Hiring young talent is an opportunity for a mutually beneficial relationship between your business and your new writer — and they may bring more to the table than you expect.

Why Hire a Green Writer?

It’s in a company’s own self-interest to acquire young, albeit inexperienced, writers. Young people have their “ear to the ground” on the latest trends, movements, and issues of society, especially within their own demographic (which is, or will grow to be, a key target audience). An active awareness of social trends and a contemporary voice will enliven, refresh, and encourage growth in an established brand, says Mike Haberman in a post for Blogging4Jobs, which is vital to keeping up an organic, active social presence, particularly in a case where the “older generation” of customers is dwindling.

Also, companies can be sure that their new employees’ formal training is both up-to-date and fresh in their minds, and should take advantage of those contemporary, though basic, skills. For example, in his Forbes article, Matt Miller states that employers shouldn’t underestimate the value of a “millennial” employee, despite their inexperience. The generation entering the workforce within the next few years, he writes, is full of “natural web marketers,” an obvious asset to any marketing campaign with an online presence to maintain.

Lauren reflects on her virtual internship

Fresh Minds Bring Fresh Ideas

Creativity and remarkable content are necessary components of any successful marketing campaign. New writers can bring original ideas to the table, provide a different perspective on a topic, write in a different style and voice, and draw upon their unique personal experiences to produce creative, appealing content. Their natural familiarity with contemporary issues and mannerisms helps keep your content energized and relevant.

Sometimes, a challenge that experienced writers face is being too “close” to their subject. A young writer who’s less familiar with the industry can raise questions about the product or service that just wouldn’t occur to an “old hand.”

Teaching Tests Your Skills

Mentoring a new writer offers the opportunity to evaluate your own strengths and struggles. Teaching a skill effectively requires mastery, so if a subject is tough to explain to a young employee, it may indicate an area that you need to brush up on yourself. Say you need to explain a complex concept like a brand to an inexperienced writer — it’s a good model of how you probably convey a complex product or service to a potential customer. Also, teaching can often require approaching a known subject from a different angle, which could spawn new topic ideas for your own articles, white papers, etc.

How to Nurture Young Writers

Once you’ve acquired new talent, there remains the process of training and nurturing them into successful and effective writers in your industry.

Enforce professional standards
. Make sure that they understand the levels of grammar, spelling, punctuation, and sentence structure, etc. expected in a skilled writing environment.

Agree beforehand on scope of the assignment
. When you assign a project to a new writer, establish the word-count, the key points that need to be covered, the genre of writing and the audience targeted.

Target buyer personas. Having a clear idea of who your target audience is will be especially helpful for writers new to an industry. Buyer personas, reader profiles, etc. help to clarify what kind of voice to use, what details and information to include, the kinds of questions they’ll need to answer, and what genre of writing would be most effective. It’s also useful to have that persona in mind when brainstorming new topic ideas.

Make them take risks. You’re working with an inexperienced writer — help them become experienced! Ask them to take on bigger pieces, challenge their topic creativity, and expose them to different forms of marketing writing.

Keep your comments professional. Don’t focus on the writer; focus on the writing. Feedback from an experienced professional is what young writers rely on (trust me on that), so give lots of it — as long as it is constructive. Don’t just point out mistakes; suggest some strategies for revising.

But Remember...

Just because you, the writer’s boss, can think of a different way to say something, or a different word to use here or there, that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s better. When you’re providing feedback or brainstorming new topics, keep your suggestions objective. Don’t expect your new hire to mimic your writing style — encourage them to develop their own voice and technique. A company that features a variety of voices appears more social and community-minded, and can appeal to a wider range of readers.

And keep this in mind: you may have a thing or two to learn from that newbie. Their familiarity with popular technology, their natural ability with social media, and the latest training experiences could improve your own writing style, topic development, etc.

Also, don’t freak out over little mistakes. What’s totally obvious to you could be a novel concept to a young writer. Mistakes are an opportunity for growth — explain what they did wrong (professionally) and why it doesn’t work, and offer some suggestions that inspire creative thinking and encourage the writer to come up with a solution or alternative.

A Mutually Beneficial Relationship

So, next time your business is looking to add a new writer to the staff, turn that lack of experience into a positive. Companies that complement their experienced marketing pros with young writers get fresh viewpoints, contemporary voices, and an insider’s take on what makes a key consumer base tick, all adding up to relevant and attractive marketing content. That rookie writer, on the other hand, is learning valuable tricks of the trade, developing their skills and gaining work experience, and frankly (most importantly of all, to the typical graduate with loans to pay) is employed. Everybody wins!

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