Hiring content writers: how to get the best talent to boost content marketing

Running a business these days requires a lot of writing. That’s why a survey conducted by Statista shows that 81% of marketing professionals outsource content writing.

The content includes website copy, blog posts, email newsletters, social media posts, ads, guest posts, and more. So of course, you’ll need to find someone to create all this material.

And if you haven’t done so already, it’s time to hire a content writer. In this post, we’ll talk at length about finding and hiring a freelance writer for your business.

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    Why hire a content writer?

    If you are serious about growing your business, especially online, it’s not possible without great content. In a recent Semrush report, 97% of businesses around the globe said that content forms an important part of their overall marketing strategy.

    97% of Semrush’s survey respondents use content marketing in their marketing strategy

    Image Source: Semrush

    Hiring content writers to produce high-quality content writing can lead to better lead generation, improved sales, and strong online visibility. Let’s dig deeper into the benefits of hiring freelance writers.

    Get better content quality

    Starting a blog is easy, but content writing is not. We have written and edited content for hundreds of businesses in several niches, and it’s hard work.

    Let’s face it. Many people suck at writing, let alone content writing for the web, which brings in a whole lot of new complexities to handle.

    According to Kapost, a content team is increasingly responsible for not just simply writing and editing but also the strategy and operations behind the content.

    Main qualities to look for in content marketers.

    Image Source: Upland

    Are you sure that you can write content that’s relevant, useful, and optimized for the web? If not, it’s time to hire a professional writer.

    Save your time

    Creating top-notch content takes time and patience. In fact, each of our blog posts has taken six or more hours to write, edit, optimize, and publish. Doing that on your own even once a week means 24 hours of your time every month is gone.

    As per a study by Orbit Media, the time spent per post is increasing on an annual basis. And bloggers spent 67% more time on a single post in 2021 than in 2014.

    Average time taken by bloggers to write a blog post

    Image Source: Orbit Media

    That’s not all. Even more time is needed to conduct other activities such as keyword research, content distribution, and link building. This is time that you could have spent on other important business operations or with your loved ones. That is why hiring a content writer is a good choice.

    Content fuels SEO and traffic

    Great content is not like a short-term marketing campaign. The impact of content marketing is everlasting.

    When you hire a professional writer who knows his craft well, you get consistent content to bring in more potential customers to your website. As long as people keep finding it through search engines, it’ll keep bringing steady traffic to your website for years.

    Increase leads and sales

    While SEO brings more visitors to your website, you need additional content to turn them into leads and eventually sales. 64% of most successful B2B content marketers use content marketing to generate sales/revenue.

    The purchase of any product or service starts with a problem. First, your prospects recognize the problem (awareness stage). Then they research and evaluate their options to solve the problem (consideration stage). And finally, they make a decision to buy a product or service (decision stage).

    Stages of the customer journey you need to create content for

    To influence your prospects through all these stages, you need great content to help them make an informed decision and build trust. And that’s where hiring a content writer or team of writers is essential.

    Where to find content writers for hire?

    It’s pretty clear that you should hire a writer. But where do you start? How do you even find content writers online?

    Finding a content writer is like looking for a needle in a haystack. There are thousands of them. But very few are actually good.

    It’s not entirely their fault though. Because most people are trying to find the cheapest content writers. Not the best content writer who can actually make a difference in their business.

    But if you’re willing to invest properly in content creation, there are tons of platforms that make it easier for brands to hire a professional writer.

    Hubstaff Talent: This platform has thousands of content writers. And the best part is you can post your job for free.

    Hubstaff Talent’s homepage to hire a content writer

    Upwork: This is the most popular freelance marketplace. And it claims access to over 12 million freelancers.

    Freelancer: Closely behind Upwork is Freelancer. Client fees may be slightly higher than Upwork’s.

    Scripted: What makes scripted stand out is a focus on content marketing. But you’re also required to pay a fixed monthly payment on top of what you pay the writers.

    Scripted’s homepage to hire content writers

    ProBlogger: This is a fantastic place for hiring freelance writers. There’s a one-time payment to post a single job, and freelance bloggers can apply for your opportunity.

    Blogging Pro: Similar to ProBlogger, Blogging Pro is a good place to find and hire a professional writer.

    PeoplePerHour: This is a marketplace to hire a writer similar to Upwork and Freelancer.

    PeoplePerHour’s homepage will let you hire a content writer on an hourly basis

    Writer Access: Writer Access accepts only US-based writers. So if you want to hire writers for content who are native English speakers, this platform might work well for you.

    Textbroker: Textbroker differs from other sites as in you’re finding a writer, but ordering content. When you submit your order, the platform will find a writer for you.

    Homepage of Textbroker, a website for finding and hiring content writers

    Craigslist: If you’re looking for someone local, you can check your area’s classifieds on platforms like Craigslist.

    Another great way is to reach out to a blogger you admire, or ask your network for referrals and recommendations.

    Hiring a content writer

    Once you find a content writer, you might think that hiring is a no-brainer. You can just tell them what to do, they do it, and you pay for the work. Unfortunately, it’s not that simple. Here’s why:

    • There are many bad writers out there
    • Many writers are not well-versed with content marketing and SEO
    • Many may not follow the style or tone you want
    • A lot of them are unreliable in terms of communication and deadlines

    So you’ll need to carry out some due diligence to shortlist the ones you can hire. Luckily, we have some experience in this area. So if you’re wondering what skills you should look for when hiring content writers, or how to evaluate the people who apply to write for you, keep reading.

    Know what you want

    Before you start considering content writers, be ready with clear instructions, skills, and expectations. For example, if you want to hire content writers with solid portfolios, or who can optimize content for SEO, make sure to state that in your job post.

    Skills every content writer should possess

    Image Source: Zippia

    Do your research

    Look at writers’ portfolios and references. See if they’re present on other sites in your field. If they don’t have a record of great writing in the past, hire them with caution — or look elsewhere.

    Test them with a small assignment

    Before you hire a content writer to hand over the reins of your entire writing project, test out the experience of working with the writer. Conducting a paid test can help you see whether a writer is going to be a good fit.

    For instance, give them a topic to write about in a blog post. Or a writing task like this one:

    Nowadays, people are able to use the internet to do an increasing number of tasks. Is this a positive or negative development?

    Give reasons for your answer and include any relevant examples from your own knowledge or experience. Write at least 250 words.

    A short task can reveal a lot about a writer’s competence, work ethic, and knowledge in your industry. Also, share specific guidelines to see whether they have the ability to follow the instructions provided.

    I know it seems obvious but I have seen so many writers set in their own way of doing things that they are unable to modify their work based on the brand they are writing for.

    Check for reliability

    Content creation requires intense organization. There are keywords, topics, and most importantly: deadlines. You’ll want to know whether your writer has excellent time management skills and can deliver work on time.

    When a writer promises that they are going to do a specific task within a certain time, you need to know that they can do exactly that.

    Skilled writers will have a clear strategy to ensure they don’t miss deadlines. The idea is to hire a writer you can trust to get things done on time.

    Writing quality is paramount

    If you need writing that captures readers’ attention and gets them interested in your business, you should find the best writer you can. And that means being ready to pay for quality.

    Content quantity versus content quality with examples

    Image Source: Scoop.it

    Of course, you can pay $50 for a 1000-word article. But you’ll end up hiring content writers that deliver shoddy work. So you’ll have to spend your own time editing and fixing their work.

    Working with content writers

    When hiring freelance writers, you’re placing a lot of faith in someone else to create content that represents your brand. So how you bring writers on board and manage them is crucial. Keep the following best practices in mind.

    Have a content strategy

    Before you hire a content writer, you must have a documented content strategy. A plan will help you decide the type and number of content writers you need to hire. And it will also help the writers understand your vision.

    As mentioned in our guide to content strategy:

    “A content strategy is a brand’s high-level plan for producing, promoting, and managing content.”

    A content strategy will act as a blueprint for writers to understand what type of content you need, and the target audience they’re writing for.

    Building blocks of a documented content strategy

    Image Source: Content Company

    Prepare content briefs

    If you and the writer are not on the same page about how a piece of content is to be written, you’ll end up wasting a lot of time in feedback and revisions. That’s where content briefs come in.

    As noted in our guide to content briefs:

    A content writing brief is the document that provides the necessary direction and context for writing a single, specific piece of content. It tells everyone how the said piece is to be written and delivered.

    Smemark’s content brief to write content

    So when assigning a piece to one of your hired writers, make sure to state essential information like overall goals, subject, keywords, the word count, content structure, tone of voice, and the target audience.

    Final thoughts on hiring content writers

    Bad content writers will certainly damage the reputation of your business. Finding and successfully hiring freelance writers is a process that should be taken seriously.

    You need to do your research, and be specific with your requirements. Hiring a content writer isn’t cheap, but it can save you a lot of time and money in the long run. It’s worth every penny, especially if you can build a long-term relationship.

    Did we miss anything? Did you try these steps to hire a content writer? Do you have any questions or comments on how to hire writers for content? Share your thoughts below in the comments section.

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    Hi, I'm Hitesh Sahni

    My team & I help brands with superior content marketing services, tools, and insights to boost traffic and lead generation.

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