Hire a Writer, Get a Project Manager in the Bargain

Your project manager (writer) makes your content marketing happen.

Even after you’ve hired the writer, writing projects don’t just happen. Somebody needs to act as project manager, and it’s usually your writer (if you’ve picked a good one).

Nothing works because you want it to. You have to make the damned thing work.

-Thomas Edison (I think)

I saw that several years ago in a quotation-of-the-day calendar, and it has always stuck with me.

It applies to writing. Writers know that good content doesn’t emerge from their pen or keyboard because they want it to. They have to make it come out.

It applies on a larger scale, too. Few of the projects on your editorial calendar – white papers, web content, case studies, video, technical articles – happen because you want them to. You (or somebody) has to make them happen. Facts need checking, reviewers need reminding, editors need prodding, interviewees need birddogging, text needs proofreading and final versions need approving.

Who does most of this?

Would you believe your writer does?

The project manager you didn’t realize you hired

There’s a lot more project management to business writing than most people – including writers – realize. Even inside the organization, there are a lot of steps you take for granted on the path from idea to a deliverable. In a writing project, most of them end up in the writer’s remit. Otherwise, nobody handles them in a timely manner.

Consider the diplomacy that content marketing writers need to exercise when they get pulled into onsite client meetings. Think about the razor’s edge they tread. On one side is their understanding of what it takes to put persuasive, accurate content out into the world. On the other is their concern for the way things get accomplished in their clients’ companies and their desire not to look like a meddling outsider.

You probably value your writers for the “bricks” of good content. Remember to appreciate the “mortar” of their good project management skills as well.

No accident

To wrap up, here’s one more Edison quotation :

I never did anything by accident, nor did any of my inventions come by accident. They came by work.

Your organization’s content is no accident either. Sometimes it’s your writer (masquerading as a project manager) who contributes the extra work to make the content happen.

photo credit: wikimedia


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.”

3 thoughts on “Hire a Writer, Get a Project Manager in the Bargain

  1. Hi, John —

    Thanks for the shout-out! I’ve recommended several of your posts to my clients as a way to encourage them to use me more effectively and efficiently on freelance assignments.

    Way back in the early days of my blog I wrote about where writers “fit” into a collaborative project such as a report or proposal: (http://www.avwrites.com/wordpress/?p=8). I think it touches on some of the excellent points that you raise here, namely that writers can bring a “big picture” perspective to projects.

    The bricks-and-mortar analogy is effective. Mind if I borrow that when talking to clients (with proper attribution, of course)?

    1. Paul:

      Yes, that’s fine.

      I find that the fit varies greatly from one organization to the next, and the successful writer is the one who can adapt.

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