Your Marketing Writer Is Working on Other People’s Content. Find Out What It Is.

This post was written by John White on Thu, 26 Apr 2012 12:00:44 +0000
Posted Under: marketing manager,rapport with writer

Your marketing writers are valuable nodes in your network. Thinking about them that way pays off in making your own content broader and richer.

your writer's networkOn Monday, you phone your marketing communications writer to kick off a white paper on mobile game pricing. On Thursday, a marketing manager with a different company asks your writer to work on a paper about translating mobile games.

Your writer is no world-renowned expert in mobile gaming. It just happens that these two clients need content on that topic at about the same time.

Both of these corporate marketers have a common connection to the writer. What they don’t know is how much common value in mobile gaming lies just the other side of that connection.

Have you ever asked your marketing communications writers about the other topics they cover, besides your products and services?

An overlooked link

You probably value your writers (and keep giving them work) for a few reasons.

  • They write effectively.
  • They’re a quick study.
  • They understand your business and its audiences.
  • They do research and write about it in ways that reflect well on your organization.

How about this reason?

  • They know useful stuff you don’t know.

Last year, in separate pieces for clients in completely different industries, I cited the statistic that the human race had recently crossed the threshold of five billion telephone connections. I don’t remember for which project I first came across it, but it didn’t matter because it supported both arguments very well.

When an analyst with a research firm re-purposes information like that, clients expect it. They take for granted that it’s her business to know such things and they gladly pay her to impart them.

But when a marketing communications writer does it, it’s serendipity.

And, you can get in on it.

Either your marketing writers tell you…

I’ve often wished I could introduce all of my clients to one another – say, in a large restaurant on Maui – and see what came of it. Almost all of them are marketing managers or directors, and I think it would be easy for them to find value in connecting. In fact, it would probably be easier for them to find that value talking to one another in that Maui restaurant than networking through me.

Your writers may not have such lofty designs, but they may have ways of letting you know what they work on, starting with the Clients page on their Website.

Do your writers tweet, post or put out a newsletter on current projects? Do you follow them?

What other kinds of work besides yours is in their portfolio? What can you learn from it? More importantly, what does your writer learn from it that can make your content bigger, deeper and wider?

Consider your writers more than just writers: they’re resources.

…or you ask them

You can do this without being nosy, without intruding and without running afoul of anybody’s non-disclosure agreement. It sounds like this:

So, what else are you working on these days (that you can tell me about)?

or like this:

We need a series of case studies on how pharma’s use our services. Do you work with any companies in that field?

It’s really not that different from “Say, Marie, I really need a good electrician. What do you know about finding one in this town?” which is a conversation that takes place about 50 times per second all over the world, as people make casual use of their networks.

If we learn anything from our collective investment of time in Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and other networking vehicles, it should be that our circles of acquaintance are like crabgrass: most of their connections (and value) are invisible, waiting for us stumble onto and benefit from them through normal curiosity.

The only thing more important than your network is your network’s network.

When you ask your writers about other work they’re doing, you’re making good use of these nodes in your network.

So, corporate marketers: The hidden value is there. You just need to sharpen your curiosity and start finding out what other content your marketing communications writers are working on.

And stop waiting for an invitation to a restaurant on Maui.

John White is a marketing communications writer who posts about technology writing from the perspective of the marketing manager. It’s dirty work, but somebody has to do it. Download his eBook, “10 Questions to Ask When Hiring Your Marketing Communications Writer,” then take your best shot at hiring him.

photo credit: faungg

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