stopwpmadness1Today, I give you an exciting post about how to onboard writers to the content management systems that handle your marketing content.

Bored already? So am I, which is the point.

When you’re trying to develop a lot of marketing content very quickly for the launch of a major B2B Web site (as a Fortune 500 client is doing) a clunky onboarding process will make it harder to lure the writers you need. This is especially true if you’re paying those writers – how do I say this delicately? – less than stellar rates.

Water Torture, CMS Style

This came up because I have a friend who’s editor of a new tech Web site and under pressure to deliver a lot of content quickly.  His budget only lets him pay at a level that makes it hard for writers with busy practices to justify working with him. But he’s a good guy, and his employer is a potential good client, so I want to make it work.

Here, though, is what the client forces me to go through just to enroll in their CMS and start my first piece.

  • Upload a resume and clips. If the editor knows me and trusts me, why force me through this? And why not let me directly upload clips, rather than having to provide them only in link form, which is clunky for content such as white papers I have on my PC but difficult to find on clients’ Web sites?
  • Answer security questions and set up security codes. We’re not launching nuclear weapons or changing the Fed’s interbank lending rate here. We’re assigning marketing collateral. Is there really a threat some imposer will write that ghosted blog post instead of me?
  • Categorize the stories I’ve uploaded. After going through the hassle of uploading a story about, say, different forms of cloud-based developer platforms, the CMS asks me to choose from a long list of categories, including “Travel and leisure,” “Arts and entertainment,” “Food and fitness,” and, by the way, “Information Technology.” If the client is in IT, and I’m an IT writer, why force me to manually tell me again?
  • What language the story is written in: If Google can detect what language a post is in, and offer to translate it for me, why can’t a CMS (in which I’ve already entered my home address and uploaded clips in English) figure this out?
  • Accept a list of terms and conditions, such as that I will agree to “build trust with the reader,” be “straightforward, credible, authentic, witty, opinionated” and “share with readers (how to) address real problems” and to educate the reader. If you have to tell your writers to be clear and helpful, you’re hiring the wrong writers.

Too Much Whining?

Am I whining? Yes. But if a good writer is busy, each of these steps make it less likely they will work with you — especially if you’re trying to hold down the rates this pay them.

Still not convinced? Consider this: Another colleague is going through the onboarding process with another technology giant (whose name you would instantly recognize) that asked him to fill in one form using a typewriter. Beyond the unpaid time it takes to find such a relic, what would a prestigious analyst or industry leader think faced with such a request from you? And what a customer think of you as a tech vendor if they found out you still use typewriters?

CMS onboarding may not be a sexy subject, but trust me: Do it wrong and it will hurt you.

Author: Bob Scheier
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I'm a veteran IT trade press reporter and editor with a passion for clear writing that explains how technology can help businesses. To learn more about my content marketing services, email bob@scheierassociates.com or call me at 508 725-7258.

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Filed under: Content Marketing For IT Vendors

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