3 Ways To Hire The Right Content Writer For Your Brand
Not all websites are the same, but the best ones do have one thing in common. The secret to a findable and engaging website is the person who’s creating the content.
Content writers worth their salt are more than wordsmiths with a decent grasp of English grammar. There’s a lot riding on their ability to deliver exceptional work. After all, your company’s success or failure relies heavily on your brand’s website content.
Anyone can plop relevant keywords onto a webpage or into a blog post. But how meaningful will the content be to your customers and prospects? Therein lies the difference between a content writer and the right content writer.
Here are three ways to hire the best one for your brand.
1. Actually Check Out Their Writing
Verifying past work and checking references seem like standard operating procedure when making any hire, right? Surprisingly, a lot of companies do a sloppy job with this process or skip it altogether. That’s a shame considering it’s designed to ensure they ask the right person to join their brand.
Don’t fall for a shiny résumé featuring a list of academic degrees and household-name clients. Although those can be impressive, they don’t answer the important question: “Can you deliver exceptional content consistently for our brand?”
Ask prospects to provide references and links to relevant content work — and their website, if they have one. Then take a deep dive into what they’ve written to assess their writing style. Ask and answer some key questions, such as:
- Is it high-quality work (proper spelling, grammar, etc.)?
- Is the quality consistent across pieces?
- Is it engaging?
- Is it authentic?
- Is it relevant to the brand they created it for?
- Is their style versatile and adaptable to our brand?
- Are they curious and passionate about what they do?
Recognize that it can be difficult for a content writer to provide proof of authorship. Many produce thousands of words a day for a variety of clients without attribution. Checking with their editors will both verify that they wrote it and expose potential client conflicts with your brand.
When searching for the right content writer for your website, the proof is in the pudding. Just remember that the pudding isn’t found on the paper of their résumé but in their words on the screen.
2. Make Sure They Can Commit
The best content writers are extremely busy. It’s important that you fully assess the amount of time you will want from them. Then make sure the person you hire can commit the hours necessary.
As with any new hire, there will be a learning curve when a writer begins creating content for your brand. They will need to learn about the brand, existing marketing strategies, customer demographics, and company goals.
Your writer will shape the voice of your brand in concert with the rest of the company. It’s vital that you, too, commit the time and resources necessary to flatten the learning curve. A proficient content writer will be a quick study. If they aren’t, they might have misjudged their availability.
Deadlines should always be open to discussion, but good content writers will meet the ones agreed to. They understand that a missed deadline can push an entire marketing plan off track. You don’t want to have to reschedule a product launch after the announcement has been made just because your website content isn’t ready to roll.
Any writer you hire should also be committed to your budget. Discussions about compensation should occur prior to the hire, not a month later. Once you both agree to terms, team players stick to them.
Creating high-quality content takes time, and anyone you hire to tackle yours should give it the time and energy your brand deserves. Beware the signs of commitment issues and avoid those writers. There are more fish in the sea.
3. Hold Out for the Total Package
To understand this requirement, you first need to understand the difference between a copywriter and a content writer. In simplest terms, copywriters persuade people to buy things, while content writers engage and educate them.
Let me give you an analogy. The copywriter is the carnival barker, asking you to step right up and buy a ticket to see the tightrope walker. The content writer is the tightrope walker whose task is to entertain and delight you.
This doesn’t mean content writers aren’t producing sales for your brand. They’re simply doing it in a less overt way. They’re helping people find your website, showing and telling them stories about experiencing the brand, and holding their attention for a while.
A good content writer must also be a strategic thinker. How else do you use keywords and other SEO strategies to raise website rank while spinning a good yarn? How else do you educate people about using your product without sounding like the folks in IT?
Great content writers understand how to create compelling content that meshes with your brand. At the same time, they know how to stay in step with search engine algorithms and get your site noticed. It takes both to make your brand stand out.
Hiring a content writer who’s both storyteller and strategist isn’t always easy. But your website won’t be great unless your writer is both. So don’t hire anyone who can’t deliver the total package.
To find the right website content writer, look for consistent high-quality work congruent with the brand and its audience. Ask for the commitment to time and budget your brand deserves. Then watch your website go from drab to fab when the right pro knows how to choose all the right words.