Here are 12+ important things for you to think about — and to mention — when briefing a writer on a writing project

Image source: Unsplash

First things first: You have to tell us stuff.

Ever heard the expression, “Garbage in, garbage out”? If your writer doesn’t have solid, accurate facts to work from, the job’s gonna be a #fail.

I’ve had clients say, “Ag, can’t you just, you know, go off and write the thing? Like, on your own?” Sure I can. With pleasure. Absolutely. But it’ll be shit.

So if you’re using a writer at the moment or…

Image Source: Unsplash

Freelancers of different types, styles, and specialties share one significant shortcoming: We never actually know what a “good rate” is.

One Friday afternoon, back in 2006, I was sitting at my enormous desk in in my teeny tiny bedroom in the teeny tiny flat I shared with my (teeny tiny) mother.

My Nokia 5500 rang. On the phone was a nice lady who worked for a large multinational that sells fizzy soft drinks in red and white cans. She wanted website copy for the company’s foundation in Africa. Fantastic.

(Had I written web copy before? Nope. Did I think I…

“Because I have hair, Jeff.”

“We all have the same 24 hours in the day”? Nope.

I was told today that anyone can achieve radical productivity. That we all, and I’m quoting, have “the same number of hours in the day as Jeff Bezos, Oprah Winfrey and Elon Musk”.

Bull. Shit.

We don’t.

We may live in a universe where Jeff and the other billionaires occupy the same planet as everyone else, during the time it takes the sun to rise and fall, but we don’t have the same capacity available to us, to achieve our goals.

I mean, there are things I have to…

Here’s something you need to know about me…

I’m on very good terms with myself.

I don’t have many confidence issues. I’m good and I know I’m good. I am the only child of a single mom who genuinely believed that one day I would either a) marry royalty or b) be President. I failed to achieve either. But she still loves me.

For this reason, Impostor Syndrome is something that plagues me very, very infrequently.

Occasionally, on a bad day, I am struck by the fear that I’m really a crap, shallow writer and an amateur businesswoman, and that…

Photo by Daniele Franchi on Unsplash

Sh*t out of ideas for content marketing? Sick of your usual methods? Unsure where to start to generate some fresh nuggets or new items of value?

Whichever it is, here are some methods that work for me (and sometimes I generate 40 ideas at a time, so I know what I’m talking about).

Let’s start with my №1 rule for content marketing ideation: Either say what no one else is saying, or say something similar in a completely different way.

To achieve this, you may want to:

1. Create topic lists in bunches.

When you’re ready to write new content, you shouldn’t be sitting down to…

Image source: Unsplash

Why use descriptive writing in the first place? Because your readers are busy. Distracted. Overwhelmed with messaging. And it’s incredibly hard for your writing to stand out amidst the clamour and racket.

But when you create pictures with words, you help the reader to see and sense what you see and sense. You’re on the same page. Your writing is more memorable.

Plus, unlike movies, the writing we do in our professional lives is not visual. We can’t invite the reader to sit back and enjoy all the ‘description’ that’s produced by a camera and a microphone. …

Everything! This is the bit people usually obsess over when starting something new. As it happens, I didn’t.

I just went with my own name. Easy, quick and boring. My business trades as “Tiffany Markman Writing & Training” but this wasn’t a deliberate choice. It just… happened. By the time it occurred to me to brand the business separately from myself, it was already becoming well-known.

But what are your options when naming a business, brand, product line or service area? You might use your own name, like I did, or a version of your initials. Alternatively, you might come…

Image source: Unsplash


There. I said it.

And there are other intellectual snobs who feel the same way.

Take Stephen Fry. In this animated YouTube video, Fry presents the opinion that people who are needlessly obsessed with grammar are utter fools. Not just fools, but “rude and haughty”, “elitist and pretentious”.

I guess you could say I’m a lapsed Grammar Policewoman — because Grammar Police can be mean. We care about language and communication, and we want to ensure that people are understood clearly.

But we often overstep the boundaries of appropriate correction.

There are a few other issues with rabid grammar…

Image Source: Unsplash

As service professionals, we’re programmed to say “Yes” to pretty much everything.

This isn’t a bad thing when we’re first starting out and it behooves* us to be accommodating. But the time will come when we need to push back. When we must decline, refuse, confront.

The good news is that saying “No”, diplomatically and with tact, is a skill you can learn.

First off, don’t sugar-coat your message. Don’t tiptoe. Don’t slide into ‘seems’ and ‘appears’ and ‘might’ and ‘maybe’ (I call these “hedgies”) and these can cause confusion.

Gather your facts. Take 10 deep breaths. Be clear. And…

The words that accompany your YouTube videos, once you’ve created them*, are a big part of how hard your channel, video and/or YouTube community at large will work for your brand or message. So never discount, half-arse, or rush the writing part. Every YouTube video can, and should be, organically optimised to derive the most value.

Let’s look at best practices for writing video titles, video descriptions, hashtags and the all-important, oft-neglected calls to action.

#1. The video title

The first step to optimising any YouTube video is to craft an appealing title that contains relevant keywords. Many experts use Google Adwords Keyword Planner…

Tiffany Markman

Copywriter. Teacher. Is all about profitable freelancing. Join her community:

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store