Feelings and White Papers – A Deadly Combination

Real technology marketing writers don't have feelings

Marketing communication managers shouldn’t worry about hurting their writers’ feelings. This is business.

Stop and think: Have you ever said to a marketing communications writer,

“I didn’t want to hurt your feelings.”

If so, it’s very nice of you, but it shouldn’t be necessary. Marcomm writers don’t have feelings. That’s why they’re writers.

A writer with a fragile ego?

Maybe you haven’t put it quite that way. Maybe you’ve said, “The team and I went over the white paper you wrote, and we made a few small changes here and there – nothing big, really, just some minor tweaks,” or “Have a look at our comments. They’re pretty straightforward,” which means you made a zillion changes. Or maybe you didn’t say anything and just made all the changes yourself because you didn’t want to cause a fuss.

If you’re trying to trivialize the changes so that you don’t trigger additional charges for a rewrite of the white paper, that’s one thing. That’s business.

But if you’re trying to avoid bruising your writer’s fragile ego, you should probably adopt a different mindset. Or a different writer.

This isn’t personal; it’s about a work product that is either adequate or inadequate. You don’t need to be rude, but you should be ruthless with your writer, because you’re the one on the hook for copy that falls short.

As I’ve mentioned before,

Writers don’t write. They suggest.

Part of your job as a marketing manager is to reconcile their suggestions to realities your writers do not see: technology changes, market dynamics, layout, tone, fit, office politics and so on.

Don’t worry about hurting their feelings simply because the white paper needs more work.

Good writers can deal with it. Good writers are made of fire.

photo credit: ncanup


Author: John White

John White of venTAJA Marketing is a content marketing writer for technology companies. He posts about technology writing from the perspective of the marketing manager. It’s a dirty job, but somebody has to do it. Download his eBook, “10 Questions to Ask When Hiring Your Content Marketing Writer.”