Whether your business is in a growth, startup or mature phase, you will most likely have to rely on digital and content marketing for generating leads and building a solid brand. Impactful content will play a big role in this journey and will determine the success of your efforts. Website and blog content, especially, are crucial in drawing the attention of your target customers and building connections.
Managing your business and also creating content for the website and blog, all by yourself, is not easy. As your responsibilities increase, it becomes necessary to hire content writers to share the load. That’s why 84% of B2B marketers prefer to outsource their content creation activities.
It is important to find content writers who can understand your content goals and write in a voice that represents your brand well. Equally important is building a content strategy and creating clear guidelines of your content requirement so that the writers have clear direction on what to deliver. Working with professional content writers or agencies can ensure that your brand identity and value are strongly visible in everything they create.
Here’s how to hire a content writer for your blog or website in 5 easy steps:
Step 1: Set clear goals for your website or blog content – Understand what your content requirements are and how a content writer can help.
Step 2: Set a budget – Plan ahead for the expenses of hiring a content writer.
Step 3: Understand your options – Choose between in-house writers, freelance content writers, content agencies or hybrid models.
Step 4: Start with a Trial and Gradually Ramp Up – Get to know how your hired content writers or agencies work before assigning larger projects.
Step 5: Reward great writers and invest in relationship – Acknowledgement and appreciation keeps your content writers motivated
Step 1: Set clear goals for your website or blog content
Before you venture out to find a content writer, you must have a clear idea of what your business needs in terms of content. You need to set goals both for yourself and your writers.
Your content goals would be different for a website and a blog, as they serve exclusive purposes and each requires a different approach.
For a website, you need content that is succinct and to the point. Your website is like the online identity of your business. It has to convey your business’s selling points through the content it carries.
So, your website content goals would generally include:
- Comprehensive writing
- Clear communication of relevant information
- Ability to connect with the audience in very little time
- Focusing on the benefits rather than just the features of your product, and so on.
With a website copy, you have to be able to win over your audience’s interest and trust in very few words.
Though a blog is also a crucial marketing tool, the purpose of a blog is mostly to educate, inform or entertain the audience. So, a blog post cannot be a direct sales pitch.
Your content goals, in this case, would be:
- Generating blog topic ideas that resonate with your audience
- Creating well-researched, informative and engaging pieces
- Good storytelling
- Addressing audience’s pain points
- Answering relevant questions
- Showing authority in your niche, among others.
Having clear content goals will help you decide on what kind of content writers would meet these requirements.
State your content goals in the creative brief
Setting clear content goals also helps you set clear guidelines for the content writers, telling them precisely what you need. The creative brief that you’ll share will help the writers understand the purpose of the content they’re creating. So, make sure to draft a concise but effective brief that clearly communicates your goals and what you expect from the content writer.
A good creative brief should be:
- Short – A quick read is always better to keep the reader’s attention focused, ensuring they don’t skip the details.
- Accurate – It should be able to direct the content writer to the areas of importance.
- Goal-oriented – It should tell the content writer what they ultimately need to achieve.
- Comprehensive – It should cover everything a writer needs to know before starting. The tone of voice to use, the writing style guide, everything must be briefly but precisely mentioned.
Step 2: Set a budget
Like all other business activities, you should plan for the expenses involved before you hire a content writer. So, before you explore your options, it is essential to set a budget for your content writing projects.
To arrive at a more or less accurate budget, you have to fix a few things. For example, how frequently do you need content written for your business? How well-researched should the content be? Are your deadlines short or negotiable? All of these factors will contribute to the cost.
Say, a one-time project can be handled by a freelance writer who charges per-job or per-hour. In this case, the length of your content, the amount of research required, and the timeline generally determines how much you pay.
For a long-term requirement, you may need either an in-house writer (on your payroll) or a reliable content writing service, for a consistent output. Your budget will then be determined by the skills/experience of the hired writer or types of services you opt for at the agency.
Keeping all of these factors in mind and prioritizing as per your needs, you can settle on a budget that suits you. You can start with a small budget initially and go on to invest more as the content marketing campaigns begin to pay off.
Step 3: Understand your options
With the budget taken care of, you can now go ahead and see what the market has to offer. Here are some of the options you can consider.
Hiring an in-house content writer is adding another employee on your payroll. So they are generally more suited for bigger businesses that can afford another full-time employee, offering all the associated perks and benefits.
Also, if you hire a content writer on a full-time commitment, you have to make good use of their services. Companies that need to create and publish content with high involvement from other team members and stakeholders can gain more from hiring an in-house writer.
In-house content writers can give you consistent quality if trained well. They are always available for discussions and brainstorming, and have more accountability, being a part of your company.
Here are a few pros and cons to consider when hiring in-house writers.
- Always available for discussions and updates
- Better understanding of your company’s message and vision
- Consistency in quality
- Salary plus benefits cost more than the other available options
- Require training and orientation to understand the business and the industry
- Require someone to manage the new employee
- Access to a limited skillset
If you do think an in-house content writer is what you need, then make sure you’re investing right. Make the roles and responsibilities of the job clear to the applicants. Test their skills through an elaborate hiring process and ask for samples of past work. Also, it is advisable to ask for referrals from previous employers or clients who can assert that the applicant is fit for the job.
Freelance content writers
The second option to consider is hiring freelancers or independent contractors. Freelance content writers usually take up individual projects on a pay-per-job or pay-per-hour basis. You can approach a freelancer directly on social forums or register on the many available freelance platforms and post your jobs there. Freelancers will pick a job based on their abilities and availability.
Hiring freelance content writers can be much cheaper than an in-house writer. With a freelancer, there is no question of providing added benefits or training them for the job. They work independently, and you only pay for what they deliver. Freelancers may be a good option if you are just starting out and want to test the waters with one or two small content pieces. If you do find a reliable, skilled freelance writer, this will be a win-win for you.
The problem here is finding good freelancers who can assure quality and stick to deadlines. Working with someone you’ve never met or have no command over makes it a little tricky, particularly if the person on the other side is not professional enough. You have nothing to hold them accountable for.
The pros and cons, if you plan to hire freelance writers, are:
- Access to a much wider talent pool
- Easier on your budget
- No additional commitments (health benefits or severance packages)
- Finding the right person for the job may take time
- You have minimal command over an individual contractor
- Everyone may not be equally professional
- Limited interaction for feedback or discussions
- You may be left stranded in case the freelancer decides to leave the project (which often happens and is the biggest pain point of this option)
Content writing services and agencies
If you want to take the burden off your shoulders, you can choose to outsource your content creation work to a content writing company. They have their own teams of professional content writers who handle huge volumes of writing work from various industries regularly. Being professional content writing agencies, they usually know their way around content marketing and can deliver what your business needs.
Outsourcing your work to content writing companies can be cheaper than hiring an in-house writer, but it may be costlier than hiring a freelancer. Most agencies tend to be more reliable for long-term associations, as they thrive on customers’ goodwill.
- Better knowledge of content marketing and current market trends
- Cheaper than hiring full-time writers
- Access to a variety of quality writers and writing styles
- May not be fit for highly specific domains
- Changing a project mid-way may be difficult when working with an agency, so you have to be doubly sure about your requirements.
- More expensive than freelancers
If you want to enjoy the best of both worlds, that is working with a reliable agency and skilled freelancers at affordable costs, you can choose a hybrid model – like Narrato. Narrato is a one of a kind content writing service that offers both the dependability of a content writing agency and the flexibility of working with freelancers.
Unlike other freelance writing platforms where you post your projects for bidding by interested writers, in a hybrid model like Narrato, your work doesn’t have to keep waiting. The smart algorithm auto-matches your project to the most skilled and best-suited freelance writers on the platform. You can also ask for multiple revisions until you’re satisfied or even reject the work if it doesn’t meet your expectations.
- Fast turnaround
- Unlimited revisions
- Affordable pricing
- Giving a detailed and precise creative brief for the writers is a must to avoid back and forth or rejections at your end.
If a pocket-friendly, flexible and guaranteed quality content writing service is what your business needs, the hybrid model is perfect for you.
Step 4: Start with a Trial and Gradually Ramp Up
It is always advisable to first ask for a trial and see if the option you chose works for you.
For an in-house writer, you would already have an interview process in place. If you choose to work with a freelancer, test their skills with a few small projects at first and see if their tone and style match your business’s voice. Since these are pay-per-job assignments, you have no commitments and can always try someone else if you don’t like the output.
With content agencies too, you will most likely get a free trial or a discounted price for a short period or a limited number of jobs. If not, you can always ask for a trial. Use these trials to ensure the agency delivers what they promise. See if they stick to deadlines, entertain your requests, and offer customer support. Because once you have made a deal, turning back on it may prove to be costly.
With a content writing service like Narrato, you can begin by placing small orders, and identify the writers you like most. Marking these writers as preferred will allow you to build a virtual team of highly qualified writers that you can rely on for all your future projects. With Narrato, you also have the option to initiate a small article trial by paying only $1.
Once you have enough confidence in the service you chose, you can then gradually increase the volume of work. You can also improve the quality of work you receive by providing constructive feedback or adding more in-depth advice to your existing guidelines.
Step 5: Reward great writers and invest in relationship
Lastly, to keep the morale of your writers high and keep them motivated to produce great quality content, it is essential to acknowledge their efforts. Whether you work with an in-house writer, a freelancer or an agency, rewarding your associates for good work and investing in long-standing relationships is good for your business.
Here’s what you can do.
- Pay your best writers well, in line with the industry standards.
- Offer incentives when a writer produces an excellent piece of content that brings you good conversions.
- Promote your writers or partnering agencies on different platforms whenever you can.
- Offer to write a good recommendation, a praising review or give good ratings on their site or freelance platforms.
- Refer them to your friends and professional network.
- Give them the first preference when it comes to good quality, high paying jobs.
- And last, but not the least, appreciate good work any and every time you can.
These are some gestures that can make your writers or writing agencies feel appreciated and keep the good work coming in.
Your image as a business or a brand depends mostly on the quality of content you publish. And the quality of content depends on the decisions you make when you hire content writers. Understand what your business needs at the moment, what would bring the highest content ROI, and choose wisely.