If you’re serious about taking your online business to the next level, one of the best ways you can do that is to take the time to build a talented team of freelance writers to attend to your content development needs.
This is one-part art and one-part science, but it’s definitely a process. Mostly it comes down to good communication and finding writers who are not only passionate about the topics your online business cares about, but also “gets” exactly what you’re looking for and can deliver on a regular, reliable basis.
But wait! Before you jump into the fray and start evaluating potential writers, let’s back up. There’s something very important you should do before you even start down that road if you want to maximize your chances of success.
Do it yourself first.
Don’t start trying to develop your content team on Day One. If you start by developing the content yourself, you’ll get real world, hands-on experience that will be of incalculable value to you.
Here’s a quick case-in-point example of how doing your own content development initially can be of real, practical value to you:
Let’s say you need a carefully researched 1000-word piece. How long should that take? Is that a three day job, or would five days be more appropriate? If you’ve never done it, you have no way of knowing.
What if you post the job as a five-day assignment and a writer complains that it’s just not enough time? If you’ve never stepped through the process and you don’t have any firsthand experience to draw from, you have no way of knowing if you’re being sold a bill of goods or if you’re genuinely asking too much.
Granted, if you get very lucky, you might find a writer who’s willing to coach you, the client and get you up to speed about what’s possible, what’s feasible and what’s simply unreasonable, but you can’t count on that. Even if it happens, it’s still a relatively poor substitute for firsthand knowledge and experience, and there’s only one way to get that.
This is not something you need to spend years, or even months of your life on, but you should step through the types of assignments you’ll be asking your writers to develop for you and take careful notes about how long it takes you. Then if you allow for a range of +/-20% of that time, you’ll have a pretty good estimate to work from.
The last thing you want to do is ask too much, too quickly from the writers you rely on. That only frustrates everyone involved and makes it less likely you’ll be able to retain top tier writing talent. And while we like to think that no writer would ever try to overestimate how long a given project will take, it has happened, and will no doubt happen in the future. Direct experience is your best defense against that kind of thing. The smart business owner will be sure to acquire some.
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