The Problem with Writers: What You Can Expect

working with writers

working with writersWe’re a weird sort. Writers. (Humans, in general, but that’s a different blog post altogether.) Writers are wildly neurotic and obsessed with crazy things like word choice.

That’s why it’s hard for business people to hire us. I see their point, particularly those who have been burned by writers who don’t meet deadlines.

Businesses, do not put up with that.

Writing is a business. Someone who doesn’t treat it like that deserves to be begging for work. Don’t make excuses for writers missing deadlines because you think that’s how they all operate. There are writers out there who understand in order to eat, they need to deliver on time.

When I met my first client for the first time (we worked together virtually for 2 years before meeting face-to-face) he remarked on the fact I had never missed a deadline. He said it with a tone of surprise and I laughed. “You mean deadlines are flexible? I never knew.”

If I was winker, I certainly would’ve winked for dramatic effect. Alas, my winks always come out wrong.

 

Increase Expectations for Working with Writers

Whether you’re employing writers or you’re a business writer reading this, here is what all businesses should be able to expect from their writers and writers should look to deliver for their clients:

  • On time delivery. Yes, things come up, but a sunny day isn’t something that comes up (okay, technically the sun comes up but…) it’s not an excuse for not delivering.
  • A fair wage. Regardless of how you feel about the minimum wage, what writers do is real work. They should be compensated and that compensation should be somewhere above a pittance and below what people make as a second-string NFL player. If you expect professionalism from a writer, you must compensate them accordingly. If you’re a writer, don’t undercut yourself by doing things for “exposure.”
  • A social presence. I know some writers won’t agree, but you can’t just sit around selecting words all day and arranging them on paper. You must create a personal brand, understand WordPress, and be proficient in , at least, the major social networks. Your clients may need this help. You should be able to advise them.
  • Content ideas. One of my highest values as a writer is not in my writing. Sure, I hope that’s good because that’s the immediate need of my clients but my real value is in something they probably don’t consider. It’s the vast amount of reading and researching I do. Very few of my clients give me topics. Most of them I glean on my own by getting to know their industry. With each new client I learn their industry as if I was planning a career in it. I do this for my own interest in personal growth. I don’t charge for it. I consider it an investment in making myself a more robust writer. Writers shouldn’t need to be spoon fed with all the information available on the Internet. It doesn’t take long to become an expert in the minimal depth required to write a blog or social media post. If you’re working with a writer who does need content fed to them, you’re going to spend a whole lot of time rewriting their stuff.
  • Connections and news. Most of my clients are busy running their businesses, whereas I am either writing or researching all day long (this is the reason my blog looks like a ghost town). It’s common for me to find industry information and breaking news that I pass on to my clients. Often it allows them to be first with information to their community. Writing is producing a product but the type of writers you want to work with again and again are the ones who act as if they are part of your business and not just delivering a product.

The things I mention here are what I see as the basics of what a writer should be doing in this digital marketing age. What do you think? Am I off base or should writers be a valuable extension of the company’s marketing efforts?

Advice for Emerging Association Professionals

As someone who has been in the association space for about half a decade now, here is my advice for the upcoming generation. In addition to this video, I wrote a blog post about the importance of telling your story as a young professional.

http://youtu.be/o6GwmtUpRig

If video’s not your thing, here’s the transcript of my advice to the emerging young professional.

 

Although the comedian in me really wanted to leave the original transcript at YouTube transcribed it, I did in the end, edit it to the best of my recollection. If there’s something slightly amiss, please forgive the error.

 

Hi. I’m Christina Green and I’m a freelance writer and marketer for associations, chambers of commerce and small businesses.

Here’s my advice to you emerging young professional:

 

Take advantage of the time you have now. I know you don’t feel like you have any time that you’re so stressed with work and you come home and just want to relax but 15 years from now you’re going to have responsibilities you haven’t even dreamed of yet so take advantage of the time that you have now.

 

    • Join the groups you’re interested in, spend your time thinking about what you want to do in your career.

 

    • Gaining the knowledge that would be necessary. I know that you’ve just graduated from school and it seems like you just got done educating yourself what more do you have to do? But let me tell you, the way things are moving with social media and new technologies constantly changing, you have to be in charge of your own education. It’s a very rare organization that’s going to come to you and ask you to you learn more about a topic. To be a vital and contributing part of this market you need to constantly be on top of the technologies that are out there and the different ways of doing things. No one’s going to do that for you. You need to take that upon yourself, which brings me back to time.

 

  • If somebody asks you to take on a special project, something that could be the beginning of a huge opportunity for you, don’t tell them they’re gonna have to wait until the weekend or they’re going to have to wait a couple of weeks because it’s a pretty stressful time (for you) at work right now and you just don’t know when it’s going to happen. Give them an exact date that they can expect that deadline or that product to be produced or that service to be rendered and then beat (due date).

Now is the time to wow people. Now is the time to knock them on their tukus.

You have the time work hard. Do it. I know you can. That’s my advice to you emerging professional.