content writer is short and sweet, but details.
It takes in word count, any ideas you have for the content, links to research, keywords, tone, quotes, stories, etc. Not pages and pages of info though – just enough for you to get the outcome that you need.
We have our own Writer’s Brief Form that we send clients or fill out when we are talking to them.
6. Be there for your content writer
Please, don’t think that because you have outsourced your content means that you never have to know about it ever again!
This is a big mistake.
In the initial stages, you will need to be there more for your content writer as they get to know your business.
This will help you, help them, help your content, and help your business! Keep the lines of communication open, and encourage them to ask you questions any time if they are not sure about something you have asked. Remember, we all perceive things differently.
You might have to say the same thing several ways before it is understood.
7. Get a contract or agreement in place
This is protection for you and the contractors. We have a service agreement and terms and conditions. This stipulates the scope of works and what’s expected from both parties.
Now, this may sound like a lot of “work” but what price do you put on your time with your family and yourself?
Outsourcing – when it’s done right – works to free up your time so that you can get on with growing your business and doing the things you want to like travelling , spending time with loved ones, or picking your kids up from school.
The decision not to outsource because it’s daunting, it hasn’t worked in the past, or it will take too much is a decision that could stagnate your business. You can’t be good at everything, and content writing is a honed skill.
If you are ready to outsource your content, I’d love to talk with you about your needs and how we might be able to help you. Please, book a time to talk with me here.
Or if you want to learn how to write, then start here. The Writing For Results course is your first step to planning and writing content that rocks and gets results.
Meanwhile – stay tuned for next weeks’ blog on the next step in the content writing journey – the Get Started level.