Imagine that you pay someone to write a blog post for you. You commission a post. The writer’s mission is to highlight some of the finer points of your SaaS offering but without seeming sales-y. He should talk about the problem and the solution in general terms while happening to mention your offering in passing. You want a conversational—but not too informal—post.
Then you hand over good money, and the writer turns a post around. You read the post and mostly like it, but you see some things you want changed. So you mark up the post with suggestions, questions, comments, and feedback, and you ask the writer to make those changes.
This is perfectly understandable and entirely reasonable. And we generally won’t do it.
Hit Subscribe’s Blog Content Offering
Before I explain why we have a policy not to do something I just called understandable and reasonable, let me explain a bit about what we do. I’m talking from a shop, nuts-and-bolts perspective. It’ll help clarify things.
At Hit Subscribe, we write technical blog posts for a living. Before I co-founded this company, I wrote blog posts for my consultancy’s website for about six years, growing it from zero traffic to over a million visitors. As its traffic grew and I published some books, other tech companies began to ask me to write for their blogs. Eventually, I had so much of this business coming in that Amanda and I co-founded a proper content marketing company and began to add authors.
Why do I mention all of this? Because I’ve written for a lot of technical blogs with a lot of success. And Amanda has spent her career as a professional editor. Speaking to developers through blogs with polished, conversational prose is what we do.
It’s Not (Only) About the Labor
Because it’s what we do, we have a process. And because we write for lots of clients, that process involves a good bit of planning and precision.
Now, you might think that we’d avoid revisiting posts that we’ve already written because of the labor consideration. And that’s true—the labor consideration does factor in. When we deliver a blog post, we move on and start working on another. And another and another. So if someone asks us to take one and rework it, we have to fit that into the schedule. We have to go back, reread it for context, get back into the swing of it, and do that work.
You might argue that, with a process, there’s nothing stopping us from scheduling second passes at posts into the mix and charging for them if need be. And indeed, if we were going to agree to multiple passes at blog posts, we would price that differently and schedule that work.
So the primary motivator isn’t purely a matter of labor.
And We Don’t Mind Feedback
What about jealousy over the prose? Do we avoid rework as a matter of pride, feeling stung by criticism of the posts?
Absolutely not. Over the years, I’ve done plenty of ghostwriting, and I’ve happily handed work over to clients with an invitation to mark it up however they see fit.
I’ve had clients ask for a cutesy, “we’re all in it together” kind of vibe. Gosh, gee, have I ever! And I’ve also had clients insist that, no, it’s better never to use the first person…or to add any personality whatsoever. In fact, it is better, they have advised, for appositives, formal semantics, a dearth of contractions, a thesaurus, and the passive voice to be used. An erudite, academic voice is preferred.
Hey, Bob’s your uncle. It’s your blog, and I’m no mindreader. Everybody has their preferences, and feedback is how you make those known. If you want to ask for a different tone in the future, we can accommodate. Or if you want to mark up what we give you, have at it.
We have no qualms about your feedback, so that’s not why we avoid revisions. (A note of caution for clients, though. Remember that we do an awful lot of this blogging for techies. So while you may have your preferences, we would suggest that you consider our recommendations for tone, style, and form.)
But We Want Business Partners
And that leads into the philosophical meat of the issue and how we select our ideal clients. We want good partnerships in the form of clients who value our expertise and work product. We want to deal with the kind of people who will find themselves delighted with our work. And through experience, we’ve found that our ideal clients are the ones that view their blog (and site in general) as a business asset.
For organizations like this, the tone and content of the blog matter. But they matter in the context of results. Does the tone attract new readers, and does the subject matter convert those readers into followers, and then to leads, and then to customers? And does the blog, with its overarching content strategy and gestalt of posts, help the company’s bottom line?
Here’s the thing. If you’re engaging us to write for you, we want to make sure it’s because you trust us and our experience with this. Our aim is to increase your traffic, your conversion rate, your reach, and your bottom line. We can work together to brainstorm the general approach that will best fit with your target market, and we can incorporate your knowledge of the domain. We’d be fools not to do that.
But those conversations are a far cry from taking a post and saying you don’t like a particular paragraph or that you’d rather see sentences without first person plural. When you do things like that, you’re imposing your own aesthetics on the process. And that transforms you from a business partner to an art patron.
As much as it’d be flattering to regard my words as art, that’s really not the goal.
We Want To Pursue Measurable Success
Our mission with Hit Subscribe is to help your developer tools company reach developers. We’re developers and writers with experience speaking to other developers. We like learning about your tools and writing about them, and we like talking to fellow techies. But we also like to work in data-driven fashion against objective goals.
When we establish goals around traffic, engagement, conversions, and sales, we can write blog posts, see how they do with your audience, and adapt as we go.
When we engage in patronage situations, all of that melts away. Instead of giving you the benefit of our expertise, observing how it goes, and improving, the goal becomes entirely subjective. It becomes about writing things that please you aesthetically. And while we’d certainly like for you to like our work, when I want to be in the business of aesthetically pleasing people, I’m going to retire and write novels.
Decide What Your Blog Should Be and Decide if Hit Subscribe is Right For You
As I said in the very beginning, if you commission people to write blog posts for you, it’s perfectly understandable and reasonable for you to want to like the results. It’s also perfectly reasonable to ask for rework until you do. No judgment here. It’s just not a fit for our offering.
At some point, we’d suggest examining your blog and asking yourself what you want out of it. Do you want it to serve primarily as a lead generator? Probably the best way to understand it is to ask yourself this: if you knew that you could generate more leads, conversions, and sales by commissioning blog posts in a style that you really didn’t care for personally, would you do it?
If the answer is yes, then you primarily view your blog as a marketing tool. And we should talk. (Especially because we’ll find a way to get the results but without you hating the tone.)
If the answer is no, on the other hand, then you place a premium on your blog’s/site’s aesthetics. This may be because you think your authority and reputation is more important than lead generation, or frankly, it might just be pride. In this case, you shouldn’t hire us. In fact, you probably shouldn’t hire anyone. You’d honestly be best served to write for yourself.
In the end, we avoid rework for what might be a surprising reason. It helps us select our clients. If you need content and blogging expertise and are focused on measurable goals, then you’ll let us handle the posts while you worry about the countless other things you have on your plate. Our ideal clients don’t have the time or inclination to iterate over single blog posts. So we avoid doing rework in order to make sure we’re a good fit for you.