While some people think writers are a dime a dozen, it isn’t true. Good writers are hard to find. Quality writing requires the ability to communicate concepts, ideas and information clearly, accurately and in a way that engages readers without auditory and visual cues. It is both proactive and responsive. It requires both logic and creativity and, at the same time, is subjective and objective. So how can companies evaluate the competency of their marketing communications and content developers? Here are some tips to consider.
Evaluating Professional Writers
1. Professional writers have developed their craft through formal classes and workshops, whether in journalism, marketing, public relations or communications. They continually practice and refine their skills throughout their careers. When engaging a writer, ask for a resume, references and writing samples.
2. Professional writers find out who the target audience is and seek understanding about the purpose of the content they are creating. As part of the process, they learn about the pain points and other motivating factors of the intended readers. Further, they determine whether their goal is to educate, persuade, inform, promote or incite action and they create copy based on the defined objectives.
3. Professional writers understand and meet deadlines. They are good communicators and keep their clients or employers aware of the status of every project.
4. Professional writers see themselves as collaborators with their clients or employers. They understand the need to revise copy until it represents the quality and accuracy others expect. And they need to do this without becoming defensive.
5. Professional writers do their homework. They take the initiative to read, research and study the topic at hand. They adopt a posture of learning, prepare for their interviews and send questions (in advance) to the individuals who are the subject-matter experts.
6. Professional writers proof their work carefully. Not only do they look for spelling and grammar errors, they follow either AP or MLA writing style guidelines. Also, they write in the active tense and keep sentence structure clear and concise.
With a multitude of publishing platforms available, anyone can consider themselves a writer. But only a professional writer can create content that contributes to the brand in an effective and meaningful way. Just because someone is an expert in their field doesn’t mean they are an expert writer. Companies spend volumes on advertising, websites and business development, but they give less thought to the content they produce. In the end, you get what you pay for.