Nerds and Words

Content writer at work

Working with a content writer: Dos and Don’ts

What do content writers do and how can they help you?


Since the dawn of humanity (and the Internet), a lot has been written about how to grow your business, attract customers, and delight them. In today’s talk, we’ll have 3 protagonists at the same time: a business owner, a content writer, and a client. Yes, your business model, the problem that your brand seeks to solve, and your website are all important. 


But you know what else matters a lot? The content you choose to fill your website with. As a matter of fact, content marketing becomes more popular by the day thanks to its philosophy. The premise is simple: we’re overwhelmed by all those ads, commercials, special offers, and selling propositions. This fatigue can easily be fought with quality content, inspiring messages, and storytelling.


But that’s not all. People expect nothing short of excellence from the brands they choose. That is attention to the details, short and compelling product descriptions, high-quality copy and design, and impeccable online experiences. I don’t know about you but when we hear the word “copy” (or “content”…), our heart bursts with joy.


Many of you may have already heard about copywriting, although talking about it feels like navigating uncharted waters. But content writing is a rather novel concept, whose meaning and utility are hard to grasp. So let’s start by briefly describing each of them.


Copywriting vs. Content writing


Copywriting is the most visible part of a brand’s promotion efforts. It’s that kind of effective writing that ensures your product or service will be seen in a good light. The kind of writing that tells prospects exactly why they should choose you over anyone and anything else. The effort behind all those brilliant ads, fine-tuned product descriptions, well-crafted landing pages, catchy slogans, and brand mottos, engaging social media posts, and so on. Generally speaking, copywriting is about keeping it short and to the point. 


Content writing is lengthier. It’s about conveying information, detailing benefits, discussing options, and evolutions… A content writer will take care of your blog posts but can also lend a helping hand in developing comprehensive industry guides, white papers, ebooks, and so on. More than that- a good content writer is not only a creative person but also a detail-oriented person and a technical writer. An SEO wizard, if you will, capable of optimizing your texts for search engines, so that your presence will be more prominent and your voice will be heard.


Now there are a lot of articles teaching you how to find the copywriter or content writer that best fits your needs but I had a hard time finding something that deals with the way the relationship between the two parties should evolve. And I’ve told myself: “Why not write it myself?” So today we’re talking about the basic principles that will help you establish a mutually beneficial relationship with your content writer and create a durable, professional partnership in this field.


Step 1: Tell us about yourself!


When you decide that the time for collaborating with a professional content creator has finally come, the first thing to do is breaking the ice. How do you do that? Through an email, in which you tell us a bit about yourself:


  • what your profile is
  • what’s your strategy, in a few lines
  • whom you are addressing


This kind of information is very useful for us, as it indicates where we should start our research and what kind of content you need us to write for you. Don’t forget to throw in a couple of words about your specific needs- the main reason you came to us. You’re not sure yet? Don’t worry, in the next paragraphs, we’ll be going through the strategy.


Step 2: Let’s see what we can do for you!


Generally speaking, it’s good to have a to-do list prepared, detailing your needs and objectives for your website or social media account. If you don’t know exactly what needs to be done, our team can help you develop a content strategy. Because, as in any other area of your business, you’ll need a strategy, a well-thought-out plan that will enable you to reach and analyze your specific objectives. 


First things first: we’ll be doing a website audit, which is a lot like your regular spring cleaning. We’ll be deciding together what’s in, what’s out, and what needs further improvement. Then we go into details and set the priorities, according to each business and its needs. Here are some questions that you can answer yourself or to which we’ll answer together:


  • Do we need to start from scratch? Do you already have a website or are you in the process of creating one?
  • Does the website need some search engine optimization (SEO) done?
  • Do you need to create new content for your website? (I.e. new product categories with new descriptions, blog posts, etc.)
  • Is there any type of content available? Do you need to improve it?
  • Do you need product descriptions?
  • Do you need short texts for Google or social media ads?


Don’t worry if you don’t have everything figured out. After all, content marketing is something completely new for you and this is why we’re here: to help you find the best solution.


Step 3: Working together


Now that we have a direction, we can get down to business. Naturally, you want things to run smoothly and the content to be a perfect match. For this to happen, there are certain unwritten rules that make the advertising and marketing world go round:


  • Tell us what you need, then let the magic happen. In other words, tell us what you need, not how it needs to be done. Obviously, we’ll need your help in establishing the tone of voice and the general lines of the whole communication process. But from that moment on, you’ll need to trust us and our expertise. Don’t worry, feedback time will come and you’ll have the chance to shine once again.


  • If possible, give us some guiding lines. This applies mainly to those who come from lesser-known industries or whose activity is overly specialized. Some sources or landmarks from your domain will help us better navigate the research process, allowing us to understand precisely what you are doing. Moreover, this way we can find out more about what your competition is currently doing so that our work will lay the ground for your differentiation. 


  • Give us a clear deadline and precise information. We’re just like you, we’ve got a lot of projects to deal with, we’re often playing on more than two fronts, and we need to know exactly what’s expected from us. Effective time management is the key to success. Deadlines allow us to structure our work in the best possible way. They also help us allocate our resources and efforts in an optimal way. 


  • Be straightforward in your communication. Whatever comes up along the way can be better dealt with if you let us know about it in due time. Plus, not all projects are set in stone: most of them are actually pretty “fluid”. For example, you wanted to promote a certain product from your website but the actual context favors more a different one. That’s perfectly fine, we’re permanently adapting but we need to know when things change.


  • Set your objectives. Especially if you plan on extending the collaboration. You need a clear understanding of what has been done, what needs to be done, and what calls for improvement. Otherwise, you run the risk of doing the same thing twice.


  • Try to stick to the content strategy. If we’ve agreed on writing 3 social media posts per week or 4 blog articles per month, this should be the rhythm. Following the same line, if we scheduled the exact days for publishing the content, we should stick to them. Otherwise, everything gets chaotic, not only for us but also for your audience. Once your audience has become accustomed to a certain rhythm, every alteration can come as a disruption, having the potential to confusing them. Obviously, if something big comes up, we’ll do our best to accommodate the change. But it is generally better to be consistent.


  • Last but not least, be punctual! Not only when you’re showing up to meetings but also in writing. We can talk on the phone, on Skype (or Zoom), or face to face to outline the project but promptness helps both sides in more ways than you can possibly imagine.


Step 4: It’s feedback time!


This is what we, copywriters, and content writers, thrive on. Every piece of feedback helps us become better at what we do.


  • Be proactive: underline exactly what needs to be improved/refine and, if possible, tell us what we missed. We can be a lot of things but we’re definitely not mind readers. ?


  • You are free to deliver your feedback whenever it works best for you: as we go, for each article, or at the end of our collaboration. The individual feedback (on each article) should tell us how well we worked on the brief, what we understood and what we didn’t understand about your industry, as well as the extent to which we managed to solve the problems of your audience.


  • If you want your projects to be successful and the feedback to be relevant, try to leave as little as possible to your copywriter or content writer’s free interpretation. Some reference points are always welcome but as long as you haven’t offered us any anchors and our texts lacked a certain something, then it lies beyond our writing skills. Maybe we could’ve communicated better. Maybe we misunderstood what you expected from us. Or maybe we didn’t quite get that trend from within your industry. This is why we ask hundreds of questions before we start working on any project. Better safe than sorry 🙂


Anyway, you should also be aware of the artistic and extremely sensitive nature of these online writers. This means that they work best when they know they have their clients’ trust and that their work is appreciated at its true value. So, apart from what’s already been said, they also appreciate the following:


  • Checking the agency’s or the content creator’s portfolio in advance, instead of asking for text samples before actually deciding whether you’re going to work with them or not. You can easily find out if they’re a good match by scanning their website or the websites of their clients (most of the agencies have a section on their website dedicated to the projects and collaborations they’re the proudest of).


  • Being as quick with your payments as you are with the feedback. Or as quick as we are when delivering the content you need. As long as we’ve managed to respect the deadlines and the brief, somewhere, deep in our hearts, we expect the same from you. Otherwise, you’ll find us on the subway platform with a sign that reads “Will write for food”. And you’ll be overwhelmed with guilt. Just saying…



  • Being open, regardless of the outcome of our collaboration. It takes time to build trust but we are patient enough and we’re here to earn by our means: through awesome content. If you’re flexible enough in your communication, open to debate, and if we’re on the same page, not only will the collaboration live up to your expectations- it will exceed them.


This should be it.

Don’t forget that we’re here to answer your specific needs. Take a closer look at our website, make any comparison you like, mix and match, think everything through, and let us know if we can do anything for you (through the contact form available here– we’re shy). Write everything down, ask all the questions that come to your mind (and even a couple more). We promise you that following these simple steps will pave your way to a healthy and fruitful collaboration with your content creator.