Why Do I Need a Content Writer?
Updated: Mar 8, 2019
Content creation and content strategy is something that I believe in strongly. I’m a bit of an evangelist.
Whether I’m at knitting class talking about the social media strategy of my favorite knitting shops and designers, or whether I’m working with a client, my passion remains the same. I believe that content is the absolute bedrock of communication with clients and customers. If your customers don’t know who you are, they won’t trust you. And in 2019, companies who don’t have the public trust are relegated to the 5th page of Google, or the 10th page of Amazon.
It’s not that you won’t be accessible- because you will be- but even once people manage to find your page, it's difficult to convert customers if they have no reason to trust you.
So what’s the alternative?
I’m glad you asked.
One of the most popular definitions of content strategy comes from industry legend Kristina Halvorson, who published the landmark article "The Discipline of Content Strategy" in 2008. The article was ground-breaking at the time (even though she does use the word “pwn” in it). In the article, she defines content strategy as “plans for the creation, publication, and governance of useful, usable content.” She goes on to define the goals of content strategy, which cover everything from the key themes and messages that you’re writing about to the metadata framework and content attributes that users typically don’t see.
Essentially, she’s saying that content strategy is everywhere. There’s nothing it doesn’t touch. And if we do it badly, we’ll just “keep getting stuck with 11th-hour directives, fix-it-later copy drafts—and we’ll keep on publishing crap.”
Everyone has experienced being on the receiving end of those types of communications. Marketing emails that read like a brain dump from a stressed-out intern whose only directive was “write this week’s email communication and hit send before people go home for the week.” It makes customers feel undervalued, and even the most charitable person will hit ‘unsubscribe’ after one or two of those.
If you’re just throwing content out into the universe with no strategy and no plan of how to track its impact, it’s the same as screaming into a void.
Sure, it might make you feel better and more productive, but the impact is negligible.
In an opinion piece published just one year later on the same website (A List Apart), an author named Erin Scime lays out her vision for content strategy in her article "The Content Strategist as Digital Curator". She uses the article to compare content strategy to museum curation, and advocates for us all to begin considering our websites and blogs as “evergreen assets” that help define corporate culture and “create a content experience with purpose”. That means no more throwing up random articles and blog posts, and mindlessly retweeting industry leaders with careless abandon. Our content should be planned and executed in a way that is consistent with our organization’s values.
So how do we do this? How can a busy organization possibly create content on a regular basis, monitor its impact, and ensure that whatever is created follows strict curatorial guidelines?
Many businesses today are outsourcing their content creation. A recent blog post on Hubspot included comments from various companies on the way that they’ve modernized and adapted the way that they staff their content and marketing teams.
By outsourcing their writing to qualified freelancers, it freed up the time that her team needed to be able to focus solely on the organization and performance of the content, rather than its creation.
Outsourcing is a popular approach- it allows you to access a pool of eminently qualified individuals while ensuring your internal marketing staff have enough time for big-picture content strategy.
Working with a freelance content creator takes the burden of managing the daily tasks of content creation away from your marketing department. This frees them up to focus on other aspects of their work. It also gives you access to someone who is able to look at your company from the outside, and tease out threads of stories, articles, and blogs that may not have been immediately evident to someone working within the machine.
A great freelance writer brings their own depth of experience to their work, and can take a critical look at your organization, or the services that you’re offering, and explain to your customers and clients why they need it. They can make connections that wouldn’t be obvious to the people who are in the trenches running the business on a daily basis. In short, they bring both a depth and breadth of experience that’s almost impossible to replicate.
Content strategy is more important than ever before.
So tell me- why do you need a freelance content writer?