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How To Get the Best Out Of Your Content Writer

Not all content seekers are the same. Some want their writer to just write and leave them alone, clean and simple. No problems there, but others want more. So how do you get your ideas out of your head and onto the page using a ghost or content writer?

Girl. thought balloon. lightbulb. balloons. lightbulbs. illustration drawing by Katherine M Kennedy
Help your ghostwriter to get your ideas onto the page

Jump Ahead:

Don’t Forget to Give Your Content Writer All The Basic Information

  • The POV of Your Content—First, second or third-person point of view, the choice is yours. Most of the blogs I write are in the first person. The bios are in third. I strongly recommend supplying your content writer with examples of previous writing so they can do their best to your website's tone. If it's a new site, you can furnish them with samples of writing you like.

  • The Topic Can Be Trickier Than You Think—The topic of your blog, article, etc., can be extremely tricky. Often content seekers have a vague idea of what they want, but they aren't sure. That's fine. Just let me know. A little bit of creative control is a boon for any writer, and I have zero problems with assisting with topics. The main thing is that it has your voice and doesn't contradict your previous writing or firmly held ideas.

  • The length of your content—counted in words—I don't recommend any content be less than 500 words. While we can never be sure, there is a suggestion that SEO prefers content that is over 500 words.

Provide Your Content Writer With Information On Your Target Audience

Your target audience is the readers you want to engage with your content. A content creator can handle a topic in 100 different ways, so if you don't supply your writer with all the information you have at hand, the content isn't going to be the high quality you deserve. It might not reach the right audience, limiting its impact.

Take my content, for example. I have three distinct audiences:

  1. Fiction writers/ aspiring authors

  2. Content writers

  3. People who are looking for content writers

This post is clearly targeting the third audience—content seekers. It's written for people looking to hire content writers to boost their SEO and get content onto their websites. Knowing your audience is a massive part of a content strategy and supplying that information to your content writer is vital. I've known a few very successful bloggers who managed to win over a large audience, only to realize years later that the audience wasn't the right one for their business. They had to pivot their content to drive the right kind of traffic to their door. Save yourself the grief, know your target audience and adjust your content earlier rather than later.

Background Information—More Is Always Better

I want all the information, everything you got. I know other content writers feel differently, so check with them before unleashing your three-book series and expecting them to read it to write a 500-word blog post. For myself, the more information, the better. Even if I might not include all of it, having it at my fingertips is just plain awesome. I like it when I get as much information as humanly possible. I have written for people who have years of backlogs of blogs, and having all that information at my fingertips made the content I produced for them all the better.

You never know what will be useful, how your previous job as a waitress will make your bio pop, or how your kids' obsession with the color green will make a blog come together. These little moments in a piece of writing are a welcome reprieve for the reader. They help people get to know you. Unfortunately, they are also the trickiest to add without sounding contrived, so the more interesting little bits and pieces you supply me with, the better.

Sometimes I get the sense that people are holding back not because they don't want to share but because they are worried about overburdening the page. I get that. I would likely feel the same way if I was hiring a content writer. Just ask your content writer.

Research, The Facts, and The Figures

Computer screen. computer research. Magnifying glasses. searching. illustration drawing by Katherine M Kennedy

Research style is specific to different content creators. Some expect the content seeker to provide all the research others don't. I don't mind. I love researching. I love reading through articles and hunting down facts and figures. Other content and ghostwriters may feel differently, so be sure to ask in advance. If you want a researcher, then you're going to need to find a writer who knows how to get research right.

Your Personality Makes Content Pop

My writing is always at its weakest when I don't know how the content seeker feels about something. There is a strangeness around writing opinionless content, particularly in blogs. Whether it's a blog post about a tv show or AAA batteries—yes, I did write content on AAA batteries, a weirdly interesting topic, and I am now a battery fan. The most important thing is to inject some life and personality, and that's darn hard to do without your opinions. There are exceptions to that rule, but even the news has some flavor injected into it. Unless you're creating a Wikipedia page, some personality is normally a requirement.

Know The Intent Behind Your Article, Blog, Webpage, Bio or Profile

Content isn't always clear-cut. As someone who maintains my own blog, I get that. Sometimes I want to share something, give advice, or make suggestions. We have all this information bouncing around our heads, and there is a driving need to pass it on to someone. Some knowledge is hard won, and we want to make life easier for the next person who follows the same path. Other times content is clear. It has a purpose. It's going to sell something. It's going to let people know more about you and your business. Most of the time, it's a mixture of both. Your content writer will do a better job getting where you're going if you let them know your content's purpose.

Here are a few examples of content intent, but there are so many more options out there:

  • Do you want to lure in readers and drive traffic

  • Sell a product or a service

  • Establish your credentials in a particular field

  • Share knowledge, inform, and give advice

Give Your Content Writer Constructive Feedback

If you are planning on working with your content writer for the long haul—more than one post— then be sure to let them know what you like about their content and what you don't. Content writers adjust our voice to match your style; the blogs, articles, and bios I have written for others mostly sound nothing like my natural writing style. That's why I like my blog. I get to do whatever I want.

When I've done long-term projects with content seekers, I keep a list of vernacular quirks and idiosyncrasies I see a repeat in their writing. Maybe they use a particular phrase often, an ongoing joke, that all goes on the list along with any of their crutch words. If I include a phrase and the content seeker replaces it with something else, that gets jotted down as something particular to their writing style. A lot of content seekers are old pros at this. They have honed a whole secondary skillset that makes them particularly adept at communicating their likes and dislikes.

Check out more of my blogs to find out more, or leave a comment if you would like me to hire me to write for you, or tackle a particular writers or content seekers topic in another blog. Thanks!


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