Tandem author and expert: how to make it effective?
In August, RUVDS and the Habra content studio conducted a seminar on "How to motivate the author, even if he is a programmer". As a result, we decided to publish some interesting, in our opinion, reports in our blog.
Experts have knowledge - but often do not want or can not turn them into text. Journalists can write, but they need an invoice. The best option - work in a bunch. But how to make it so that the tandem is effective and the result is an awesome article?
About the pitfalls of the joint work of the expert and the author-freelancer and how to set everything up, told the head of the content studio Habra Anton Polyakov. Below is the transcript of his report.
First a few words about us. We are the content studio of Habra, we help companies prepare articles for blogs, develop a strategy for publications, compose a content plan. We advise, for the most part free of charge, organize trainings for authors and deviers. And for this time have accumulated a lot of experience in all aspects of the preparation of publications.
Who is the expert
An expert is a busy person. He is working on projects, and he has an accumulated invoice. But to wrap this texture in the article, he may not have enough time or writer's skills. The obvious way out is to give the expert journalist help, which will turn his knowledge into a publication.
And here there is the first error: "the freelancer will do everything on a turn-key basis" - it's enough to reduce the author and the expert, and as a result, you will get a chic material. No, it will not work. To make the article qualitative and interesting, the customer must also participate in it.
Who will be the author of
The key moment is to choose the right person who will work with the expert. Our practice shows that the best expert for the role of the author is the same expert: for example, a developer or another person with a corresponding set of knowledge, or one who writes well. Why? Because a person who is in the subject can ask the right questions, puts the right accents, does not miss the details and always keeps the purpose of the article in mind. If we take another specialist who also has good writing skills, there is a possibility that he will miss something, he will focus not on the fact that the material will not be so deep, not so expert. Here the quality will suffer.
Yes, it is not always possible to find a specialist who is proficient in the matter. An alternative is journalists who are able to talk the speaker. By the way, the interview with the speaker is a separate story: to talk, see that the main thing that does not exist, to master terminology is also a great art.
An important part of the preparation of the material is a brief. On the one hand, the thing is obvious, but I want to draw attention to a few points that must necessarily be present.
The first moment is the working title. Sometimes people put the problem like this:
- Let's write how we develop online cash registers.
- Let's write, and what will we write?
- Well, as we have developed them. We have a stack that we did
There is really no clue about the topic, nor how to serve it. With this approach, the material will be appropriate, with a smeared out focus. If the topic is formulated more clearly: how we made the best service (the word "best" here is the key one), the structure is immediately built.
First, we explain to the reader why it is the best, why we did it exactly, why they took these tools. From here we get a cool stuff. Therefore, the topic is formulated extremely accurately and then we start from it.
Further in my head we keep the tasks that are facing publication. We see a lot of articles on Habr, just interesting, classy articles that do not fulfill the tasks of the company. They entertain the public, they may attract someone's attention, but they do not work out their own. Therefore, of course, when writing materials keep the goal in mind. What will it be? Product promotion? Then let's make semantic insertions in the article: neatly, imperceptibly and at the same time effectively.
Collection of information
The journalist should be provided with data, and this must be done before he begins to write questions to the expert. The more information a journalist has, the more interesting he will be able to build a dialogue, and the more interesting the material will be.
Acceptance of work
When accepting work there are two key points: the brief and the design. When the author or journalist has a brief on his hands, it is convenient for you to point out inconsistencies, and journalism - to refine them. There will be no debate, plus time and the number of iterations of refinement will decrease. Naturally, discuss with both of them, which most likely will require improvements. Otherwise, as is often the case without agreement, writers, morbidly related to the editorial staff, immediately squeak and disappear for 2-3 days. And you wait until they come to their senses and finish the work.
When everything is wrong
Sometimes, a person sends material, you read and understand - it's completely different. If the case is not particularly neglected, tell the author what you were expecting. He will edit. If the material is "not at the cash register" at all, it is better to change the author. It is necessary to collect all the materials, specifications, brief, expert answers and transfer it to another person. This is an ordinary story, there's nothing to worry about. For example, we work with many journalists, and it happens that a person has passed five wonderful materials - and the sixth topic does not go. Either he was not his, or he hoped that he would sort it out in a quick way. It is clear: we do not give such a topic any more, we calculate at the minimum tariff, so as not to offend and keep the relationship.
Still there is a classy reception - updating of a subject. Example: an overview of the technology was ordered, and suddenly an interview with an expert is sent instead of a review. Then we try to change the format of the article to an interview about the technology in which the expert expresses his opinions on this issue. Then easy editing - and the material can quite well go.
Once again, the main points:
the author with the right background;
collection of invoice;
readiness for completion.
This is the recipe for success. We still have clients, especially large companies, who often ask: "Why are you so busy? Today we talked with an expert, two days later handed over. What is there to do? "All this is true exactly until the moment when the finalization and coordination have begun, which take away a lot of time. And in this regard, a quality brief helps to save time for yourself, an expert and a journalist.
Questions from the audience:
How much time, resources and money does it take to prepare a post?
Fasting is different. If we call the average temperature in the hospital, we always say that we are preparing posts for a month. If the work goes perfectly: a speaker on the phone, a journalist or an expert is free, you can manage for 3-4 days, this is already with the editing. Usually we wait for the speaker, then we wait for the author, because he can have several materials in his work. A month is a job in a calm regime, it happens, we do it in a week. And it happens, on the contrary, the speaker does not answer or on a business trip, he will return in a month, and a month later he already forgets about us. On money, too, in different ways: as in the preparation of the material, both the proofreader, the author, and the editor are involved, an approximate plug for one article is 8-15 thousand rubles, not including organizational and editorial work.
Your brief was developed by trial and error or taken from somewhere with modifications?
This is our brief, which we use in our work.
We want to talk interestingly about our products in the blog, but the developers do not know how to write at all. I, as a PR man, help them. Therefore for us it is now actual to receive a review in order to refine the texts to the ideal. Can you show our articles? And on what terms?
Yes, you can send materials, we will give a review. We have a separate service, but we will look at several materials for free. In general, we conduct trainings for authors within the company, over the past six months, held about 5-6 meetings.
Hypothetical situation: we have a wonderful expert, a wonderful journalist who understands the topic. For a month they wrote the material, we paid 3?000 rubles, but the article did not go in, hang out with a rating of +? 500 views. How to live with this?
Send the text, we'll see. There are a lot of options: they did not get into the right audience, for example, they did not sufficiently deepen or turned the topic in the wrong direction, etc. Writing activity is like art. Those people who are blogging, like artists, each time draw a new picture. No one knows how it will go, whether the public likes it. Yes, there are general principles for writing a good text, but there are no guarantees. Sometimes, too, an old woman may fall down. We analyze blogs of companies and often see such a picture: under the articles, first the ratings are +5? +3? +30 then -5. They missed. To less miss, there must be experience, and it must be earned.
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