With 55 percent of B2B businesses finding it a challenge to produce enough online content and 47 percent grappling with production of engaging content, it is obvious that finding a suitable writer for hire is a key stumbling block for marketing directors. Skilled writers are not a dime a dozen and not every writer has the appropriate skills and knowledge needed for your niche. Creating content has become a primary marketing tool due to consumers’ appetite for available information. And Google has made it clear that original, well-written content will win the rankings game.
To make this issue thornier is the challenging fact that every company has unique needs when it comes to finding a talented writer. Strictly having a technically-skilled writer is not good enough; the writer also has to mesh with the proper tone, style of presentation, and knowledge of how to engage a reader’s attention.
What Criteria Are Important?
Most companies outsource much of their content writing due to the ability to choose writers for niche-specific projects and the natural ebb and flow of marketing needs. This practice works well for writers who can pick and choose assignments which they are qualified to write. When sourcing the ideal writer for your business undertaking, these criteria can narrow the field:
- Portfolio: Unless the writer is new, they will have a portfolio for you to examine. You can read their previous work to determine their strengths and how well they fit into your company culture.
- Adaptability: Content writing requires a range of styles and techniques. A good writer can adapt their style and tone to your requirements including short and long pieces, product descriptions, blog posts, or video commentary. Not every writer can do every type of writing, but if a writer is not able to work on several types of assignments, they may not be the right fit.
- Details: Working with a freelancer can be difficult, but it is much easier if the writer pays attention to your requests. No one is perfect, but a person who can follow instructions correctly the first time cuts down on needless revisions and rewrites. On the other hand, there may be some adjustment time needed when working on an initial project as you get to know each other.
- Personality: It is much easier to work with a pleasant, cooperative person than a difficult one.
- Formatting: An experienced content writer should know how to write for the web, including making text visually engaging and using SEO, links, and other basic Internet tools.
- Voice: If you need a distinctive voice for your content, having writers offer a piece of written content as part of the interview is best. Be prepared to pay for this piece, however, since a writer’s income is based on their written work.
Interviewing A Writer
When interviewing a writer, be clear on what type of work you are hiring for. From their portfolio and experience, you can determine whether they can write in multiple formats and how often they publish. Unless their work is strictly proprietary, writers can tell you what media platforms and tools they have used and show you sample of work using them. Other methods to implement are:
- Testing skills through a writing assignment.
- Reading a range of their writing samples.
- Examining their technical skills through a perusal of their meta-information, tags and links.
Paula A is the owner of an online gallery, freelance writer specializing in marketing and business and is an avid promoter of Cleveland, Ohio.