Editor’s note: Michelle H. has been with us since April 2017 and has a “hold my beer, watch this” enthusiasm for some of our more challenging customers. She’d like to thank her fabulous fellow Verblio writers for their input on this article and for their overall support and inspiration.
When she reached out to us to propose this (amazing!) topic idea, here’s what Michelle had to say: “I’d like to write about how Verblio’s assignment features help writers nail your content best practices, as well as how comments help us match your style. That we move heaven and earth to make Verblio customers happy and maintain our rapport with customers who give us preferred status!”
Take it away, Michelle!
Ever wonder who’s on the other side of your Verblio dashboard? What the writers are thinking as we scroll through the platform, looking for the perfect topic?
The platform limits how we can communicate with one another, but on behalf of my fellow content creators, I’m breaking the rules to sneak out a message. See, for the most part, we’re cool with having the app and our incredible staff serve as go-betweens. But every once in a while we’re over here screaming into the wind, wishing we could share some insights that would enhance your experience as Verblio customers and—yes, I’m going there—protect our precious sanity as we work hard to deliver the content value you deserve.
I’ve been here more than three years, and have heard all the “I wish we could tell them…” laments on The Writer’s Block, Verblio’s private in-app writers’ forum. I recently gave a shout-out to the community to pass along their most pressing messages, and I’ve hacked into the blog to share them with you.
Here’s what you need to know to better communicate your needs to us, whether you’re a new customer (welcome!) or you’ve been around a while.
First… we love and appreciate you!
It’s true. Nothing makes us happier than when we click with great customers and see our content rank high on SERPs. Many of us have core clients that are our bread and butter, and for whom we’ve created tons of five-star content. They reserve topics for us, encourage us to pitch ideas to them, and purchase most everything we submit because they’ve helped us figure out exactly what they want.
They’re getting the most out of the Verblio platform. If you’d love that kind of rapport with a stable of favorite writers, it’s a good idea to learn what makes us tick.
The competition (and selection) works both ways
Verblio’s model encourages multiple writers to throw their hats into the ring for each non-assigned topic: May the best post win! Like you, though, we’re pros. We treat content creation seriously, and we’re concerned about our bottom line. That means that like you, we’re looking for the perfect match: Which projects promise the best return on our efforts? How do we manage risk when we’re writing for “new-to-us” Verblio customers? Is this customer going to be a major pain in the butt?
Just as you can view our Writer Profiles to see our rave reviews, bios, and stats, we can get a sense of who you are as a customer through the writer-side version of your dashboard: Your past comments, rejection and purchase history, current topics, and style preferences. This information helps us decide if you’re a good fit for us. It also gives us the information we need to tailor our submissions to your specific needs—from brand voice and tone to searcher intent.
Want some insight into the Verblio writer’s world? Check out “A Writer’s Guide to Kicking Butt and Paying the Bills with Verblio”.
The more information you give us, the better!
We want to get to know your buyer personas and master your brand voice, but that requires your help. Please take the time to set up your account preferences and fiddle with those slider bars on your dashboard. Be sure to give us a link to a blog post (one of yours, or an example from a related industry) that helps us understand your brand personality.
Be clear and concise when you submit topic requests. This is especially important if you haven’t yet built a team of preferred writers who already “get” you. Don’t feel pressured to go overboard, but outlines with key talking points and subtopics really help us give you the best outcomes—and give us the confidence you’ll love our submissions.
Here are a few pointers I’ve filtered from our most frequently screeched frustrations:
- Please don’t provide links to sources you actually don’t want us to use, or that are on unsecured (http: vs https:) domains. Either are fine as suggested examples…
- …but asking us to “rewrite” someone else’s work is plagiarism.
- Please don’t ask us to watch Ted Talks/YouTube videos longer than five minutes or read War and Peace-length white papers to complete assignments.
- We can’t sign up to receive newsletters or access parts of your site without breaking our TOS or first clearing it with staff.
- If your topic requires more content than is allowed by your current subscription, please ask Verblio staff to set you up with a one-time upgrade.
- The higher your allowed word count, the better depth of research (and brand personality) you’ll receive.
- New Verblio writers can only access smaller word counts. If you upgrade but love your writer, ask staff to bump them up!
Please be certain about the topics you request
All too often a customer will decline submissions because they changed direction with a topic or decided they wanted to scratch the project altogether. That means we’re stuck holding the bag, and if the subject matter was overly specific, we can’t repackage it for another customer. “Once bitten, twice shy” really is a thing among our writer community and yes, we do compare notes on our forum.
And if you do decide to bail on a topic, please, please deactivate the request!
Be realistic with your requests
When I see a request for “20 up-and-coming blah blah blahs” for a 300-word article, the first thing I do is whine to staff. Unless you want a bullet list with few details, please keep your expectations in line with your account thresholds. While Verblio doesn’t technically place caps on the content you’ll receive, we see these requests as “gaming the system.” As I mentioned above, please ask staff for a one-time upgrade for special projects!
Learn how to manage your plan here! Verblio’s staff can help you with one-time upgrades for more in-depth topics.
Consider assigning topics to your favorite writers
If you like what an individual writer’s done for you in the past, and think there’s a topic right up their alley, use the Direct Assignment feature (unlock this feature with help from Verblio Support!) on your dashboard to reserve a post just for them. They’ll have 24 hours to accept or decline the topic, and you set the submission date. If you’re not in a huge rush, add some breathing room to the deadline. This is especially wise if your subscription level affords for more in-depth research. Many of us are juggling multiple projects, but we’ll move heaven and earth for our favorite customers and the extra time lets us deliver our best.
Sometimes, though, we have to decline an assignment. This may be due to a scheduling conflict, or because the topic’s too far outside of our area of expertise. We’re limited in our ability to respond, so don’t give up on us if your assignment’s “rejected.” Trust us, we know rejection can sting!
We thrive on feedback!
There’s nothing that makes our hearts go pitter-patter like getting five-star reviews and glowing comments. But we can’t always inspire those accolades without further collaboration from you. If you reject an article, consider taking a moment to let the writer know what was lacking. This way, we know how to get it right next time.
Verblio has created a very transparent feedback system. Your comments, edit requests, and decline reasons go directly to the human who wrote the article. This information is also visible to Verblio’s writer pool.
Writer Emily Goodman said, “You’re going to get better results from your writers if you’re clear, polite, and kind.” Sometimes, we mess up and deserve a bit of shame, but mean-spirited, unproductive comments are kryptonite. You’ll never land a superhero writer if you’re a meanie, especially if you don’t point out clearly what we did wrong.
Find out how you can leave writer feedback here!
We’ve got a love/hate relationship with the edit feature
Have you ever been dumped with the “You’re awesome in so many ways, but…” speech? We get similar rejection feedback from customers. Assuming you’re just not letting us down gently, we’d love another chance to win your hearts if the article’s almost—but not quite—perfect. Verblio’s edit request interface allows you to suggest specific changes that we can then happily fix . . . or politely refuse.
Why would we shoot down an edit request? I surveyed several of our writers, and they’ve balked for all sorts of valid reasons. Sometimes, we’re holding our ground over grammar, ethical, or context issues. Often, it’s because the customer is requesting re-writes or additional material that strays from the original topic request. Sometimes this requires us to add material that blows the doors off of your subscription’s word count.
Writers can see if a customer has requested edits from multiple submissions of the same live topic. From our POV, that’s bad form. A better approach is to choose the article you like best and, if you’d like, request a few tweaks to help your writer perfect it. If we decline to edit, by all means, move on to the next. Otherwise, we’ll feel you’re a “player”, and a high-risk investment of our efforts.
One last thing: The sooner you request edits, the easier it is for us to complete them. The topic and research are still fresh in our minds. This means it’s much easier to climb back into your brand’s voice and tone.
Do you feel a post is almost—but not quite—perfect? Let us know with the Edit Request feature!
Don’t feel obligated to pounce on the first submission that lands in your queue
If you’ve posted a request for a one-time topic, you’ll get a notification each time a writer begins a draft. That’s a feature Verblio added at the request of those of us who balk when we see another writer has either beat us to the punch or started a draft ahead of us. You deserve a selection of quality pieces. As writers, we occasionally hurl things around our home offices when, just before submitting an article, another appears in the queue… and is snapped up before we can send ours your way.
“This was my favorite submission, but another one came in right before yours, so we felt obligated to go with that one,” is customer feedback we’ve all experienced at one point or another. I’ve never seen a writer complain about losing out to second (or fourth) submission after ours. Our sense of competition drives our quality, not our typing speed.
If you’re in a massive hurry, we get it. We also know that some customers have favorite writers, and often ignore submissions from anyone else. But don’t be afraid to hold out until other submissions come along… but not too long, of course.
Let us know how quickly you need your post with this guide to creating and managing requests!
We give priority to active, reliable customers
Nobody likes to be ghosted, which is why many of us shy away from customers whose purchase histories scream “Brigadoon!” We can sort available jobs according to customer behavior, and those with predictable purchasing habits score major confidence points.
We don’t get paid until you accept our submissions. While we manage risk by building up our own queues, we’d rather write for customers who act within a week or two. Experienced Verblio writers won’t submit to customers who have a long backlog of submissions. This is especially true if they request far more topics than they can accept with their monthly credits.
And if you use the deadline feature, we assume you plan to purchase the post soon. Melissa Bajorek put it nicely: “If you give us a tight deadline we will give ourselves nosebleeds to get it done! Please buy it within the next few months, lol.” And by months she really means days.
Like a post, but want to save it for a later date? Pin it! That tells us you plan to purchase it, and keeps us from withdrawing it from your queue.
Take advantage of our commitment to your success!
Just like you, we’re passionate about what we do. Some of us write here full-time while others moonlight, but we all take our work seriously. We’re a diverse group of creatives with expertise across many interests and industries. We’re also a tight community helping each other become successful Verblio writers. That success depends on building relationships with the amazing clients in whom we really feel invested.
I’m not sucking up to the staff when I say Verblio’s built an amazing platform designed to help you—and us—achieve the best outcomes. They listen to our suggestions and take great care of us. They’re always there to help you if you feel you need a little coaching with the process. Learn how to use all the app’s features, read Verblio’s onboarding and blog content, and harness our enthusiasm, and you’ll experience the best value available through content sourcing platforms.