By Kelsey Boudin
President and Founder, Southern Tier Communications Strategies, LLC
Writing is hard. It’s so hard that it’s comical the salaries that some professional writing and content-creation outfits will pay. The craft is worth so much more than that.
Your organization depends on messaging to survive and thrive. Your small business needs website copy and social media posts to solidify your public image and gather sales leads. Your organization needs messaging and branding around which entire communities will rally. Your nonprofit needs grant funding and other support to function.
So you set out to do it yourself, or you task a member of your small staff to do the writing. No problem, right? It’s free if you do it yourself. But do any of the following scenarios sound familiar?
- You or your staff get too busy and end up putting writing and editing tasks on the back burner.
- The copy you do produce performs poorly (low website traffic, little to no sales conversions, grant applications fail, etc.).
- You spend too much time writing and editing, and important organizational tasks get pushed aside.
You may be a decent or skilled writer, but it’s just not working for you. You’re not alone. If you feel any of these pressures, it may be time to consider hiring an outside consultant or copy writing agency to do the heavy lifting for you.
Here’s what you’ll get.
Inexperienced writers have difficulty finding the right wording and structure to guide the message. This is nothing to be ashamed of. Your high school or even college English composition classes may have taught you how to develop thoughts in some coherent form. But the typical curriculum of book reports, research papers and even position essays may not prepare you for:
- Writing for your audience
- Writing conversationally
- Writing concisely
- Writing compelling narratives
- Engaging timely and relevant info
- Avoiding logical fallacies
- Proper attribution
Even spelling, grammar, syntax and punctuation may be a struggle. An experienced communications professional will be prepared for the basics — and beyond — to make your messaging stand out clearly and effectively in a very cluttered world.
To an inexperienced writer, typing up a 100-word commercial script, a 500-word blog post or a 5,000-word grant proposal could take days, weeks — heck, maybe even months. An experienced writer thrives on deadline pressure and can produce loads of high-quality content in a matter of hours. Of course, a larger project requires a bit more time, but quick turnarounds come easily for the professionals.
At its core, writing may seem like simply sitting down at a computer and pounding out words. But writing for purpose — and scale — requires a plan of attack. This goes for outlining a single blog post up to developing a quarterly content map or annual grant strategy. Individual blog articles must have structure. Digital marketing content must solve reader questions and problems. Grant proposals must answer funder questions completely and compellingly.
On a grander scale, multiple elements of digital content must be developed, published and promoted via appropriate channels to lead readers to effective conclusions (sales and/or support). Likewise, grant proposals must be crafted to the funder’s exact specifications, including formatting, word/character counts and supplementary documentation. Overall funding strategies must seek relevant funders at appropriate times and in the right combinations to meet financial goals.
A communications professional will help you to see the overall picture and will develop effective strategies to meet goals.
Maybe you don’t have time. Maybe you don’t know where to look. The didactic (teaching) style of writing needed to produce digital marketing campaigns and grant proposals requires a lot of research. Sure, it’s important to be entertaining and enlightening, but it’s more important to be correct.
A professional will know where (and how) to dig for pertinent source material.
Sometimes you’re just too close to the topic. You live your job, breathe it, eat it every day — you may have even built your empire. You know the lingo. You know how things are supposed to go.
Here’s the problem: you know too much! And it shows in your writing, even subconsciously. Your audience is not going to think like you or understand the things you take for granted.
Several of my clients have remarked, “Gee, I never would have thought about writing it that way,” after I submitted a project for review. To which I respond, “Of course you didn’t. That’s why you hired me!” We all have a good laugh, but it’s true. An outsider’s objective perspective can spot angles you may not pursue or write from a perspective that may be easier for a layperson to understand.
So When Should You Hire a Copy Writing Agency?
Well, now, of course. If you’re struggling with the writing and messaging it will take for your organization to be successful, the next logical step is to take that off your plate. Go run your empire. Leave the writing to the professionals.
Contact us here to get the process started. We’re happy to answer any questions.