Is it time to hire a professional content writer? Here’s how working with one can help your business. Plus a quick guide on how to hire a content writer for beginners.
Are you contemplating the benefits of hiring a blog or newsletter content writer? You aren’t the only one. In fact, searches related to content writing have increased substantially in the last 12 months. Clearly, there’s a growing need for great content writers.
That’s why it shouldn’t come as a big surprise that content writers are in high demand—and get hired for very practical reasons. (You’ll see what I mean below.)
But as a small business – particularly in this economy – it can be hard to justify your desire to work with one. You have cost concerns, you have trust concerns, and you have doubts whether a freelance content writer can bring tangible results.
Well, I’m here to show you why working with a content writer is a valid investment—and how a pro can help your business.
First impressions matter—and they last
From a very young age, we’re taught not to judge a book by its cover—and yet we do. Frankly, we’re hardwired that way.
The occasional mistake here and there can be overlooked but consistently bad writing, to put it bluntly, has us questioning just how professional a company is.
So whether it’s on a brand’s website, blog posts, or e-mail campaign, spelling mistakes, bad grammar, and poor sentence structure set off warning bells.
- Do they have good work ethic?
- How will they treat us as customers?
- Can we believe in this brand?
Once those (dangerous) doubts creep in, it’s incredibly hard to convince – let alone assure – readers otherwise. That includes perceptions of product or service quality. After all, what can we expect of a brand that didn’t even put in the effort for their own business!
A content writer minimizes such blunders from happening, since getting spelling, grammar and sentence structure right is part of their job.
Time is money
We all know that writing is time-consuming and how you allocate your time is incredibly important—whether you’re a one-man show or lucky enough to have a small team working for you. After all, there’s a lot to do to run your business and make it grow.
Which one of these can you relate to?
- English isn’t a language you’re comfortable writing in. That means you aren’t confident about communicating what you need to clearly. Furthermore, you worry about wording and getting tone and voice right.
- You know that writing isn’t your forte but you still have to do it. So you end up wasting a lot of time with a blank screen in front of you, not knowing where or how to begin.
- Writing blog and newsletter content requires time that you simply don’t have.
Quality content doesn’t just happen. You have to brainstorm topics and ideas, research them, put thoughts into words, edit and then rinse and repeat. Add to that, sticking to a consistent writing schedule – and ensuring engaging content – may simply not be feasible when you’re also juggling other critical tasks.
For many solopreneurs and small businesses, the time spent on writing could probably be better spent elsewhere. Hiring a professional content writer relieves you of that load, so you can focus on where you’re most needed and effective.
Working your way to the top isn’t easy
You can write as much as you like but at the end of the day, it won’t matter if your content is not discoverable on search engines. Because, at the end of the day, you aren’t creating content just for the sake of creating content—it’s to be consumed!
- Maybe you want to start making money (e.g. through affiliate links, ads) from your blog.
- Your goal might be to increase your blog’s popularity and attract valuable inbound links.
- Perhaps you aim to be a respected authority in your niche.
- Or you’re using your blog to help build awareness of your brand.
Whatever your reason for starting a blog, it will only serve you if people can find you. For that, you need to know how to write compelling content that is also optimized for search engines—that includes the strategic and proper use of keywords.
But why hope for the best when an experienced content writer can help you create the type of high-quality content that search engines love?
It’s important to note that content writers aren’t miracle workers. Among other reasons, some search terms are just too competitive to rank highly for while other topics just don’t have much interest (and search volume) to begin with. But content writers have the skills and strategies to help you get better results than you would without that SEO knowledge.
Turn readers into paying customers
As we’ve just established, every piece of writing is created for a purpose. If you’re using content to build awareness and drum up sales, then what you write becomes even more important. It has to bring readers back for more, encourage them to sign up for your newsletter, book a stay or even make a purchase. Content writers can help you nudge people in the right direction with their range of relevant educational, informational, creative, inspiring or motivating posts.
TL; DR summary
Here’s why hiring a content writer is actually worth the investment.
- You can stop stressing out about the quality of your writing or English-language skills.
- A content writer buys you valuable time, so that you can focus on other critical activities like customer service.
- An SEO content writer crafts posts that are search-friendly and that can help you improve your ranking.
- Your content will be prudently written to help you achieve specific marketing goals, whether that’s growing your readership or promoting a service.
How to hire a freelance content writer
So what do you need to do once you’ve decided to outsource the work to a content writer? This guide will help you get started with hiring a content writer for the first time.
Step 1: Make sure you know what you need
Before you commit to a content writer, make sure you actually need one. I say this because there is a critical difference between copywriting and content writing.
- Copywriting: Text that encourages readers to take some sort of action. That action could be sending an inquiry, making a purchase or signing up for a newsletter.
- Content writing: Text that is meant to entertain, educate or inform.
Know exactly what you need and what you’re hoping to achieve before you start your search for freelance writers. For example: If you need to increase sales, you’ll probably want to work with a copywriter. If you want to inspire travelers about your destination, you probably want to work with a content writer.
Step 2: Reach out to content writers
Now that you’re sure what you need is a content writer, it’s time to start searching for and contacting potential writers that you could work with. This is where you can e-mail me.
Step 3: Send your creative brief
While it may be tempting to simply ask what the freelance content writer’s rates are, you’ll save time and get better results by actually being as detailed as possible about your needs. That’s why you should prepare a creative brief (a detailed project description) for your potential content writers.
If you’ve got an estimated word count preference, let the blog writer know. Have specific guidelines you’d like her to follow? Tell her what you have in mind. Is there a schedule you really want to stick to? The writer has to know that from the get-go.
At this stage, it’s important that you honestly communicate what your expectations are. This is, of course, a two-way street as the content writer will also have their own terms that you’ll have to agree to.
You could skip this step but it’s worth noting that the content writer has to understand what you want to be able to give you an appropriate quote—and to decide if yours is a project they can and want to take on.
A few things to keep in mind:
- Pricing will vary. Some charge by the word, others by hour or project. It’s worth noting that you get what you pay for.
- There’s the question of availability. Some content writers have busier schedules than others. Make sure you communicate your timelines clearly.
- Ideally, you should feel comfortable with the content writer you’re going to work with on an ongoing basis.
Step 4: Select your content writer
Once you’ve compared all your options, and all the little details have been sorted out, then it’s time to get cracking! Namely, select your content writer—or several content writers if you have big blogging plans—and start the project.
But wait! What happens if it turns out you actually need a copywriter? Then you might want to check the following pages out:
» These are 5 instances where it makes sense to hire a professional copywriter
» Here’s what you need to know about how to choose a copywriter
» This is what it’s like working with a copywriter
» Wondering why copywriters ask so many questions? Then read this
» How to give your copywriter feedback (you can use this for your content writer too)