The world is becoming dependent on the internet for all of its queries. This has shaped how we, business owners, view the internet, and the need for SEO. We all want to get our business out there by ranking on the first page on search engines, but competition is high.
The tougher the competition, the harder it is to rank high on search engines. Focusing on SEO alone won’t make you rank high on search engines. You have to think about the readers and search engines simultaneously, and how do you do that? With quality content.
Writing quality content is hard, and it takes a lot of time and effort. If you are just starting your business, it is okay to write your content yourself. But when your business starts to grow, everyone starts to get busy doing their thing, and no one focuses on writing content.
At some point, you’ll decide you want to hire writers that will handle all content for your business. But the question is, “are they worth the money?” The answer is yes, but it depends on the writer. If you hire a good writer, he or she is worth the money; but I can’t say the same thing if you don’t hire a good writer.
Well, don’t worry, we’ve got you covered. By the end of this article, you would know what type of writers you should hire, how to get the best writers, and how to make the most of your investment.
If you’re busy and can’t read through the article now, you can download it here and take it with you.
If you are here, it means you know who a content writer is. But for the sake of extensive writing, I’ll explain it to you again.
Content writers create web content. Most people mistake content writers for copywriters – that’s wrong.
Copywriters focus on creating content that sells and converts while content writers create content that informs. Content writers can write blog posts, product descriptions, ad copy, guides, landing pages, social media content, white papers, SEO content, email campaigns, and other marketing content. They can also create promotional materials (e-books, graphics, etc.).
A good content writer sets the tone for your company’s website and creates value for your audience.
In-house writer or freelance writer?
The biggest question most business owners ask themselves when it comes to hiring writers is “freelance or in-house writers?”
I can’t say choose freelance writers over in-house writers because it depends on your business budget.
If your company has a big marketing budget and can afford to hire full-time writers, you should go for in-house writers.
One of the major benefits of hiring in-house writers is the consistency of your overall produced content. Once trained, they would develop and embody your brand voice in a way that freelance writers may never be able to. They are also readily available to discuss revisions as well as strategize content messages.
In-house writers are also able to meet their content goals faster because of teamwork and strategy.
A major downside to hiring in-house writers is the expenses associated with hiring and retaining employees. These expenses include salary taxes, Health Insurances, vacation, sick days, retirement plans, etc. You might need more than one writer depending on your business size, which means more cost.
If you don’t have enough marketing budget to hire and train an in-house writer, you can hire a freelance writer. Freelance writers are hired on an as-needed basis, making them independent contractors – no need for training or added perks.
One of the benefits of working with freelance writers includes cost-effectiveness, less paperwork, and responsibilities; you don’t have to break your bank to achieve your content goals.
Freelance writers have added benefits of diverse experience in the industry and various sectors. They have worked with so many companies over the years and gained expertise and experience in content marketing and search engine optimization.
Freelancers don’t need to work on-site to get your job done. A good freelance writer possesses all the skills to turn your instructions into success.
The major downside to hiring a freelancer is trust.
You’ve never met this person, they work remotely, and they could disappear at any time. “What if they don’t do a nice job?” “What if they just want my money?” “Are they reliable?” “Can I trust them?” All these are questions you’ll ask yourself often.
However, when you get the right freelance writer, trust won’t be an issue. But, finding the right freelancer takes time and energy. Imagine how long it took you to hire someone for your business? Now imagine doing it with someone you won’t meet.
Should I hire one writer or many?
There’s no straight answer to this; it depends on your business and how often you need content.
It might seem tempting to hire a single writer to handle all your content, but if you have lots of content to be written, you should employ more than one writer, so you don’t get disappointed.
How to find skilled content writers for your business
Step One: Find the Writer
Use freelance job boards and marketplaces
One effective method of finding qualified freelance writers is using job boards and writing marketplaces. If you are looking for specific writers or subject experts, you can start your search at a writing marketplace like Clearvoice.
The good thing about writing marketplaces is that they are designed to provide a more personalized experience. They will help you find the best team of freelance writers that match your needs, so you don’t have to do anything but hire.
If you are using job boards, you need to consider your content marketing strategy’s weaknesses and strengths. These considerations will help you find a writer that suits your business.
This may sound cliché, but LinkedIn is a great place to find professional freelance writers. Let’s say you need an SEO content writer; you can search for “SEO content writer” in the LinkedIn search bar. The search results will include your 1st and 2nd-degree connections with SEO content writing skills.
1st-degree connections are people that are in your close network, while 2nd-degree connections are people who are connected to your 1st-degree connections.
Finding writers in your network is better because you can identify who they are, who they’ve worked with, and ask your connections what it was like working with them.
You can also consider connecting with other business owners like you and ask for their go-to freelancers and referrals if they have any.
Step Two: Contact the Writer
Once you’ve seen a writer that suits your business, the next thing to do is contact them.
One important thing that all high-quality writers have in common is lots of clients. If you want the best writer working on your project, you have to approach them correctly and professionally.
Step Three: Qualify your writer.
Most people tend to skip this step, but it is an essential step. After you’ve contacted your writer, you need to qualify him to make sure he understands your company.
You need to ask the right questions so that you will get the best writer.
Here are some questions you should ask your writer (and answers you should expect to get).
Question #1: Can you send me your writing portfolio?
Every writer should have a writing portfolio. So when you’re talking to a potential writer, the first thing to ask for is their portfolio.
If you have seen the writer’s work before, there is no need to ask for a portfolio. But if you haven’t, ask for it.
“Sure, here’s the link to my portfolio.”
“Sorry, I don’t have a portfolio, but I have ghostwritten for some sites before. Trust me, I am an excellent writer, and I write perfectly.
“Question #2: How do you research your content?
The only thing that separates great writers from other writers is their research they put into every piece of content they publish.
Research takes a lot of work. It takes a lot of time to find relevant statistics; it takes more time to find the real source. It’s hard to find related examples, topics and keywords, but it’s worth it.
You can also ask the writer questions like:
- Do you reach out to experts to get a quote?
- Do you check the sources of your quotes?
- What are your favorite resources to quote?
“I use Google to search for statistics and case studies, and from there, I take the ones that are related to what I am writing. Sometimes I reach out to experts to get a quote.”
“I don’t do too much research, I use what you’ve given me to write what I need to write.”
Question #3: What’s your writing process like?
This is a complicated question that most writers don’t understand, but the essence of this question is to understand two critical parts of the writer:
- How clearly he can explain his process
- How well he can interpret the question
When it comes to the writing process, it depends on the type of content the writer wants to develop, the way you work, and the topic at hand.
Everyone has a different writing process, but you need to make sure that your process is comfortable and useful when working with a new writer. Even if the writer has his method, you can make him work with yours and adapt to it.
An excellent way to get your writing process is to consider your experience with other writers (if you have any):
- How did the writing go in the past?
- What worked?
- What didn’t work?
- How was working with previous writers like?
Once you can answer all that, you will get an idea of your writing process.
“Once you give me your topic, I start by researching, looking for related statistics and examples. Then I draft an outline and send it over. Once you approve the draft, I write it and send it to you in 7 days. From there, we can go over the edits, and when you think it’s done, then you publish it.”
“I don’t have any writing process, I expect you to send me everything you need, and I just write.”
Question #4: How long does it take you to write an article?
This question is mostly overlooked, but it is important. If you want to plan your content calendar and stick to it, you need to know how long it takes the writer to write.
As a writer, I know that it is hard to give a specific date for an article. Sometimes, an article can take longer than the required timeline. It is normal!
You need to plan for such times and make sure your content calendar is flexible. But notwithstanding, a writer should be able to give an estimated date of completion.
“Writing and research take me about one week. So if I start today, which is Wednesday, by next week Wednesday, you get the first draft, and if you approve it, by Mid-next week, I’ll have it all polished and done.
“Everything will take me two days flat.”
Note: I’m not saying people don’t write fast, but researching, writing, and editing takes more than two days
Question #5: Will you promote the content? If yes, how?
Content writers do little to no promotion, while content marketers do. While it isn’t mandatory to get a writer that can help you with promotion, any proud writer would promote his content to his audience.
“I am not a content marketer, but I am willing to help with whatever is needed. It might cost extra, but it depends.”
“I am just a content writer; I can’t do that.”
Step Four: So you like the writer, what next?
So the writer meets your qualification, and you like him a lot. What next? Do you send him a contract or hire right away?
The next thing to do is ask for a paid test article.
Although you love his writing style, you want to make sure that he is the perfect person for you. Send him your style guide and let him come up with something.
However, I’d highly recommend you guide him through the whole journey to make sure you’re giving out the best information for the test article.
Once he delivers the test article, here are things you should consider before hiring:
- Coherence: Did the article correlate with what you wanted?
- Timeliness: Did the writer meet the deadline?
- Quality: Is the article quality enough? If not, why? And how can the writer improve it?
- Revisions: Was the writer open to revisions? How well did he respond to the revisions?
If the writer passes the test article, you can hire the writer and count on him for long term work.
If the writer doesn’t pass the test article, I wouldn’t recommend working with him. The last thing you should do to your business is work with an unprofessional writer you can’t trust.
Always remember that writers are also humans, and you have to treat them as such. Don’t treat any employee like they are dispensable; that’s horrible and unprofessional. Treat your workers well, and they will reward you with quality work. Ask me how I know.
What about working with agencies?
If you think it’s so much stress hiring freelance writers, which it is, you can go for content writing agencies.
With content writing agencies, you don’t have to do too much, and you’ll get the best out of your money.
Here are some advantages of hiring a content writing agency
- Boost your content marketing strategy. Hiring a content writing agency will help boost your content marketing strategy. If you already have one, an agency will help you achieve what you want in the most effective way. If you don’t have a strategy, an agency will create one from scratch and use it to grow your business and achieve your business goals.
- Consistent quality work. When it comes to content, consistency is all that matters. You want to make sure to maintain a high level of quality throughout your content. Hiring a professional content agency allows your business to maintain consistency in the quality of content. They also know how to keep the reputation, competence, and quality that every content production requires.
- Higher ROI. A professional writing agency will always offer the best writers for your project, so you’re sure you are getting the best hands-on-deck, which means higher ROI (Return on Investment) for your business.
- Stay within your business budget. By hiring a professional agency, your business saves more money. This is possible because it prevents you from hiring lots of temporary freelance writers, which means you spend less. You also don’t have to worry about the added benefits that come with hiring full-time writers. You can also pay attention to other things while someone else handles all of your content without your supervision.
- Better content reach. To stand out among your competitors and audience, you need to consider getting yourself quality content that stands out and can go viral. Content agencies have professionals across all industries that will get you the kind of high-quality content that will make your audience and prospects come back for more. Investing in a professional content agency is one of the most effective ways of getting better content reach.
- Fresh perspective. Sometimes all your readers need is a fresh perspective, and because writing agencies have lots of different experts, the chance of getting a new view of your content is high. Outsourcing your content needs to a writing agency will allow you to give your readers a fresh perspective and improve your business’s writing quality. If you feel that your business blog needs a set of fresh eyes and some new kind of high-quality articles, there is no better alternative than a content agency.
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