When I began offering writing services back in 2014, it was my first step into the world of freelancing. Over the years, I have learned a lot about marketing my services, communicating with clients, and–most of all-what it takes to make a project successful.
Whether or not you have worked with a content writer in the past, you can easily get the results you want so long as you do your due diligence. Follow these steps.
1. Know your needs.
There are dozens of different types of content you might need written for your business. For instance, you might need social media posts, articles for your website, or even website content in itself (think content to fill your “About Us” section or homepage).
Most businesses need a variety of on-site and off-site content. Make sure that you understand your own needs and lay out a basic plan so you know what skills your writer needs to possess.
The average content writer can create an array of content, including posts for your blog and social media pages. They may even be able to create email newsletters and books. However, if you need sales copy, promotional content, or advertisements, you’ll want to look for a more specialized writer known as a copywriter.
2. Create a plan.
Ever heard of content marketing? If you don’t have a content plan in place yet, you are missing out big-time. Whether you’re an individual operating a sole-proprietorship or a large-scale company, content marketing is a strategy you shouldn’t overlook.
To summarize, a content marketing plan allows you to organize what content you need created, what its purpose is, and the keywords it will be built around (for SEO purposes). There are plenty of in-depth guides on content marketing if you need additional insight.
However, at the very minimum, you need to have a list of keywords, ideas, and/or potential titles to give to the writer you hire. If you do not have any ideas or concepts and you just know that you need content, I’d suggest working with a marketing professional who can help you figure out what topics are going to matter to your audience and go from there.
3. Explain your needs.
Most businesses these days create what’s known as a “brand book” to lay out all of the details they need writers, graphic designers, and other professionals to know. Since consistency is key when it comes to branding, a brand book can prove mighty helpful (and it will save everyone time, too).
The term “brand book” may sound daunting, but all you really need to do is create a document that explains your brand’s audience, back story, mission/purpose, and the type of personality you want your brand to have.
Take Wendy’s, for example. The Wendy’s brand is fun and youthful, and knowing that helps guide a writer’s approach. Your brand’s personality and audience will change the structure, vocabulary, and overall tone your writer uses when creating content for you. Failing to give them this information will result in content that doesn’t match your company image.
For each individual project, you should also create a content brief. Here’s a helpful article on How To Create A Content Brief (Template Included).
4. Choose a writer for the long-term.
The ideal solution to any business’ content writing needs is choosing a writer for the long-term. This allows the writer to learn the brand’s needs and consistently deliver content that matches their image.
Constantly working with new writers will waste a lot of time as you will have to continuously source talent and educate each writer about your brand. Once you find a writer that you like, you should stick with them.
Alternatively, you can hire through a content production platform, brief the company’s team on your needs, and they will make sure that the right writers always work on your projects.
Tips for Hiring Content Writers
Hiring a writer is a simple and straightforward process, just make sure you follow these tips.
On many platforms, it’s possible to hire a content writer without even communicating with them first. This is the case with Fiverr and many other popular freelance platforms. However, even if a writer has an abundance of reviews, I always think it’s best to have a brief conversation before you hire someone for the first time.
You really only need to exchange a few messages to ensure they understand your request and will be able to confidently fulfill it. Plus, this brief conversation will be enough to give you an idea of their writing abilities before you spend a penny on their services. A writer who cannot communicate without errors and misunderstandings probably isn’t a good fit for your project.
Ask for Samples
While this website acts as a portfolio in itself, I also have a traditional writing portfolio and a sample eBook that I have created to show clients my various writing styles. It’s always available to view upon request.
Portfolios are an important part of the job because ghostwriters don’t receive credit when their writing is published by clients (hence the term “ghostwriter”). In my six years of writing, I have only been credited a handful of times, which is why writing samples are essential. All serious writers will have some samples to share.
I always suggest that new clients begin with just 500 words. This is enough content for you to see how I interpreted your brand’s image and get a feel for the writing style I would use on behalf of your company. This smaller order size also makes it easy for me to tweak my style until we have it just right.
If something isn’t quite right with the content the writer delivered to you, share feedback with them directly. Most writers will be more than happy to implement small changes to the piece. If you gave them clear, detailed instructions before starting the project, major rewrites shouldn’t be necessary.
When submitting feedback, be specific. I find projects are completed quickest when clients take the time to add a few comments into the document pointing out specific examples of things they don’t like or need changed.
For instance, if you want a conversational writing style, you could highlight some sentences that you feel are too formal or terms that you feel are too advanced for your audience. By communicating clear feedback, the writer will be able to quickly adapt the content to fit your needs. They’ll also have a better understanding of your requirements should you choose work with them again.
Finding Content Writers for Hire
There are many places where you can look for content writers. Most work on a remote, freelance basis, which means you’ll hire them online and work with them exclusively over the internet. Some businesses do contract local content writers, although the talent selection and price will vary depending on where you’re at.
If you are looking to find a content writer, I suggest reading “Where to Find Writers for Hire Online” for a full list of platforms where you can find professional and experienced writers at varying price points.