What are the five most annoying things your writer can do to you?
Here’s a shortlist, happily unencumbered by research but underpinned by years of dealing with writers.
- Go dark. How about those writers who “run silent, run deep,” don’t return your calls or e-mail, and pop back onto radar when you least expect it? Are you breathlessly relieved to hear from them again, or put out?
- Overturn your edits. You spend two hours revising a draft and changing text, then get the next draft back with most of your comments unincorporated and no explanation from the writer.
- Pull an end-run on you. Maybe they contact somebody else in your department without your knowledge, or send e-mail to one of your customers without copying you. This is felony-dumb behavior.
- Tell you your business. You and your team have decided how you want to use the content you’ve hired the writer to produce. The writer may suggest additional options, but only a bad writer will tell you that you’re off message or pushing a rope or missing opportunities. That’s what marketing and PR consultants are paid to evaluate.
- Avoid discussions about money. You’re a businessperson with a budget and a boss and a finance department and a recession on your back, not to mention the need to publish content. Isn’t it helpful to you to deal squarely with a writer about things like hourly rates, fixed bids, late payments and when you can get her the check? Sure, not everybody is Howard Hughes, but these are loose ends you don’t want to leave untied. It’s easier when the writer meets you on the level about them.
These and other sins generally boil down to two factors: communication and professionalism. Writers who have mastered these lost skills of business are an asset.
The others are a pain in the…