Why hire a freelance thought leadership writer for your technology company? You do it for the same reason you hire a plumber to avoid flooding your bedroom when you’re renovating the upstairs bathroom.
Experienced plumbers understand the nuances of hydrodynamics. They know building codes and the high costs of violating them. And they can do a job perfectly on a Friday afternoon that might take you or me all weekend.
Let’s stretch the analogy a bit: Imagine owning a chain of plumbing supply stores. Your salespeople talk to plumbers every day and know what’s on their minds. Your sales managers hire and inspire those salespeople. Your commerce managers get products from the factory to the job site.
They bring decades of real-world insight you could use to position your company as the best in the business.
But they are not professional thought leadership writers. Sure, they can write something. But even if they moonlight as a playwright, thought leadership writing is not a sensible use of their time on your company’s clock.
Here’s a quick look at what you get when you hire a freelance thought leadership writer.
Savvy and skill
After a few years and about 50,000 words, talented freelance thought leadership writers have instincts and intuitions that elude everybody else.
It makes more sense to put our talent and skill to work because we’ve already made all the mistakes your in-house expert would make. We’ve worn out all the cliches and buzzwords. We’ve figured out how to lead an interview, frame a narrative and spruce up a first draft.
People like us don’t spend all day talking to engineers and product designers. We spend all day learning to communicate the value you deliver to customers. That makes us a bridge between your experts and your audience — the essential intermediary who can balance everybody’s needs.
Framing and focus
Your internal experts’ decades of technical expertise are blessings to your company and its customers. But all that knowledge is a curse when you’re trying to create thought leadership content.
After all, where would you start in synthesizing their galaxy of business value into a single useful narrative? A professional writer can help you carve a slice out of their experience and serve it up in a way that your customers appreciate.
Rhea Wessel of the Institute for Thought Leadership calls this process framing. She developed a Story Framing System to help writers narrow their focus and create effective, readable thought leadership articles. The core of her process is identifying problems your customers face and writing about only one of them.
To make this work, the writer must subtly align the solutions to your product or services — without overtly saying “buy our stuff because it’s the greatest!”
Making this work requires getting your writer together with your internal experts. They’ll use framing and focus to find that one issue to write about.
Efficiency and effectiveness
One client hires me to write articles that interview multiple subject matter experts. The process involves:
- Convening an introductory call with internal experts to establish the scope of the article
- Researching the company’s product line
- Creating questions for each of the interviewees
- Conducting the interviews
- Writing an outline of the article’s main points
- Composing a first draft
- Making a round of revisions if needed
I have a strong incentive to squeeze inefficiencies out of this process. Cutting the fat frees me to serve more clients (and, of course, fatten my profit margin).
Your internal experts lack these incentives. And that’s why it would take them weeks or months to write these reports. And all that time would take them away from the duties you hired them for.
My client and I don’t let that happen. We send the experts questions before the interviews. They spend as much time as they can spare prepping for the call. We talk to them on the phone for about a half-hour and they may review the drafts. At most, they lose a few hours.
This entire process takes about six weeks with a minimum of disruption to our experts. The client also has a proven content-distribution strategy that produces leads from current and potential customers who read my articles.
You could spend years figuring all this out — or hire a freelance thought leadership writer and get moving right away.
My edge as a freelance thought leadership writer
I spent two decades assessing the quality of writing in newspapers across the United States. Was the focus where it belonged? Which facts were missing? Where did the logic break down? Were the sources credible and the conclusions reasonable?
I left the business over a decade ago, but this intuitive understanding of story quality never left me. I use it every day to ensure that my thought leadership writing has savvy, focus and effectiveness.
That’s what my clients get when they put me to work.
If you’re interested, drop me a note in my Contact page.
If you need more on my background, see my story about storytelling.