People are understandably reluctant to hire a writer. Some of the hesitation may be due to that lingering myth that writing isn’t really a talent or a skill, that “everybody” or “anybody” can write, and they would do just as well writing everything themselves or having a randomly selected staff member do the writing work. But others may not know what types of writing are available, and what might suit their needs. The writing styles detailed here are by no means a complete list. They are just the types of writing you will most likely need to hire someone to do for your band, solo career, or business.
Evergreen content is content that is always around. This is the writing you put on your page and leave there. The content can be edited and updated, but it is a permanent part of your page. If you are in a band, your evergreen content will include the story of the band’s founding, frequently asked questions about your band, member biographies, and any messages or quotes you want fans to read when they visit your page.
Blog post or blog style writing
Blog or blog style writing blends information taken from quality sources with personal opinions and reflection. When you hire a writer to create a blog post, or blog style piece for you, they will ask you questions that display your expertise on the topic, do independent research, and ask you some personal questions about the topic. If you’re in a band hiring a writer to craft a blog post for your page, they might read the rest of your content, attend a practice, and interview you both on your expertise in music and your personal influences, tastes, and opinions.
Entire blog posts can be written with just researched, factual information and professional observations, or they can be written entirely as personal reflections or opinion pieces, but you will likely see a mix throughout the blog or page, if not in every article. A blog post for your band’s page could be a completely impersonal piece about how to properly care for guitars, a completely personal piece about the members’ favorite guitars, or a blended article in which guitar care is taught, but within each step is a statement from a band member detailing the care of their own favorite instruments.
Blog posts are typically credited to the person or organization who purchases the piece, unless the writer is to be credited as a guest blogger.
Newspaper or magazine column
The writing in a newspaper or magazine column varies widely. The character of Carrie Bradshaw in the novel and television series “Sex and the City” earned enough money to wear $400 Manolo Blahnik shoes by doing nothing more than talking about herself, her boyfriends, and her friends in print. Although this story was a modern urban fantasy, it is entirely possible to have a newspaper or magazine column based entirely on personal reflections. Those who do not have the writing skills to produce such a column could pay a writer to interview them and ghost write the content. Completely factual columns are also possible.
Contrast that with a column like “Legal Myths and Reality” by Judge Joan Shkane, published in The Utica Phoenix newsmagazine and on their corresponding website. Judge Shkane writes the column herself, but she does not talk about her personal feelings or experiences. The column is focused exclusively on presenting and correcting legal misconceptions. The feature that distinguishes a column from a news article is that a column is written from the author’s point of view.
Hiring a writer to write a column for your publication or webpage means the person will do any necessary research and writing and submit the piece with their name on it. The person doing the hiring has no input in a column beyond setting the rules for their publication overall. It is acceptable to tell the writer, “We don’t print columns with swear words in them,” but it is not acceptable to tell the writer what to write about or how to go about their research. However, if you are hiring a professional to write a column that is to be credited to you or your staff or group, you have complete control over tone and content.
A review can be described as a type of column. Newspapers, magazines, and news websites may hire someone to write reviews of movies, bands, books, restaurants, stores, or other local businesses on a regular basis. Local artists may want to hire someone to write a review of their latest album, a performance, or of each of their available albums.
Like any other type of column, the tone can vary, but the review is accepted as the research, observations, opinions, and thoughts of the person whose name is on the review.
News articles are written from research, including interviews, and professional, rather than personal, observation. It is the hallmark of a bad news writer to talk about yourself in an article.
Generally, someone who attends or observes an event or occurrence, interviews people directly impacted by the event or occurrence, and then writes an article describing who, what, when, why, and where is “reporting” and is called a “reporter” or “news reporter,” while someone who picks an issue or topic, does the necessary research and interviews, and then writes an informative article is engaged in “feature writing,” and is called, predictably, a “feature writer.” Sometimes, people make the distinction of “hard news” covered by reporters and feature writing, which is seen as lighter and less serious, but I dislike and disagree with that distinction. If I cover the discovery of the largest tomato ever grown in my hometown, I’m reporting on something, but it’s far from life changing news. An article about the services available at the local domestic violence shelter would be a feature, and if I think that’s a light topic, there’s something wrong with me both as a writer and a human being.
A writer hired to produce a news article, whether that article is to be credited to them or ghost written and credited to you or your staff, should be expected to hand in a professionally researched, written, and edited piece focused entirely on the topic or event you have assigned them to report on or write about.
Press release writing
A press release is anything you write or have written for you to send to a media outlet. A press release can be written like a blog post, a news report, news feature, or a column. The distinguishing characteristic of a press release is that somebody other than the media outlet where it appears paid to have it written. If the local newspaper hires a reporter and sends her out to cover your band’s first public concert after the current crisis has passed, the paper pays her salary while she works. This makes it a news article. If you decide that you want an article about the concert in the paper, and you contact a writer to cover it, then you are going to pay that writer. This makes it a press release.
Artist Cafe Utica features blog writing, reviews, evergreen content, and a few columns. It is not a news website, and the owner is not a reporter, though reporting, and feature writing services are also available for local artists or those wishing to promote Utica artists.