I am the person who fills in the blanks.
Hand me a piece of white paper and I will color it with popping, striking, inspiring words. Send me to your website and I will create the who-what-where content that tells the world about your unique company. Log me in to your social media pages and I will customize your profile then post to your followers on your behalf. Ok, hold on a minute...
Can you do that? Do I want you to do that? Can you really be my voice?
Having been a ghostwriter for several clients, I can honestly answer yes and no.
Here’s the Thing…
Social media is about connections and genuine conversation. Savvy social media users can spot a poser from three news feeds away. Outsourcing your social media content garners legitimate apprehensions especially if you don’t connect with a content writer who can capture your voice and doesn’t have social media or SEO (Search Engine Optimized) keyword experience.
The truth is you know your business and your customers better than anyone else. Companies like Starbucks and Dell have full-time employees who monitor their social media sites, post content, engage with customers and have millions of followers to show for it.
And, then…there are companies who do not have the luxury in their human resources budget to hire a full-time social media strategist or writer. For these folks, outsourcing provides real solutions.
Why Outsourcing Might Work for You
Your Staff is Stretched As It Is
Social media is not a magic wand, but merely a tool in your marketing plan and customer service outreach. You have to use it properly to see results.
So, who is going to be the tool-master in your company? Your choices might be the business owner because he/she knows the company better than anyone else. But, chances are he/she is too busy dealing with the day-to-day demands of the company. The Marketing Director is another choice, but having worked for small businesses (and been a Marketing Director myself), that job is best described as wearing many hats and several – preferably, running – shoes. Ok, so what about the intern who assures you he understands social media because he’s had a Facebook page since he was 13 years old? Hmmm. Social media know-how, check. Marketing experience, not so much. Even if you have the best intern in the world, unless you plan to hire him after the internship then you will be right back in the same position in six months.
Outsourcing to a solid marketing company or copywriter will provide you with qualified and talented resources who understand the best practices of social media, how to use SEO keywords and will devote time to your online customers on a weekly or daily basis.
You Don’t Have Time To Learn Social Media (let alone keep up with the never-ending changes)
Ok, most social media platforms are pretty easy to figure out…heck, even a 13 year old can do it. However, it’s a different playing field when you use social media for your business than when you are making weekend plans with friends. If you do not have time for the learning curve, bring on board an expert with client references, a proven track record and an actual – not virtual – background in marketing. This person should possess a strong social media plan and strategy that is in line with your company’s mission and vision. Social media is not one size fits all.
Outsourcing Your Content Isn’t the Same as Outsourcing Your Voice
A copywriter’s primary job is understanding the facts then finding their client’s voice (or the voice they would like to represent their company) to tell their story. Can it be done? Of course. This is a good writer’s prize skill. In the same morning, I wrote website content speaking to high school football players for a recruiting company then switched gears and posted on Facebook about sipping a new blend of tea on behalf of an international tea company.
How do you choose the best content writer for your company?
1) Interview a writer the same way you would interview an employee. View him or her as an extension of your team, not as a vendor providing a service.
2) Ask to see a full portfolio of their work. This will give you a flavor for their writing style, as well as, show how adaptable they can be with a myriad of industries and topics.
3) Ask them to write sample posts for your company. This is how I work with my clients. I submit 30 posts a month in advance and they give feedback. This gives the client security knowing what will be on social media and gives me ownership to post content that is timely for their audience without having to get daily approval. Of course, there is flexiblity in this as unforeseen events arise that the company can respond to on social media.
The qualities of a good writer
Now, this is just a matter of my opinion and what has made the difference for me when I’ve successfully posted for clients. As a writer, it is important to:
Be A Good Listener – Hear what your client is saying on several levels about their company. What is the feeling/attitude/viewpoint of the company? Listening is the crucial step in picking up a client’s tone and voice.
Be Well-Researched – I spend a significant amount of time researching a company, their industry, their competition and their target audience’s needs and wants. You have to know what you are talking about before you can write a single word.
Be Authentic - Write from the heart. Be excited for your client and the product or service they are providing. Take it on as if it’s your own business.
Help Them To Help You
Whatever your goals may be for your company’s social media campaign – gain more exposure, expand your market, launch a new product or all of the above – be very clear with your marketing company or content writer about what you want and don’t want posted on social media. An outsourced content writer will bomb if they do not have knowledge of the company’s overall marketing plan, upcoming promotions or more than one company contact person to correspond with on a regular basis.
The content writer is not like the shoemaker’s elf who works on their own during the night. To succeed and help you grow your business, they will need to feel and be viewed as a part of your team.