Training a new employee is typically a fairly in-depth process. The idea is to minimize the time it takes to train while still providing adequate information for the new employee to hit the ground running and be effective as soon as possible. The same is true (maybe even more so) for content and freelance writer. Onboarding is a tedious yet extremely important and necessary process. However, there are some ways you can streamline the process. Here are some ideas that can serve as a quick guide.
Product or Service
This probably goes without saying, but having a firm understanding of the product or service offered is pretty crucial in order to write articles that relate to the product or service. Any content or freelance writer should receive a fairly extensive “crash course” about the product, service, and brand as a whole – simply so they are caught up with the company.
If you have a dedicated sales team, they are a great resource to utilize in this situation. Have the sales team pitch the product or service to the new employee. If they can get people to purchase, they should be able to quickly get any freelance writer up to speed concerning product knowledge.
The writer needs to know who they are writing for. The audience will drastically affect the language, tone, voice, and style of any given piece of content. Create a small set of buyer personas so the new writer can easily access a variety of potential readers to craft writing accordingly. Give them in-depth identities: identify who they are, what positions they hold, what types of websites, magazines, and publications they read, and what their lives are like outside of work if they have a pet. OK, that last one might not be necessary, but the point is, be as detailed as possible!
Tone and Voice
You likely have a specific tone and voice to your blog and content already, so the new writer needs to learn to adapt that voice, at least to a certain degree. All the writers should have a fairly unified central voice. Professional or casual, fun or serious, informational or technical; depending on the purpose of the blog, these are all potential options for the tone and voice of the blog.
Are there specific elements that your brand’s blog uses or does not use? Bullets, numbered lists, quotes, hyperlinked sites, images, and charts are all tools that blogs and articles can use to increase readability and make posts more interesting and fun. New writers need to understand which elements are common and work well with your specific blog so that they can structure their writing accordingly.
Finally, the writer should have a fairly good understanding of the content team. In understanding how the rest of the team writes, the new writer will better understand how their subtle writing differences can fit in as a part of the whole. Remember, most blogs are about personifying the brand and making it relatable, so it is ok if articles have slightly different looks and feel (according to the people that write them). This is one of the best ways to make the blog seem more human and less “salesy.”
Put together a small portfolio of one or two ideal pieces of writing from each person that creates content for the brand. This will be a great resource for the tone and voice of the blog as a whole, but also to provide insight into each of the writer’s styles.