Let’s say you’ve made the decision to engage the time and talents of a contract writing team to beef up the content of your website (and here’s why you should). Now, what? To be sure you maximize your contract resources, keep these tips in mind:
Firm up your site map now. We can’t stress how important it is for you to engage your service line leaders, marketing team and IT support in order to create a highly detailed site map before the writing team comes along. An effective site map should include a listing of all pages, subpages and specific content that should be included on each page. If you don’t have the site map ready for your writers, you run the risk of the writers themselves burning a ton of hours fleshing out the site map — and their time is much better spent on writing.
Gather SME information. Communicate with your subject matter experts (SMEs) in advance to let them know the outside writing team will be contacting them. SMEs are usually busy doctors who don’t have a lot of time to sift through their email and it’s easy to ignore a message from an unfamiliar email address. If you can walk down the hall and chat with Dr. Smith about being a SME for your upcoming writing project or send an introductory email to introduce the writer, it can help keep things moving.
Settle on your brand voice and editorial style. Try to come to an internal agreement on your organization’s brand voice, as well as the editorial style and formatting you would like the writing team to use. Is it “healthcare” or “health care”? It’s up to you.
Be realistic about your internal team. Sure, you probably have a super internal marketing team and service line leaders that would love to help out on the writing that needs done, but you’ve hired a contract writing team for good reason: there simply aren’t enough hours in the day! At the same time, make sure the appropriate internal folks budget several hours each week to tackle edits, provide feedback and answer questions for the contract writers. If not, you run the risk of your writing project getting delaying because the writers are waiting for answers or edits that are impeding them from moving forward on the project.
Review sample pages. Especially when the writing team begins work on a new service line or when a new writer is brought onto the team, we recommend working with the team to review a couple sample pages to make sure everyone is — ahem — on the same page before charging ahead. There will likely be several rounds of reviews between the writing team’s own editor, your marketing department and SMEs, so make sure the content is on track before asking for too many hours out of everyone’s busy schedules.