Pro Tip: Manage writers the way they want to be managed – with structure

It doesn’t matter if it’s a blog post, a news article, or even a novel: Writing takes time. And even if you have the most capable of writers fueling your content marketing strategy, the exact same is true for managing writing. If you’re finding too much of your time is going towards revision after revision, taking a step back to better structure the way you manage your writers might be your best tactic for taking back your schedule. Here’s how.

1. Standardize structure

Creatives thrive with structure. Identify each step of your content development, review and approval process and establish processes to turn a blank page into a conceptual playground everybody can share:

  • Develop a standard creative brief template so each assignment comes with the same set of parameters
  • When subject matter experts are needed, create an umbrella interview document for consistency
  • Formalize a copy deck to capture all relevant information for a piece of content, including SEO keywords, images, social copy, disclaimers and target audiences
  • Standardize a versioning architecture that makes it clear on every piece what you’re looking at, like this: Blog Post Draft-V1.docx

2. Clarify deadlines

Deadlines don’t mean the same thing to every writer – or to every marketing manager. Remove uncertainty and increase accountability by defining your deadlines and what is expected whenever a due date rolls around:

  • Talk with your writer before setting a deadline, not after, to ensure plausibility
  • Don’t be afraid to push urgent deadlines, but do acknowledge that pre-existing deadlines may need to shift
  • Consider adding a deadline three days before your deadline to allow time for yourself or other editors to review content and give your writer ample time for revisions

3. Optimize feedback

Writing is a process, and writers thrive on valid feedback to get a piece of content where it needs to be. Though you may have an idea of what a “perfect” piece looks like, there’s no such thing as an objective perfect draft. Get the work you have in mind with clear feedback:

  • Be as specific as possible
  • Don’t exaggerate; if one sentence is an issue don’t tell your writer the piece is a disaster
  • Don’t get hung up on grammar or style; your writer knows their craft
  • Remove emotion from your feedback and focus on outcomes

Pro Tip is a special feature for marketers in our community to share a specific tactic others can use to elevate their performance. You can submit your own here.

Opinions expressed in this article are those of the guest author and not necessarily Marketing Land. Staff authors are listed here.

About The Author

Ryan Brock is the founder and CEO of Metonymy Media, an agency of creative writers dedicated to helping businesses and organizations communicate effectively for growth and success. A full-time writer, editor, and entrepreneur for nine years, Brock’s professional focus is on creating fulfilling career opportunities for creative writers while empowering genuine brands to tell powerful stories that connect with audiences on every level to create powerful customer experiences. Brock has edited a number of books and publications, and is also the co-author of Nothing New: An Irreverent History of Storytelling and Social Media.

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