WordStream of Consciousness
Having a writing partner who knows your business inside and out can be a great marketing asset. But what if you have more work than one writer can handle? Working with multiple writers makes the process a bit trickier, but it’s easy to manage if you have the right process in place.
Make consistency your goal
While your audience may not realize it, they expect to have the same experience every time they read something you publish. For example, if you’re serious one day and cracking jokes the next, your prospects might get confused or question your credibility.
The primary challenge when working with multiple writers, therefore, is to make sure you still “sound like you” no matter which member of your team does the writing. In fact, it’s more important for your writers to be consistent than it is for them to be clever, witty, or even brilliant. You can try to standardize your approach by having conversations with your writers, but it’s much better to have your expectations documented in writing.
Build a playbook
One of the best ways to keep multiple writers on the same page, as it were, is to set up a style guide or “playbook” that spells out what you’re looking for.
I’ll talk about what goes into a writing style guide in more detail in an upcoming post, but at a glance it should include:
- Guidelines for the voice and tone of your brand, including who you’re writing for
- Examples of good writing in your desired style
- Writing examples that don’t fit your style
- Specific words to use (or not use)
- Any style or grammar practices you care about
- A default stylebook for anything you haven’t covered, such as the Chicago Manual of Style or the AP Stylebook
Be generous with feedback
A good writer will eventually have an instinctive idea for how your brand should sound. It might even seem like he or she is reading your mind. Until they reach that level, the more feedback you can provide the better.
One of the most effective ways to give constructive feedback to multiple writers is to refer to the playbook, and to be as specific as possible. For example, you might suggest keywords that could be added to the copy, or indicate where the tone could be altered to emphasize the needs of a particular market segment. Don’t just say “this is wrong.” Be as specific as possible about what isn’t right, where relevant guidelines can be found in the playbook, and what could be changed to improve it.
As you give feedback, be open to the suggestions your writers come back with, especially if they work outside your organization. They may provide insights that hadn’t occurred to you. If they make sense, consider changing the playbook to accommodate them. If you’re not ready to go that far, try an A/B test to see which approach gets the best response.