Many SMB owners provide services, market, reconcile the books, and do administrative work on their own. Add a weekly blog post to this to-do list and it’s no wonder many business owners are throwing up their hands…. or outsourcing to content marketers. A qualified writer can create delightful content for your business, but first you’ve got to find one. Use these tips to vet writers in your niche and hire talent with the right level of expertise.
1. Define Your Needs
There’s no way you’ll find a great fit if you’re unclear on your needs with content marketing. Before you begin browsing for content writers in your niche, ask and answer questions like:
- What type of content do I need?
- What is the complexity, and how much experience with my niche should the ideal writer have?
- Who is my target audience, and who can target them?
- What kind of language will appeal to potential customers?
- What skills does my ideal writer have?
Then take your answers and look for criteria. If you’re targeting affluent Millennials for eco-friendly furniture, you might want someone who’s hip, urban, and an evangelist for sustainability, environmental causes, or green design. They’ll intuitively get what you need because they’re already part of your target audience.
2. Search and Scan Profiles
Now that you know what kind of writer you need, the search is on. Look for writers with industry familiarity and scan the profiles of potential matches. Candidates whose credentials match your needs should pop out, so take note of any matches.
A content marketer who’s a partial fit can work, provided they have strong experience in your niche or strongly resemble your target audience. For example, a retired landscape architect may be a great pick for your eco-friendly furniture company blog if they are well-versed in sustainability issues.
3. Read Their Writing
The best way for you to get an idea of the writer’s style is to read samples in their portfolio, which should cover varying subjects and industries.
Can the writer connect to your target audience? If you’re seeking a casual blog voice and a writer’s samples are predominantly formal B2B content, then they aren’t the right writer for your business.
As you’re reading, check for grammar and spelling. 26 percent of college grads are deficient in writing skills. A writer’s error could cost your business a good first impression with a new customer. Look at the content’s structure. Is it organized with headings? Are paragraphs short, best practice for online?
4. Give Them a Test Run
If you’re feeling tingly over a writer, take things to the next level with a test run. Reach out, introduce yourself, and send them a short assignment—say, a 400-word blog post. Provide enough instruction for them to get your mission and run with it. If the test run goes well, you’ve found top-tier talent for your blog. If you didn’t love it, keep searching. You have more insight into what’s not right for your customer base, and that helps find the perfect match.
These four tips will help you winnow the talent pool and identify potential matches. Trust your gut while you’re selecting a content writer in your niche. If their profile or content samples grab you, you may have a match. If not, the fit isn’t there.
Lindsey D has 10+ years of experience with content marketing. She enjoys helping clients create blog posts, landing pages, case studies, and web copy that educates, informs, delights, and engages their target audience, whether that’s B2B or B2C.