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First-rate output from the first week: Training new writers

Fresh-faced, in a shirt and heels, I arrived at my new office. I was ready to not only learn but implement every skill I had in writing and editing in my new role. I was greeted by my boss, who told me to look through the corporate Facebook and Twitter accounts, and read our catalogue. The next day, I was given access to control 4 corporate accounts on social media and asked to write blurbs for books I’d never seen. I didn’t know how to access online versions of the books I needed to describe, nor did I have any experience in social media management… This was only really problematic when I span around on my chair to see my boss had gone to a meeting and left me unattended. What quality of output do you think I created on that second day? I was missing a crucial piece of the onboarding puzzle: Someone to pepper with questions.

A young Caucasian woman with tattooed arms holds a tin cup up to the camera with the slogan "the adventure begins". Her nails are painted blue and she is wearing5 rings on different figures.

How is training a new writer different to training adjacent roles?

There are multiple skills that your writer might already have, that other roles like designers or strategists will not. Consider these areas of training for a new writer:

  • When hiring a new marketing strategist, you might emphasise technical skills. If they lack previous experience or used different tools at their former job, they might need upskilling in technical SEO, according to inflow. In contrast, a writer would undoubtedly be able to apply their knowledge of SEO to your company, assuming they are provided with the top keywords for your industry. A writer likely wouldn’t need SEO training.

  • Marketers might need to know every important company in your sphere. However, a writer needs to know the relevant trends in your industry more than in-depth information about competitors and prospects.

  • Sales, marketing, writing teams, and even customer service and design, should all grasp your customer journey. However, a writer will ask for details of what the customer’s pain points are, at every stage of their journey. You likely needn’t train graphic and web designers on prospect and customer pain points.

  • Design teams are lucky in many ways, although they often bare the brunt of team requests. As a result, most companies have been educated in the need for a style book before in-house designers are hired. So a new designer might ask for brand guidelines on their first day and not have to defend the logic for creating a style book if it doesn’t exist. The assumption that writers sometimes battle is that we don’t always need a style guide. Writers need style guides and brand books too!

If you are interested in knowing about any of these points on training a new writer, drop me a line or a comment below.

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What are 3 non-negotiables when training a new writer?

Gift your new writer the confidence to shine at your company. Follow these steps to training as you welcome a teammate to show them how much they’re respected and valued at your company. 1. Record videos of your content processes.

Recording with tools like Loom or Veed helps new recruits rewatch tutorials on what can often be the hardest part of a new job – using new tools.

2. Repeat yourself in case new recruits are shy. Video tutorials are not a substitute for actually being available to answer questions. Ask multiple times if your new recruit would like to be shown how to use tools or if they have questions about your content systems. When in doubt, go back to tip #1!

3. Have a style guide to hand for their first day. A style guide should cover more than fonts, colours, and vague voice statements like, “amicable but professional”. Quality brand guidelines must include:

  • Examples of pillar content pieces that inform on ideal tone

  • Sources of information that boost the company’s reliability

  • Details of variations in tone across different content

Having a style guide, recordings of walk-throughs and someone to ask questions can make the world of difference for a newly hired writer.

My best onboarding experience ever as a new writer

I joined an exciting tech team on their content marketing arm and was met with HighSpot collections of all the existing content available to the sales and marketing teams. We were given onboarding training that had been recorded by experts in different departments.

I was ecstatic. Never had I been greeted with such profound access to knowledge at a company before. The experience was even better when we were invited to contribute to an update to the style guide because I felt involved in the company from the get-go.

Also, calls were set up prior to my first day with key stakeholders in our work. My first week was a veritable meet-and-greet experience dotted with independent learning.

Any company that can replicate this experience is onto gold. Your new writers will be thrilled, and you’ll be enthralled with their creations! Want help with training your new writers or creatives? Learn what that might look like here.



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