10 Ways to Get Others to Write What You Need as a Marketer
By Susan Varty
Not everyone can be a subject-matter expert in their industry. And sometimes marketers have to take care of multiple industries, products and services. This means that you may have to rely on others to write what you need as a marketer. Writing requires focus in the best of circumstances, but when you need something to be written by someone else, it takes a lot patience, persuasion, and coordination. Here are some practical tips to get other people writing for you.
Draft just three bullets
Blank pages can be daunting. If you have a vision for what you want, send along a few bullets as a very short outline, then ask for more bullets back. Bullets will help the other person develop initial ideas and are less work than writing sentences. Even if the expert does not use your bullets to write the final piece, it can help get them started and deliver what you need faster.
Rip up the page
If you are having an in-person meeting (or online), tell them to rip a sheet of paper in half or use index cards for ideas. A smaller space to write is less daunting and less intimidating so you can collect them afterwards (or ask them to send in photos). Now you can use them to draft bullets – see above.
Social starting points
Send them social posts with comments or customer feedback. Ask the expert to use them as a starting point to craft the content you need. This material is most likely already approved and the theme and call to action is usually already there too.
Leave “Star Trek” placeholders
Include placeholder text in brackets, highlighted in a different font colour. This is what I call the “Star Trek method.” The writers on Star Trek used placeholders for writers to add technical references in the script: [Spock, insert tech speak here]. This is also handy for press releases when you need to draft a quote and attribute it to someone later to fast-track approvals.
Bring coffee/virtual coffee
Try to meet with experts at your company informally, before you need content, so you can interview them in advance, ask their opinions, and how they prefer to write/what they need to write.
Repurpose and update
Do you have content written by an expert from the past? Can it be updated or repurposed? It is definitely easier for an expert to update content when they are not starting from scratch.
Record on your conference line
Conference lines are a flexible recording tool on their own and critical when you cannot meet face-to-face. They are less mentally draining and intimidating than video conferencing too. Interview your experts and/or have them call in and press record on their own like a personal recording device. You can also share the recording and have it transcribed! So…
Get it transcribed
If you have a recording or a video, get it transcribed as part of your content development process. It is always easier to remove content from a written transcript to hone in on main points, send bullets, pull quotes for social media, pop into a press release, etc.
Propose more than one title or subject line
People like choices. And it helps someone approve things faster if they can look at some options up front. So, provide three title options to get ideas flowing. Sometimes a thought-provoking title or email subject line is all they need to get started writing for you.
Send a thank you card
When someone gives you a draft, ideas, or helps your writing process, be sure to thank them. It will go a long way to build goodwill and ensure a great relationship when you need to reach out next time.
By Susan Varty, Founder and CEO of HeadStart Copywriting: unlimited writing and editing for marketers. Sold by user licence as a subscription, HeadStart writes pieces continuously to help marketers free their time and reach more people.