Are you a content marketer struggling to keep up with your target audience? Are you in charge of curating content, writing, editing, marketing, managing social media, and more on top of also trying to run the other areas of your business? It can be overwhelming.
Why Hire a Content Writer?
It’s possible that you’ve considered hiring a writer, or have even gone far enough as to search for one, only stopping out of fear of potentially harming your credibility and business. What if you choose the wrong person, and how can you trust them to create the right content for your business?
While a skilled content writer can help promote your business, generate leads, and fuel your content marketing, a poor writer will drag down a company’s reputation and cost you more than just leads. If you’re interested in freeing up some valuable time in your schedule to find a true partner for your business, then this article will help you navigate through.
Here are 10 things to consider when hiring a content writer:
- Skill level
- Experience Level
- Knowledge of Your Product
- Turnaround Time
- Corrections Policy
1. Skill Level
How to Evaluate a Writer’s Skill Level?
You can easily ascertain the skill level of most writers by asking for samples of their writing. But don’t just ask them for any samples. A great technical writer might produce terrible story-driven blog posts, so make sure you get relevant samples that are similar to the work they will produce for you.
When you’re evaluating their skill level, consider things like readability, grammar, spelling, and flow. If you need help evaluating their writing, you can run their content through Hemingway App or Read-Able to get a readability score and a grammar evaluation.
Also, make sure they will be able to capture the attention of your readers. You are pretty good judge of what has worked and not worked in terms of performance, so if you aren’t initially pulled into the article, don’t force it.
2. Experience Level
How to Assess a Writer’s Experience Level?
Note: This is not the same as their level of skill in terms of writing about a particular topic or even the type of content.
A writer might excel at writing blog posts but have little experience with landing pages. Or they might be a great writer when it comes to politics and business, but have no idea how to write about technology or fitness.
One way to make sure you get the right writer is to create a very specific job description before you start your search. That way, whether you use a freelance website to find a writer or you specifically seek out a writing service or professional, everyone will be on the same page before you get started.Here is an example of a strong description:
That way, only people with the experience you are looking for will apply.
You can also find out what level of experience they have in relation to your specific project by asking them for past client referrals, revealing how many similar projects they have completed. And, pay attention to the questions they ask you. An experienced writer will ask detailed questions about what you want, your goals, and what success will look like to you. If they don’t have any questions, consider it a red flag.
Pick someone who is excited about your project! They should like your product or service and have a desire to promote it. Your writer will be an integral part of your team, so it’s important that they take that role seriously and always give their best to your projects.
You’ll be more likely to get great content from someone who actually cares about the content. To gauge their interest level, you might set up a phone call, or if possible, an in-person meeting, and listen to the way they talk about the project.
- Do they ask lots of questions?
- Do they share relevant information about their experience in the industry?
- Do they have any advice to offer you even if you don’t choose them?
- Do they sound like they’ll enjoy the work?
Base your decision on the takeaway from that conversation because like any good interview, they should be nailing it in terms of their interest in working with you.
4. Knowledge of Your Product
When you are emailing back and forth with, or even interviewing the writer, does it seem like they’ve done their homework?
If they don’t seem to care and just want to write for you, it might be a sign that they’re not serious about their writing or that they are willing to take a paycheck from anyone. Some indicators in communication to gauge their knowledge:
- Do they know how to spell your brand correctly (seriously)?
- Do they know about your products and services?
- Do they know who your competitors are?
- Are they familiar with the industry you service?
- Are they knowledgeable about how content can be used for your business?
Here’s an example of what a great pitch would look like:
If you’d like to press the issue a bit, you can ask them specifically why they’re interested in writing for your brand or what they like most/least about your company.
5. What is the Cost of a Content Writer?
If price is a factor for your business, keep in mind that you will have to pay more for more experienced and higher quality writers. You get what you pay for. It’s certainly better to spend more money for content that will convert readers into clients than pay less for content that doesn’t make an impact on your business.
For a highly skilled copywriter, you can expect to pay anywhere from $50-$200/hour. Most copywriters charge closer to $75-$100. For a blog post, you’ll pay between $50-$100, and for a full website you can pay up to $5,000.
To reiterate, you can find cheaper prices, but remember that with a lower price tag comes diminished content quality and/or experience.
6. Turnaround Time
Do you have strict deadlines? Will you need someone who can get your content back to you within 24 hours or someone who is available on weekends? These are important factors to consider when you’re looking for the right writer.
When you create your detailed job description, be sure to include these deadlines. Communicate them upfront with your writer, and come up with a schedule you’re both comfortable with.
Here’s an example of what your timeline might look like:
(Source: Social Media Today)
7. Corrections Policy
If you decide to take a project in another direction halfway through the writing process, what is their policy? The best and most experienced writers will charge for changes unless they are mistakes on the writer’s part. Make sure you see eye to eye on their policies before you start working together.
Some common policies to watch for are required timeframes for corrections (ie. All work is final after three days), or that the writer will provide one revised product each week.
What kind of work have they done in the past? Some things to keep in mind:
- Do they have a very specific writing style?
- Can they write in multiple voices and to different audiences?
- Do they do a lot of research with each project?
Make sure they can match the tone and voice of your business. To accomplish this, compare your work directly with the work in their profile.
If you were to post their work directly on your site today, would your audience wonder why the quality had diminished or would they think the writing was on parr, or better than your current content offering?
Make sure the content is something you’d be proud to showcase to your audience.
If possible, read some reviews or contact their past clients.If they are even somewhat experienced, they will have referrals. If the reviews are so-so or they don’t have many referrals, take that into consideration.
You can always ask the writer for a client list and check the work on their websites. Or, you could ask for contact information from 2-3 people they have worked with on a content project and then contact them to see if they had a positive experience.
One of the best questions to ask their past clients is whether or not they would hire the writer again. If they say yes, that’s a very good sign that you will be happy with their content. If they say no, ask why not, keeping in mind that some bad referrals may be the result of a client not having realistic expectations of their writer.
This one is a little hard to calculate, but you should like the person you hire. After all, you’re likely going to spend a lot of time talking to this person, either remotely or in person. It’s important that the writer you choose meshes well with your personality and work style.
For instance, if you prefer to have all of your content written in Google Docs, you should make sure they are comfortable with the program. Or, if you use Trello for your content calendar, make sure they know how to use it for collaborating.
Where to Look?
If you are ready to hire a content writer, but you’re not sure where to start, here are a few great places online to look for your next collaborator.
Upwork – Upwork is an online community of freelancers in all areas of expertise. You’ll be able to search for a writer based on experience, price, or “Job Success Rate.”
NinjaEssays – Ninja Essays is another custom content writing service. They offer business writing as well as editing and proofreading.
EssaysCapital – Essay Capital is a custom writing business where you can hire writers for your business.
FreelancersUnion – Freelancers Union is, as you would expect, a union for freelancers. Find talented writers who take their freelancing seriously on the site.
PapersGear – You can hire the professional writers at Papers Gear to write or edit your business related content.
|Name||Cost||Grammar/Spelling Check?||Plariarism Check||Unique Feature|
|Upwork||Freelancers Bid||Yes||No||Writers from all backgrounds|
|NinjaEssays(Writing)||$19.99 +||Yes||Yes||Helpful Blog for writers|
|$10.99 +||Yes||Yes||Match your unique voice|
|FreelancersUnion||Freelancers Bid||Yes||No||Potentially lower prices|
|$5.99 +||Yes||Yes||Fast and easy communication|
The content you create for your audience is a huge part of your success. It enhances your visibility and authority and provides a concrete way for your customers to communicate with you.
But as a content marketer with a million other things to do in the day, it’s not always possible to produce high-quality content on a consistent basis. Hiring a content writer can drastically improve your business.
If you do choose to hire a writer, consider these 10 factors to make sure you’ll be happy with your choice and it might just be the best thing you ever do for your business and sanity!