The writing assignment is part of my every day life. My digital marketing consulting business often focuses on creating content for enterprise clients. That content comes in the form of corporate speeches, webinars, video discussions and strategic coaching, but also in the form of white papers, blog posts and the occasional social media post.
How a writing assignment is delivered varies from client to client, but one recently sent a request that impressed me. It was specifically written as a writing assignment for the digital age. The content manager in question gave me a mini creative brief to guide the writing. It was so thorough, I had no questions or problems diving in and producing exactly what they wanted.
In order to help you get the most out of your agency copywriters, freelancers or even internal writing team, here are some items you should include in a writing assignment for the digital age, inspired by my client:
Start with the Audience
Whether you’ve worked with the writer in question or not, it’s always a good idea to remind them who they’re talking to.
Follow-Up with the Goal
Like the audience reminder, a re-assertion of the goal of the piece is helpful to level-set the writer’s work before they put too many words on paper.
Provide Search Keyword Needs
Especially for blog posts and longer pieces, the writing assignment should be focused on attracting search engines for a keyword you want to win. Provide the writer with a list of options, asking them to focus on one for the piece. The more they can focus the writing on one keyword or keyword phrase, the easier you can start picking off the low-hanging fruit of long-tail keyword traffic.
Ask for Optimized Social Posts, Too
For the longer pieces like blog posts, ask the writer to also provide a title and description or synopsis to populate the necessary fields when promoting the post on the social networks of your choosing. Having the writing assignment delivered with an optimized Tweet or Facebook title and description built in saves you time and is more likely to be consistent with the article in question since it was written by the same person.
For Influencers, Require Promotion
When you work with an influencer or relevant freelance writer, require them to promote the piece on their social networks and ask for the easy-to-find analytics on each post in return. It helps to have metrics from their Twitter or Facebook account rather than having to go guess or try to decipher those metrics from third-party tools.
Be Clear on Deadlines & Compensation
Another in the category of, “Even if you work with them every day, do this every time,” clearly spell out the deadline and the compensation for the piece you are assigning. If the writer is an internal resource and salary is their only compensation, you can adjust. But freelancers and influencers need to what you’re paying for the project so they can budget time appropriately. And when it comes to money, no one likes ambiguity.
What do you ask of your writers? What information do you include in the assignment request? Did I miss any that are critical to your organization that others might find helpful?
Dive in! The comments are yours.