Getting the Content You Want the First Time
How often have you requested content from a writer and had to ask for at least one revision because it just wasn’t what you wanted? When this happens repeatedly, both you and the writer end up frustrated. Some simple changes in the instructions given to your writer in the initial request can make a huge difference.
The problem usually lies in the writer not having enough information to go on to get the piece written so it fits the intended purpose. This does not mean you have to give a lot of detailed instructions. Doing so will merely over complicate the request and confuse the writer even more.
The instructions should be brief but clear and cover the most important points. It helps a writer know how a piece should be written if the instructions include who the target audience is. Even a well-written piece of content won’t work if it is written for the business to business audience but it is meant for the end consumer.
Word count is often over or under estimated. If you want a certain number of points made in an article, consider how much detail you want given for each. Keep in mind that too much detail can lose a reader’s attention. It is best to keep the details of each point brief and perhaps have a link to another page with more information on individual points that may need to be expanded on to keep an article’s word count to a length that will keep a reader’s interest.
Estimating word counts is not too difficult most of the time. For content that is a basic overview, a punchy opening, main body and clear closing could follow this basic word count: opening – 50 to 100 words, main article body – 300 to 400 words, closing – 50 to 100 words. This gives a word count range of 400 to 600 words, which is plenty of leeway for a general overview article.
Articles that are not general overviews may need higher word counts. It is best to be open to your writer’s suggestion for higher word count since writers often have a good idea of what may be required for the amount of detail necessary to cover the topic.
The following is an example of how to request content so a writer knows what is needed.
- Audience: Average consumer
- Topic: Lawn care tools – basic overview
- Word count: 400 to 600 words
- Keywords: Lawn mower, edgers
- Keyword use: allow natural flow
- Please write the article so it grabs the reader’s attention right away, maintains it through the body of the article and keeps it to the last word.
- Focus on the most common tools and equipment homeowners use to maintain their lawns.
The above sample request lets the writer know what you want written, who will be reading it and where the main focus should be. Enough leeway is given on the word count that the writer will be less likely to add fluff or redundancy to the word count to meet a minimum that it too high or cut it too short to avoid going over a maximum that is too low.
It is a wonderful feeling when you get the content you want the first time and don’t have to ask for revisions. More often than not, this happens when the directions are clear and concise.