Teaming up with B2B Fintech Writers

Writing briefs, talking about revisions, and giving writers feedback can be frustrating parts of the content creation process. That goes for writers and content marketers alike.

But each step matters. A lot. A repeatable process for producing content and handling edits will produce stronger work.

Useful feedback lets writers know what your audience cares about, your brand’s message, and where they’re hitting or missing their mark. 

In this article, we’ll talk about these processes in more detail, to help you:

  • brief content marketing writers
  • give genuinely useful feedback
  • and speed up the business of revisions.

Let’s start with those content marketing briefs.

1. Create a Content Brief


Writers must use guesswork unless they have guidance to shape their research and writing.  A clear brief is like a map, that shows writers who they’re speaking to, what they care about, and how they like to be spoken to. A brief should contain:

  • The topic: What is the content about and why does it matter? Explain what’s in it for the audience and what they will learn from the content.
  • The goal: Is it thought leadership, a bottom-of-funnel guide, or a round-up of views from industry experts? Make this clear.
  • The word count: This should be an approximate number or a range. Tailor this to the type of content being produced. 
  • The reviewer: This is who the writer will send their drafts and revisions to. Explain who will be their point of contact. If you prefer the copy in Word Documents over Google Documents, mention that here too.
  • The keywords or links: Provide the primary keyword or phrase you want to rank for. Add secondary keywords too, if you have them. Provide links to your existing articles, product pages, or long-form guides.
  • The audience: Provide your customers’ and prospects’ age, role, goals, and pain points. It’s easier for a writer to get the tone right if they understand your audience.
  • The sources: Give writers links or files for high-quality research sources. Or mention which sources they should cite (such as universities, government websites, or trade associations).

2. Set Realistic Deadlines


A good brief explains the what, who, and why. And setting deadlines handles the all-important when.  

Deadlines do more than lend urgency. Assigning a deadline is a balancing act between allowing ample time for creating quality work and getting content out into the world.

Consider the type of work being done. If it’s a 1500-word article a week should be enough. But a detailed whitepaper that needs extensive research and citations can take weeks. 

Ask writers how long it will take if you’re unsure. But it’s worth bearing in mind that most experienced content marketers agree the longer you give writers to develop content, the better it will be. Quality normally beats quantity.


3. Consider Using Outlines


At this stage, many content marketers will get on with other key projects while they wait on a first draft. But sometimes it can be useful to add a step before this. And that step is an outline.

Asking writers to provide outlines before moving onto a first draft can be useful for longer content, or more technical content. Think long-form articles of 2000 words or more, fintech whitepapers, or data-based research reports.  Use outlines when there needs to be a logical sequence of ideas. They can be especially useful for planning SEO-optimised articles.

They don’t need to be super detailed, either. Here’s an example: You don’t have to be rigid with outlines either. You can use them as a guide, either to speed up the process of writing content in-house or as a way to help writers have even better chances of hitting the brief. 


4. Manage Initial Feedback


OK, let’s move onto that stage where you’ve got a draft back. 

Put one person in charge of collecting all feedback and relaying it clearly to the writer. This isn’t to say only one person should review the content, but that it’s often simpler if writers liaise with a single reviewer. It’s totally fine to have different lead reviewers across different projects.

Stop revisions from becoming a production bottleneck, by getting really clear on your internal process. The clearest way to do this is to document it.  Documenting your content marketing processes stops production grinding to a halt when a content marketing editor takes some well-earned (!) time away from the daily grind. Try to:

  • Set ground rules for deciding who gives feedback and when
  • Sort feedback into major themes to avoid nit-picking 
  • Get one person to source feedback for writers
  • Anticipate legal and compliance reviews. 

Having one person communicating with the writer also sets clear expectations on both sides. It prevents writers from becoming confused by internal reviewers’ clashing suggestions and feedback within a copy document. 

In short, the lead reviewer is like a judge: they ‘sanity check’ comments against the goals of the creative brief, to see what is relevant and useful. 

It’s a great way to speed up a sluggish part of the content production process. 


5. Review the Draft 


Let’s move on from the who, to talk more about the how. These questions can help you frame marketing content feedback:

  • Where does this draft meet the brief, and where does it not?
  • Are names and titles properly attributed?
  • Does the tone suit our audience?
  • Is the draft factually accurate?
  • Does it use keywords well?
  • Is it well-researched?

A lead reviewer will set the standards for what the writer’s work should look like, by keeping questions like these top of mind during the review process.  


6. Give Clear Directions


Once you’ve gathered your colleagues’ views, it’s time to press on with the revisions.  Again, do this within the copy document  — not over email.

Be specific and give as much detail as possible.  Summarize your feedback in a paragraph or two at the top of the document. Mention any big issues. Perhaps the writer doesn’t get what the content is supposed to convey. Maybe you;ve noticed some factual inaccuracies. Slowly work down the document to smaller issues like misspellings, grammar issues, and punctuation.  Above all, play nice. Take a deep breath before you jump in. And treat writers and reviewers with empathy and respect. 

7. Be Pragmatic


Expect some back-and-forth over the revisions, but you should know when to call it a day. No article is ever perfect. How do you know when to stop? First, use the previously agreed deadline as your guide. Second, think of the bigger picture. If the piece captures the core goals of the content marketing brief, you can be lenient on some small stuff. Remember that the point of a piece is to deliver a message your audience will understand, above all else. 

8. Share Approved Work


Writers can continue learning, even after an article is published. Content marketing managers and editors ultimately have the last word on the final copy. Seasoned writers value explanations of why a piece was changed after their final revisions were made. That luxury isn’t always available, especially if you’re a one-person content marketing team. But it pays off if you can do it. 

Be thorough in your explanation: going over what was removed, added, and/or modified and why should be par for the course. This will make for better work together on future projects.

<span style="color:#000; font-size:16px;">Written by</span><br> Luke O'Neill
Written by
Luke O'Neill

Luke O’Neill is Genuine's founder. He is a writer and content strategist, who spends his days advising B2B fintech and financial services businesses. Luke's writing has appeared in The Wall Street Journal, Bloomberg, and The Irish Times.


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