Tips for managing authors so you publish great content without micromanaging
Have you ever tried making meals with your partner, sister, parents or friends? How does it work? Do you constantly run into each other or work in harmony at each other’s pace? Try adding three or four more cooks to your home kitchen. What do you think the result was? If you are lucky enough to have writing staff To create content for your company blog, you need someone to take on the role of head chef in the kitchen. If you are reading this, that person is probably you.
Managing writers is a tough and rewarding job. Take it from me, I’ve been doing it for years. This is difficult because you are working with creative people who have different schedules, ideas, and processes than your own. This is beneficial, because you can learn a lot working with creative individuals, and that will better your writing, even if you are the one managing it.
If you’ll be managing writers, consider these tips when working with your team.
Productivity may come in waves
Keep in mind that not all writers adhere to the same type of writing schedule or guidelines. While one may work best in the morning, another may do best for writing at night. You can hire a writer who writes blog posts for a full week on Mondays, but spends Tuesday through Friday editing his work. Different employees can write only one article a day, and edit it immediately after finishing it.
The point here is simple: all writers have different levels and schedules of productivity. Productivity standards should be set, for example, do you expect ten articles a week, or five? However, it is not in your content’s best interest to decide when that productivity occurs. As long as the deadline is met, should you care? As a manager, your responsibility is to prepare your staff for success, not to micromanage their results. Does it matter how they produce content? Maybe not, as long as they turn in quality work on time.
Edit for clarity, not for personal preference
If you are lucky to have multiple blog writers, chances are you have different blog writers too blog sound for your blog. The natural voice change will be welcomed by your readers. Keep this in mind when editing assignments. Good editors change content issues for clarity, or for something as simple as grammar or spelling. Don’t fall into the trap of fiddling with your content writer’s words just because you’ll be saying something a little different.
I know, we all want to believe that we will never do that, but it’s human nature to stick with what’s comfortable for you, like your writing choices. Too often I hear disgruntled writers complain about how their work is edited, but they’re too afraid to talk to their boss for fear of repercussions, such as losing future assignments.
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Consider creating a style guide for your writing team that all writers use as a standard. If your writers can follow the same consistent guidelines, you won’t have to worry too much about their content. Editing is just to check grammar and make sure the message fits your brand.
At the same time, if you hire ego-free writers, they must understand that they are writing for your business, and that is not the same as creative writing for a newspaper, magazine, or journal.
Firm with deadlines
If your employees are aware that deadlines are tight, chances are they will turn in their work on time. If you are not firm with deadlines, chances are you’ll be managing writers who don’t value your time and take advantage of deadlines. To make sure you get the best work on time from your writers, set clear deadlines.
At the BuzzFarmers office, we plan our editorial calendar a month in advance. They are then approved by our clients so expectations about what content we write will always be clear. To take it a step further, we also made sure to write all of our blog posts a week in advance. This gives us the opportunity to edit each other’s work and schedule it so we never miss a posting deadline.
Realistically, things are bound to happen. Cars break down, kids get sick, internet connection crashes, and computer chargers go missing. If you’re working with a staff member you know is really good at keeping deadlines, you’ll have the option of being flexible when real last-minute situations arise.
Respect the task
Just as you want your writers to turn in their assignments on time, you must also respect how and when you assign them work. If you assign work every week – say on Friday for the following week – don’t give out additional posts on Wednesday mornings. If you can value your employees’ time by following a consistent work schedule, they’ll be more than happy to volunteer for any breaking news or last minute posts that may need your help.
What other tips do you have for managing writers? Let us know in the comments below!