One of the trickiest parts of getting started on the platform can be fine-tuning your requests--making sure they provide enough information to writers that they can be successful, but not too much information that they can become overwhelmed.
In this article, we’ll go over a few best practices for crafting a request, the different elements you should include in your request, and provide you with a template to use within the platform.
General Best Practices
When writing a request, consider that for many writers, this will not only serve as their guide for crafting your piece of content but also may be their first exposure to your organization & brand. You want to make sure that you craft a request that appeals to your writer, sets them up for success, and persuades them that you’re a great fit for them to work with now and in the future.
When crafting your requests, DO:
Use the request template provided below.
Include a focused, specific title; key takeaways; a call to action, voice/tone, formatting guidelines, & the description of the audience.
Make sure to fill out your SEO Requirements.
Structure your request to make it as easy to follow as possible--don’t be afraid to use headers/bullet points.
Keep it brief! Your request should ideally be a minimum of 250-300 words, and never be longer than half the word count of the content itself. For example, for 1000 words, it still shouldn’t exceed 500 words.
Unclear, broad topics where the focus & key takeaways aren’t clear & specific
Requests shorter than 250-300 words
Requests longer than half of the length of the desired content (for a 1000 word piece, this would be 300-500 words)
Overwhelming the writer with external resources. If providing links to external sources (such as web pages/articles), choose sources that are succinct & with a clear focus. Try to limit yourself to providing 1-3 links if optional/additional resources.
Our Request Template
Using the request template below should help you to stay within the above parameters. Each of the required elements has been bolded. You do not need to answer each of the additional questions. Instead, answer & explain those that you feel would be most useful to your reader.
The title should give direction and a clear focus for the writer--a strong sense of what they’ll be writing. It does not need to be the actual title that will be used for the piece.
Ex: XXX Ways to Increase Your Home Resale Value
Purpose & Focus:
The focus of the piece is the immediate topic at hand. What are 1-3 key takeaways the reader should get from the piece?
What is the purpose of the piece? The purpose is what the writer (or the writer on behalf of you, the customer) hopes to achieve with the piece of content--is it meant to persuade, summarize, inform?
What is the call to action? What action do you hope the reader will take as a result of reading this piece--do you want them to subscribe, purchase, like, etc
Ex: The reader should takeaway 3-5 specific projects they can take on to increase their home's resale value. The purpose is to empower them with what feels like insider knowledge, with a call to action to subscribe to our newsletter, potentially contacting us for our consulting services.
Who is the author of this piece? Is it meant to be a professional in the field, the CEO of the company?
Voice & Tone What are 2-3 word to describe their voice--informal, jovial, professional, academic?
Expertise/Experience What level of expertise might the reader expect from the author? What prior/shared knowledge might the reader expect the author to have?
Ex: The author is a friendly, approachable professional with experience in real-estate and interior design.
Audience/Development for Audience:
Who is the target/primary audience for this piece of content? What do we know about them--demographic level, prior knowledge on the topic, etc?
What is the audience searching for that led them to this piece of content? What need of theirs is it solving?
What kinds of sources/evidence would they find credible/reliable?
Ex: The audience is a first-time homeowner potentially looking to sell, with an interest in DIY home improvement or professional home improvements on a budget.
Are there 1-3 links to brief, external resources you think would be helpful to share with the writer?
Is there important context around this topic, such as new developments in the field or a recent event?
What kind of prior knowledge of the topic might the audience have? What prior/shared knowledge might they expect the author to have?
Example: Here are 1-2 articles the writer might consult: XXXX
Where and how will this piece of content be shared? How might this affect the formatting?
Is this a listicle, an interview, a how-to guide? This is a great place to share an example piece of content for how you want the piece to be formatted.
Example: We'd like this article to consist of numbered paragraphs, with each home improvement getting its own paragraph. There should be a brief intro & a conclusion with the CTA that links to our subscribe page. Here is an example of an article format that we like: XXXX
If you have a content-only subscription, consider the SEO requirements optional.
If you’re a +Photo/+Optimize customer, you need to fill these SEO requirements out to the best of your ability! Otherwise, your SEO strategy & requirements won’t be taken into account when your content is being optimized.
The fields for your SEO Requirements are located at the link on the right-hand side of your request. If you’re unsure how to fill out these SEO requirements, check out this brief article explaining how to use them!