Even when your content needs are enormous, you don’t need to start by taking a huge bite out of them. Start out small with a new writer.
What happens when you take over the marketing reins in a mid-sized technology company?
“There were a jillion case studies, blog posts, newsletter articles, white papers and collateral pieces in various stages of completion, from dream state to staging server,” one marketing manager moaned to me. “I needed a marketing communications writer to help me get through everything, but I didn’t want to dive in too deep with an unknown entity and run the risk of having to do most of the work myself.”
She was tempted by the retainer model of, say, $3,000 per month for an all-you-can-eat writer, so that she could simply queue up work and start seeing progress in short order.
Instead of embarking on an ambitious editorial calendar from top to bottom, she found a writer and picked three discrete, small projects for him to work on. She made progress, albeit incremental, on her to-do list and became more comfortable with the writer.
This approach can even work for big-ticket items like white papers. Break these projects into two deliverables: outline and draft. If the outline is a train wreck, you pull the plug and find a different writer. You make progress on the project, without incurring too much of the risk of working with a writer who is an unknown quantity.
I’d recommend that especially for PR and marketing agencies whose clients ask, “Can you write a white paper for us?” and who say, “Of course,” even if they know they’re going to have to outsource it. The clients are the ones with final say on the paper, and if the agency dives in with the wrong writer, it gets stuck in the middle between the two ends. Breaking a project like a white paper into smaller milestones just makes sense for them.
How do you start out with new marketing communications writers?
P.S. I’m also pleased to point to my guest-post this week on new realities for the beginning writer at Make a Living Writing. Drop by and have a look.
photo credit: Radhika Bhagwat