Writing for Content Agencies: How We Create Compelling Copy
If our mission as marketers is to create compelling content, then our writers are the rockets that launch our mission into space. That’s an example of a bad metaphor. Don’t do that.
Our team is constantly looking for the best in the business to write for our content agency and contribute to the editorial vision for each D Custom client. Consider the following your guide to writing for content agencies like ours.
Related: For good writing, knowing your audience is key. Here’s how to identify them.
Rule No. 1: Write Well
Every piece of content we produce must directly benefit our clients while also standing alone as a good, relevant piece of writing. To achieve this, content agencies need writers who can quickly familiarize themselves with a client’s brand and style guide and internalize it as a guidebook for everything they create. It can be a lot to think about, which is why we need writers who are masters of their craft.
Language matters. Perfect grammar, pleasing syntax, and succinct, direct language are the essentials to any pitch or piece of content we receive. And please spare us the industry jargon.
One other thing you should know:
Writing for content agencies is fun, exciting and rewarding. What‘s wrong with that sentence?
We use the Oxford comma. We’ll be more than happy to debate you on it (but you’ll be wrong).
Rule No. 2: Give Us the Information We Need
Two years ago, I broke up with someone because he told me he had read all of Dan Brown’s novels. Last night I watched five episodes of Buffy the Vampire Slayer. What I’m doing right now is over-sharing. Don’t do that. Do you want to see a picture of my toe from when I broke it last year? No, you don’t.
Share (just) enough to convince us. When you introduce yourself, include your résumé, any pertinent references, and the clips you are proudest of. We work with people who write for top local and national publications. Many are experts in certain industries that align with our client work — e.g., tech, insurance, pharmaceutical. Some are both. Some are neither, but their portfolios show us that they can write just about anything.
We like all of them. Use your work to show that you will contribute to the business and strategic goals of our clients.
Also: Be up front about your rate, timelines, capacity, interests, and questions. These details are going to come up eventually, and discussing them from the start makes everything go more smoothly.
We’re also not averse to GIFs, but do know that if you send us a GIF, it will likely make or break your career with us. Use discretion (see above re: Dan Brown vs. Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Our edit team is also generally in favor of The Office. Obviously.)
Rule No. 3: Learn About Us
We love the good people of D Magazine. We share an office with them, read their stories, and occasionally collaborate. But a lot of people don’t get that what we do and what they do are not the same. Before you pitch us, make sure you understand the difference.
Getting to know us means getting to know our clients. We work with some really cool companies. Look them up. Tell us the kinds of writing you’re interested in doing or the kinds of clients you’re interested in writing for. We write a lot of words, so if you tell us what you’re good at, it’ll help us assign you the right ones.
Rule No. 4: Pitch Perfectly
Sometimes, writers reach out simply to seek assignments. There’s nothing wrong with that. But if you really want to get on our good side, show us you get us and send us a pitch.
If you’re pitching something you’d like to write for our content agency — either for our clients or for our own blog — be sure it answers these basic questions:
- Why is this story important, worth writing, and interesting to a wider audience of [X]?
- Is it right for the format we’re working in and the voice of the client?
- Is it correct, relevant, and cutting edge in the industry? Is it original?
- How does it serve the business objectives of the client?
- Will I be bored?
Rule No. 5: Know the Content Marketing Industry
When we’re sourcing writers, we seek out wordsmiths with not only a love of language, but also an understanding of the digital marketing world. This includes:
- SEO savvy: Good content is useless if your audience can’t find it, and the best way to avoid this is incorporating SEO best practices into your writing.
- Social media prowess: Social media is a huge part of our industry. We love when our writers understand how to write for the different social platforms and which platforms are best suited for particular types of content and audiences.
- Industry understanding: Writing for content agencies is a lot easier when you understand the way we work — and how the content you write fits into our overarching marketing game plan. This also means knowing the specific goals of the content based on where the audience is in the buying cycle.
Want to know a good place to find out more about the ins and outs of our industry? Our blog.
Rule No. 6: Talk to Us
We value our relationships with our writers. They’re a vital extension of our work and our brand, and we would always rather give regular assignments than one-offs.
A quick “Hey, the interview went well,” goes a long way. This is the kind of thing that keeps our trusted talent writing for our content agency for years and getting a steady stream of work. Check in with us during projects when you feel it’s necessary or might be helpful. We love writers who do this because it lets us know that all our assignments are on track, and when something comes up we can work together to get the job done on time.
Speaking of which: Let’s talk deadlines for a minute. Yes, it bums us out to miss deadlines. But you know what’s worse? When you miss deadlines without giving us a heads-up about it. We get it: Things come up. We can work with you, but you have to let us know. Otherwise, you’ll go on our bad list.
Let’s recap: Write well, back yourself up with previous work, get to know us, think strategically about our clients’ goals, check out our blog, use this comma →, and stay in touch.
We’re hiring writers! Apply today.