5 Things to Look for in a Writer
You’ve been handling the writing portion of your company’s content marketing needs for some time now, but your plate has gotten more than a little full, and you’d like to hire a writer to take on some, if not all, of your content needs. The best article writers don’t simply materialize out of thin air. You have to know what to look for, and how to spot the attributes of a great writer.
Interest in Your Company
The writer you ultimately hire doesn’t have to be an expert in your company’s field or even particularly knowledgeable about the products and services your business offers, at least at the beginning. But, the writer you end up working with should be curious about what your company does and be genuinely interested in the products you are offering. You can easily tell if someone is genuinely interested in knowing more about your company by the questions he or she asks. If a writer asks you plenty of questions about your company’s history, its products, and its goals, he or she is most likely ready to dive in and create engaging and exciting content for you.
Odds are, you’re hiring a writer because you’re struggling to meet your own deadlines. That means that the writer you hire should take deadlines seriously and be able to submit assignments on time. One way to see if a writer hands in assignments in a timely fashion is to give him or her a test project. Ask for a sample, that you’ll pay for if you use, and give him or her a specific date and time as a deadline. If the writer can meet the deadline, you’re golden. If not, keep on looking.
You want a writer who can actually write. While everyone makes the occasional typo, a writer who regularly submits work with run-on sentences, major misspellings, and other grammar issues is going to cost you more in terms of time and effort. When you ask for a sample, make sure to look at it closely, looking for any major issues. If a few small things jump out at you, you can either pass on the writer or mention them, in the hope that he or she will quickly correct those mistakes.
It’s not your job to babysit your writer. An excellent writer will take an assignment, dive into the research or interviews needed, and bring you exactly what you wanted. While you do want to give your writers some guidance when it comes to direction, topic, or other basic requirements, you also want a writer who will take an assignment and run with it, only coming to you with absolutely essential questions.
Willingness to Grow
The best writer for your company might not be the best writer now — but he or she is willing to do whatever he or she can to become the best writer. You don’t want to work with someone who is stuck in his or her ways or who is convinced that he or she always knows what is best. When you’re interviewing a writer, ask him or her about continuing education, about whether or not he or she reads any books or websites on writing or content marketing, or whether or not he or she is willing to take courses to further develop skills. Content marketing is a forever changing field. You want a writer who’s willing to grow with the field.
Finding the right writer can take some time. But, if you know what to look for, you can streamline the process and avoid making a hiring mistake.
Amy F. is a freelance writer based in Philadelphia. She enjoys writing about personal finance, gardening, and the ins and outs of content marketing.