How to Choose a Content Writer
If you’re a content marketer, then you understand the struggle of keeping up with your loyal customer base. Curating content includes more than just writing. It involves editing, graphic creation, branding, marketing and more. And your content must be engaging, educational and entertaining at all times.
This can be an overwhelming task for any professional. And it’s natural to seek out help and outside assistance. Hiring and choosing content writers and creators for your business is a smart idea. But, the process of selection can be unknown territory for some individuals.
It can be daunting to hire outside help, for fear of ruining your business reputation and status. It may take some time and effort, but the right fit is out there. It’s possible to choose content writers successfully; you simply need to know where to look.
You want someone you can trust and someone that understands your business, brand and mission. And you of course want to choose someone that’s witty, educated and that has flawless grammar.
These skilled content writers exist, and they can help generate new leads for your business. They can add value and authority to your blog and online content that otherwise would have gone unnoticed. Basically, they’re imperative for your overall success. Check out the following for basic recommendations to get you started.
1. Study Skill Level
The best place to start is by searching freelance writing communities. Many of these sites contain reputable and hard-working content creators. And these are a great place to start vetting your first round of possible hires. Sites like Essaymama and Help.Plagtracker are good options for any business. They both offer access to educated and professional writing services, as well as affordable prices.
From these communities you can get familiar with the skill levels and sample some work from available freelance writers. If they miss spell words often, and punctuate incorrectly, they won’t be worth the money spent. You want to gain authority and status, not destroy the reputable nature of your service or product.
2. Look at Past Experience
Once you have narrowed it down to a few freelancers you think you may want to contact, go ahead and give each one a little more consideration. Review their portfolios and past work. Take the time to read their writing and see if their style, voice and perspective are in line with you and your business.
If you run a beauty product company, you may come across a talented, skilled writer who’s past work is mostly in engineering and mechanics. Perhaps this individual, although professional, is not a good fit for the type of audience you are trying to connect with.
Look for a person, who has experience or in-depth interest in your field. A writer who specialises in marketing isn’t probably a good fit. Content Marketing Institute writes that many copywriters are eager to accept work from anywhere. But writing about energy-efficient window installations and organic acne treatments, will cause them to spread themselves thin. This way one hardly gains knowledge and experience in a field.
Therefore, hire a writer who has the experience in the field they will be writing about, and can bring something valuable to the table.
3. Pay Attention to Enthusiasm
Once you begin contacting some possible new content creators, you want to begin to pay close attention to their responses. Much of your communication is going to be digital, not in person. This makes building a relationship and getting to know them a bit different than a regular in-person interview. However, the same principles still apply.
Some content writers believe that boring industry generates a boring blog. But, Neil Patel believes there is no such thing as a boring industry. Some people think that cooking with coconut flour is rather flat, but there are people who are obsessed with that.
If a writer asks a lot of questions, throw out ideas or seem genuinely excited to be a part of the project, put them towards the top of your list. This excitement and motivation often comes through in writing and graphic creation. It will be a good catalyst to promote a spirited energy throughout your blog and other online marketing content.
4. Discuss Deadlines and Schedules
Let’s say you’ve found a good match. They have the skill, they have the same ideas and opinions as you, and they love the business product or service. Now, you need to figure out if they can meet the deadlines you require and if they have time for you in their schedule.
Many times a business assumes the freelancer they hire works for them. Which, of course they do, but chances are good they also work with and for other businesses. This means you need to have open communication and be direct with any possible hire. Let them know what type of time commitment and turnaround you need. This will help cut stressful problems in the future.
According to WriterAccess.com suggested deadlines should be as follows:
- Straight-forward, 30 minutes to complete: 24-36 hours
- Somewhat-complex, over an hour to complete: 48-60 hours
- Complex topic, will take several hours to complete: 72 hours
- Substantial research, editing, and writing: 1 week
5. Check Referrals and Past Client Feedback
Before you sign any new contracts, find and review feedback and testimonials. Many freelancer sites offer clients and freelancers the ability to provide published feedback (e.g. Upwork). This is a great way to gain references without asking possible hires directly.
Upwork is one of the most popular freelance sites
Freelancer is another great site to find content writers
In Scripted you can find writers for any industry
You can see what their past employers think of their work and you can learn more about the freelancer from their own feedback as well. Reach out to past clients if you feel so inclined and if you want more information. References are required with job applications, and when hiring a content creator it’s no different.
6. Note Similarities Between Writer and Your Audience
It helps if the writer you hire is also a possible customer. You want your content to be created by someone who loves the product or service that your business provides. They need to be intrigued and engaged to help the target audience to feel the same. This will make it much easier for your writers to connect with your audience and ultimately gain you unlimited access to new readers and fans.
This is not always the case when hiring in business, but this is not the accounting department. This is not mathematics and straight numbers. This is writing, creativity and human relations. This is connecting with your audience in an effective way. You need a person who actually likes you and that you like in return. Make sure you match on a personal level before moving forward with any contractual agreements.
7. Make Sure They Fit Into Your Budget
Last, but never least, be sure you can afford the person you want to hire. You surely have a set budget of available funds, so note the number and stick to it. Many freelancers have set hourly rates, as well as rates per project. But, it’s usually possible to negotiate. Just remember, you get what you pay for. Lower rates do not always mean high quality work.
Decide for how long you want or need to the contract to last, and how often you want content submitted. This type of editorial calendar is key to have in place before you hire a writer. You shouldn’t hire a freelancer, only to have them leave in the middle of the project because of scheduling conflicts or unpaid invoices.
It’s essential for your business to communicate openly and honestly with every single candidate. The best writers will usually stand firm on their own policies and rates, so ask them questions. You do not want to assume anything and you need to give them as much information as possible about yourself and the business as well.
This is how you find a writer that suits your specific needs. Ask yourself what your goals are as a marketer and business before you bring anyone new on board. If you want to offer more customer support via your blog, find a writer who excels at turnaround times and engaging tutorials. To offer special promotional content, find someone with successful graphic marketing experience.
Your main concern should be if you and the writer are on the same page. Find out if they are willing to take criticism, if they can work as a team creatively and if they have their own database of ideas and inspiration.
Be sure you are clear in your demands and that you understand the writer’s as well. And use this 7-step guide as your constant source of support. Business and life get busy and they get messy, but where there is a will there is always a way. Don’t hesitate. Start searching for your new content writer today and breathe some new life into your business!
Photo credit: VisualHunt
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