Why You Should Outsource Your Writing, Plus How to Do it Well
A client of mine — who is a general contractor — was considering whether to hire a writer, when he had an epiphany: I could do all the plumbing in the houses I build myself, but I don’t; I hire a plumber, because that’s what they do. Why in the world would I try to write my own web content?
Why, indeed? Presumably, you do what you do because you are good at it. You should keep doing that. And hire others to do what they are good at doing.
In all our efforts to be more productive, increase efficiency and prioritize nonstop, we often try to do everything ourselves. But the hours you spend trying to write your own web content or bio or article are hours you could spend doing what you do and earning money for it.
If you outsource your writing and editing projects to a professional, you literally gain valuable time and save yourself seemingly endless frustration. Even if you might be a good writer, it’s not your highest value and not what you do professionally. So do what you do, and let a professional writer handle your writing for you.
Three tips for outsourcing your writing
Once you’ve realized you need to outsource your writing, what then? There are many out there who write professionally. So many, in fact, that choosing the right writer for your particular needs can seem daunting. But it doesn’t need to be.
How do you choose which person is the right fit for you, your company and your copy? I’ve worked with many different people and companies — on many different kinds of copy — and most of them have been successful adventures, resulting in additional collaborations. So I have three tips for you to consider when outsourcing your writing:
1. Read samples.
Do you like the way she describes herself on her website? Does something she wrote resonate with you, for any reason whatsoever? Does she have an appropriate writing style, tone and voice, depending on what she is writing about?
Remember, you want someone who can capture your voice/style/tone. Take a little time to read what the person has written in the past. Don’t be afraid to ask for more or different samples to consider — and then actually read them.
2. Choose someone with whom you have rapport.
You’ll know pretty quickly. Do you want to spend time (even virtually) with this person? Good writing will take some together time. A successful writing relationship is a collaboration between you and the writer. You will need to be at least a little invested in terms of time and commitment.
A good writer will want to talk with you in-depth, so choose someone you think you can talk to honestly and easily. Rapport will be equally important when it comes time to provide feedback, edit and iterate until you get to a version that works for you — don’t expect the copy to be perfect the first time. It’s called a “first draft” for a reason.
3. Look beyond subject expertise.
You are the expert, so your writer doesn’t have to be. Unless you are crafting highly technical copy, a really good writer will draw the expertise and content from you.
Be sure to give the right guidance from the get-go, in the form of a creative brief, background information, corporate guidelines and the like, then be prepared to share your knowledge through conversations and interviews. And remember that, even if the actual expert involved in a project is someone else in your company, you’ll still be playing a part in the collaboration. See tip No. 2.
Once you outsource your writing, you’ll have more time and headspace to focus on the things you do that provide the most value to yourself and your company. Keep doing what you’re good at, and let your new writer do that, too.
Lauren Hauptman provides editorial and creative services through Lauren Hauptman Ink. A seasoned communications professional with two decades of publishing, marketing-communications, and fundraising experience in a variety of environments, she is a versatile editor/writer/designer with a sense of style and extensive experience. She lives in Manhattan with her husband and her crazy dog, Ezra.