Good Order Instructions Part 2
A good briefing is like a good foundation of a house. Lay the groundwork for your authors to create content that attracts the right visitors as well as the search engines.
The instructions, or briefing, of your order, are crucial to the author. Without complete, correct instructions, the author is free to submit anything they like – and that might not be what you had in mind.
Hopefully, you already have developed a basic content strategy that covers the Four Keys to Great Content, namely:
You should include a sentence or link on the first three of these subjects in your instructions. Your keywords should be entered into our SEO options section for easy tracking. Letting your authors know who they are writing for empowers the writer to boldly engage your audience and personalize the content for your readers. The goals and branding perspective help authors structure their content and refine their points to better encourage readers to respond to your call to action. This doesn’t have to be a novel. Here are two examples of communicating your three keys:
|Please write an article encouraging our audience to sign up for our newsletter. Our audience is women age 32-49 who are married. They may have a few kids.Please be professional, positive and use the third person.|
With that, you can go into more detail on your product, the subject in your title, or other details the author should know.
A Note On “Person”
Our example above included the phrase “third person.” Choosing the “person,” or point of view of the author, is a crucial portion of the instructions and will help the author deliver the content right the first time. Please review this blog for more information on person and tone.
Titles and Instructions
Our previous post talked a little about titles. Titles should always reference the subject of the article. Additionally, there should be a clear correlation between your title and your instructions. Clients who use templates, bulk loading, or other time-saving options should check that their instructions apply to all the titles ordered. Orders like this:
…where the title is “electric bulb fittings” but the instructions ask for pizza delivery service, often get skipped, delaying your content writing.
Local Content Creation
The order instructions above highlight another interesting issue. We get quite a bit of work that develops local and hyper-local content creation. With ever-evolving algorithms, creating this type of content is a smart move. However, we see too often that clients have city names in their keywords or instructions but forget to mention the state or country. Which Birmingham should the author write about? There’s one in Alabama, Michigan and the UK. Our authors are spread across the US, so please include state or country information in your instructions.
Authors will read your instructions and provide you with an article based on the information you give them. Most of our authors are happy to research your topic, but they can’t do that well if they don’t have a few good leads to go on. For instance, if your order only contains the name of your client’s business, “Mishka’s Originals,” the type of business is unclear. Authors will have difficulty writing an order that’s relevant to your content needs.
As a rule, the more information you can provide, the better content you’ll receive and the faster you’ll receive it. Missing basic information, like company industry, company location or product details may result in many authors asking the same question about your order, leading to delays and frustration. Authors may also avoid your order entirely. Even worse, they may submit an order that’s not relevant to your needs at all.
References can be incredibly helpful for authors to achieve the style and tone you’re looking for. As mentioned in our post on re-writes, you may want to give two or three blogs that you like to avoid copying. References and examples should fit the order instructions and title.
Formatting and Structure
If you already know the structure or format you need, share that with the authors. Here’s an example:
Please write an article on [keyword]. Use a bold subhead before each paragraph.
This product review should have 5 sections:
- Price and Availability
- Comparable Products
- Summary and Rating
Giving authors a checklist or template can help them stay organized and focus on their research and content development. Structures that are too specific may delay authors choosing your assignment. A good rule of thumb is to keep the instructions shorter than the article you request.
By default, we will allow a small margin of duplicate content, which usually consists of direct, attributed quotations and long-tail keywords, as discussed in our post on Copyscape results. If you have an absolute zero-tolerance Copyscape policy, please include that in your order instructions and check that your keyword phrases are less than four words long.
Authors do not see when your content was ordered, so they don’t know if “by Thursday” means this coming Thursday or last Thursday. Authors do not see the past history of your order, so they don’t know if previous authors delayed your content. If you need a piece of content back by a certain date, please include the day and month in your order.
What Not To Ask For
Please do not ask for author contact information in an order as this is against our Terms of Service.
Also, authors have no control over how you receive your content. Please do not ask for Word documents, CSVs, posting on your site or others’ sites. All of these are export options that you can select in your account itself. Learn more about export options here.
Authors cannot attach documents or images to an order. If you need screenshots or images, please ask the author to forward them to firstname.lastname@example.org in the order instructions. We will then pass the screenshots on to you.
Please do not ask for more words than your maximum word count, even if you are ordering a re-write. Authors will avoid your order, delaying your content creation. Although no research is necessary, authors have to read the current piece, analyze its structure and where changes can be made, and re-work the piece for you. This can take a significant amount of time and talent.
Our authors are rated according to their mastery of the English language. Quality levels 2 and 3 have a very high probability of having spelling and grammar issues. While you can ask authors of all levels to use a spellchecker, asking for perfect grammar in level 2 and 3 articles defeats the concept of our service. Please order at level 4 for high-quality content with good to excellent grammar.
The Golden Rule
The final item is your attitude towards the authors. Clients who use all caps and negative language in their unorganized orders will wait longer for their content than clients who politely and professionally set clear, concise expectations. Most authors want to earn your business, and they are excited to work in a mutually respectful partnership. Your order is your first introduction to our authors, just as their submissions are their introductions to you as a client. Make a great first impression with our tips and motivated, knowledgeable authors will be writing your content quickly!