You’ve decided to hire an outside writer to create expert content for your business blog. Before you start searching for writers, it’s a good idea to think about the ideal qualities you’d like in a writer. Ideally this individual (or individuals) will work with you for a long period of time, so make sure they are not only skilled at what they do, but also a good fit for your organization.
Here are a few questions that need answering before beginning the search for a writer:
- Do I need an expert or a generalist? Do I want someone with expertise and experience in my niche, or will a writer with strong writing skills and the ability to write for many different topics suffice?
Your answer here depends on a few things, including how deep your content goes in any particular topic. If you’re writing about something super nuanced and specific, then you probably want a person who is well-versed in that topic. Otherwise, most quality writers are able to write about topics outside of their expertise, and can learn a new topic/industry and put together a well-written post.
- Is content marketing experience required or would someone who understands SEO, social media do? Or am I just looking for someone who is simply a great writer in a particular topic?
The answer to this question depends on whether or not someone in-house is managing your content strategy. If you have a content manager who will be able to optimize your posts for SEO and social media, then it might not be necessary for your writer to have skills in those areas. It’s always a plus when the writer has experience in content marketing, because it lowers the barrier to entry. The less time they have to spend researching a topic, the better. Conversely, if what I just wrote makes little sense to you, then you need a writer who is current with SEO trends and who knows how to leverage social media for your benefit.
- Am I looking for a writer/editor, or just someone with writing skills?
The answer here depends on whether your company has the in-house personnel to edit articles before publishing. With a strong editor in-house it’s less important that your writer is also skilled and experienced in editing. Additionally, if you expect your editor to add brand flare to articles then that job may be better suited for someone who writes more loosely than a writer/editor.
- Do I want to be a part of the writing process -- collaborating with the writer, providing them feedback during the writing process, brainstorming ideas -- or am I looking for someone who I can give a topic to and send on their way?
You have to decide how hands-on you want to be in the writing process. Of course, having the ability to send a topic and walk away is great. It allows you the freedom to focus on other things, but it does require a more skilled and niche based writer, which will also cost more. So, the answer to this question depends two things:
1) your budget
2) the writer’s skill.
After answering these questions, you should have a firm understanding of what type of writer will be the best fit for your organization. The downside of this process is that finding the right writer(s) can sometimes be like finding a needle in a haystack if your business niche is complex. The good news is there are all sorts of writers out there just waiting to create your content. With a clear picture of who you’re looking for, you’re better prepared to weed out undesirables and zero in on the real candidates.
If you’ve ever hired outside writers (or other creative professionals), please share your experiences in the comment section below. Are there any other questions that marketers or business owners should consider before finding outside assistance? Tell us what questions are missing from the list.