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Anyone who commissions writers regularly knows how important it is to choose carefully – trial and error can be very costly. If you want to avoid a lot of frog kissing in your search for your writing prince or princess, you might find this article useful.

In our experience, when it comes to choosing the right writer, people often base their decision on what they think is important, not what is important. Here are some of the more common assumptions.

I need a writer with specialist experience in my sector, right?

Wrong. In-depth expertise in a particular subject doesn’t make someone a better writer. You’re the one with the sector-specific knowledge. What you need is a writer who can pick your brains for the key messages, and then develop and communicate these persuasively. If you choose only from writers with a track record in a narrow field, you’re severely limiting your options.

It has to be a writer who’s proved themselves by winning awards

Not really. Many outstanding writers never enter awards (they want to avoid the expense and hassle of taking part). So if you use evidence of gongs and garlands as a guide, you’ll miss out on some of the best brains available to you.

My writer definitely needs to be based nearby

Only if they don’t have a phone or internet connection. Most writing projects can be done remotely – in fact, the majority of writers work more effectively in their own space. They’ll travel to meetings on sizeable projects, but don’t need to be just around the corner. Again, don’t reduce your choices by imposing unnecessary conditions.

It’s important to find a writer who can jump onto my project quickly

No – don’t just choose the first writer who’s available. Any good writer will grasp your brief quickly, but a rush job rarely leads to effective work. So be realistic, set reasonable timescales and ask yourself, if this project is delayed a day or two, will the world really end? A common complaint among writers is that they’re never given enough time to do it right, but there always seems to be time to re-do it.

The writer’s day rate has to be competitive

Okay, value for money and controlling cost are important – but don’t make it about day rates. They’re no guide to what you’ll end up paying in total, as a writer with a higher rate could work more quickly – and produce better work – than another with a cheaper rate. Ask for a quote for the project instead.

Now, you might be wondering – if none of the above is a sign of a good writer, how do you go about choosing one?

We have an answer (or several answers) for that question too – in our new ebook, ‘The coffee-break guide to getting better words’.

And, once you’ve chosen your writer, our ebook also offers a really useful guide to briefing and working with them. So your project runs more smoothly and brings better results.

Plus, you’ll have a better chance of enjoying yourself along the way. Much better than puckering up for Kermit.

Download our time-saving, project-enhancing, life-changing ebook here.

 

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  1. […] first blog in our ‘Getting better words’ series busted a few myths about how to choose the right writer for your project. This time round, […]

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