I love it when an old client pops up at a new company. They get in touch and the challenge is often the same “we have a lot to write, and great writers are hard to find”.

I got a call like this recently. 20 case studies in 4 weeks for a sales team desperate to tell great stories and win new clients.

Over the last decade or so the founder and CEO had tried all sorts of ways to get to great writing. They’d written some things themselves. They’d hired various writers including journalists and ghostwriters. And nothing had worked. No-one had quite got it.

I could tell they were frustrated and just wanted some brilliant writing quickly.

But writing volume at that pace is almost impossible for one person. So I knew we needed Team Afia on it. One problem. The calendar was booked solid. I went back and asked what was driving the deadline. Could it flex so we could produce the best result?

And I realised that if they’d tried all those different routes and they hadn’t worked then the same approach would take them to the same place. As someone said, if you keep doing what you’ve always done, you’ll get the same result.

I knew the only way to move forward was to take a big old step back.

It’s easy to plow into writing, producing the next bit of content without doing the thinking first. If you find yourself in this situation then you need to stop, approach language strategically and not rush. Start by developing a really tight brief with your writer that’s clear on everything in afiatone.

And even if you think you’re right up against a deadline, writing without a tone of voice creates even more work.

Unless the tone and strategy are clear, a founder’s strong sense of ownership can override the marketing team. Then you end up with a bunch of disempowered marketers, and the founder ends up overloaded, trying to write everything.

Tone of voice helps you to be objective about feedback and how you evaluate writing. It tells you what’s on-brand and what’s not and takes the conversation away from personal opinion. If you have that and a clear idea of WHY you’re writing what you’re writing then you’ll end up with a brilliant result.

Want those results? Here’s a quick checklist and you can find more about getting great work from a writer here.

1. Define your brand strategy and personality
2. Create tone of voice guidelines
3. Develop a focussed brief using afiatone
4. Now go and look for great writers
5. Work on the brief with the writer so you’re super clear on objectives
6. Be on hand so the writer knows they’re on the right track
7. Give objective feedback using your strategy, tone of voice guidelines and the brief
8. Rejoice because the writing is awesome

These are all things I’ve been doing for 20 years, so if you’d like some help, drop me a line on 07909 221130.