Running a business in the digital age requires a huge amount of writing. There’s your website. Your blog. Newsletters. Social media posts. Sales copy. Advertisements. Guest posts. The list goes on. Who’s going to do all of that writing?
And there’s more. There’s keyword research, search engine optimization (SEO), editing, publishing, and distribution. Are you going to take 15 or 20 hours out of your week to do all of that? It seems unlikely. So what are you going to do?
It’s time to hire a content writer.
Why you should hire a writer
In short, because writing is hard.
High-quality content writing leads to better lead generation, more effective sales copy, and improved online visibility. Ads, brochures, and catalogs all benefit from a professional writer. Hiring a freelance writer to craft technical documentation, press releases, and marketing copy makes a big difference in how your customers see you.
Creating top-notch copy is extremely difficult. Many of our own blog posts take five or more hours to write, edit, and publish. Doing that on your own three times a week means 15 hours of your time is gone. That’s time that could be spent selling, making connections, or building your team.
Which is exactly why you should outsource content writing.
Even more goes into the content marketing process. Keyword research, strategizing, performing SEO, distributing your posts, and building links takes time and effort. Do you have time for all of that? And if you do, are you confident that you can create content that’s relevant, useful, and absolutely world-class in quality?
If not, it’s time to outsource writing to a professional.
What hiring a professional writer can do for your business
Publishing high-quality, useful information brings readers to your site, shows them the value of your product, and helps turn them into loyal customers. You offer something to them — valuable information — and they give back to you — by buying your product or service.
And you can actually measure how valuable that is. We wrote a detailed post on how we measure the ROI of our own content marketing so you can do the same.
Here’s a simple visual example of how it works. This is our blog traffic from the past year and a half:
As you can see, we’ve steadily been attracting more people to our site. Back in August 2015, a typical visitor spike might be 1,750 pageviews in a day. In January of 2017, we had a day with over 5,300 pageviews. We tripled our peak traffic. How?
By consistently producing valuable, useful content that our readers want. Articles on Mac time tracking apps, content marketing with podcasts, GPS tracker apps, and other topics. This is the content that our readers — members of our target market — appreciate. It takes a lot of time and effort, but it works. Which is why we hire freelance writers to help us out.
Where to find freelance writers
It’s pretty clear that you should outsource a writer. But where do you start? How do you even find content writers online? These 10 sites are great places to start:
- Hubstaff Talent. If you want to outsource content creation and not pay fees, Hubstaff Talent is for you. There are thousands of writers available, and it’s totally free.
- Upwork. Over a billion dollars of business is done every year on Upwork. With more 12 million freelancers, your fees give you access to an absolutely huge amount of talent.
- Freelancer. With over 23 million registered users, Freelancer is home to another massive pool of writers. Client fees are slightly higher than Upwork’s.
- Scripted. A focus on content marketing sets Scripted apart from other sources of freelance writers, but it also requires that you pay a monthly fee on top of your freelance payments.
- ProBlogger. If you need a blogger, this is a great place to look; you pay once to post your job, and then freelance bloggers get in touch.
- Blogging Pro. Much like ProBlogger, Blogging Pro is a gathering place for professional bloggers, and an ad on their job board will get you a variety of responses from bloggers.
- PeoplePerHour. In addition to searching for the article writers you want, you can also browse Hourlies, prepackaged deals like “Write an article on any topic (400 to 800 words) for $24.”
- Writer Access. Unlike most other marketplaces, every writer on Writer Access is US-based, making it good for anyone who wants to ensure that their writers are native English speakers.
- Textbroker. Instead of searching for a specific writer, you can submit your order to Textbroker, and they’ll find someone to write it for you.
- Craigslist. Many professionals frequently check the Gigs and Jobs sections of Craigslist, so posting there can be a great way to find a writer.
There are plenty of other places to outsource content writing, too.
One of the best ways you can go about it is to reach out to a writer on a blog that you admire. Even if the blog writer isn’t available for additional projects at the moment, they can probably refer you to someone who is.
Asking other members of your industry for recommendations and searching on social media are both great ways of finding writers as well.
How to hire a content writer
Now that you know where to find writers, it’s time to hire one. You might think that you just tell them what they need to do, they do it, and you pay. Unfortunately, it’s not that simple. Here are a few reasons why:
- There are a lot of terrible writers out there
- Not all writers are familiar with content marketing and SEO
- Many writers won’t have the style or tone you’re looking for
- Some writers are bad with communication and deadlines
Fortunately, if you go in with this knowledge, the process is much easier. Freelance marketplaces, like Hubstaff or Upwork, let you post your job and invite freelancers to express their interest. Writers then place a bid on the job or send you an explanation of why they’d be a good choice.
After that, it’s up to you to sort through a (potentially very large) number of applicants and cut the list down to a handful. You’ll need to look at their profiles, websites, and portfolios. And after that, it’s best to have them do a test project. This lets you see what sort of writing they can produce for you.
And then, finally, you can hire your writer.
All of this takes time, but getting the best writer for your business is worth the investment. Especially if you can establish a long-term relationship. Don’t assume that you’ll have a freelancer write one thing and be done — if you find someone who does great work, working with them regularly will be very valuable.
We have a lot of experience with freelancers, so we’ve put together this list of tips that will help you hire writers. And not just any writers, but the best ones out there. Here are five things to keep in mind when going through the process:
- Use multiple platforms and outreach strategies to reach writers. Many writers are present on multiple marketplaces, but if you stick to one platform, there’s a chance you’ll miss someone who would be perfect for the job.
- Be very clear in your instructions and expectations. Do you expect your writer to have a solid portfolio? Make sure you say that in your job ad. Are you looking for someone who can perform SEO and self-edit? Be upfront with that so they know.
- 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.
- Be specific in your requirements. Your job postings should be very specific, and include information on how to respond to the ad. Tell your writers to include three samples, or a link to their portfolio, or anything else to make sure they read the entire ad.
- Make sure to test your applicants. Doing a paid test piece of content or two is your best bet for really getting a feeling on whether a writer is going to be a good fit for your company. It takes time and money, but hiring the perfect writer for your team is priceless.
The writer who provides the highest-quality copy and can offer bonuses like research, SEO, and publishing is likely to be very expensive. Hiring a content writer isn’t going to be cheap, but it will save you a huge amount of time and money over doing it yourself (if you even could do it yourself).
Our best tips on hiring a great writer
We’ve hired a lot of writers as we’ve grown our company and our blog, so we have a lot of thoughts on what you should do to make sure you get a good one. If you’re going to outsource writing by hiring a content writing service, you’re placing a lot of faith in another person to create content that’s worthy of having your company name on it. And that means a lot.
- Writing quality is paramount. Don’t settle for good writing. You need phenomenal writing. Writing that will capture readers’ attention and get them interested in your company. Find the best writer you can, and pay them what they deserve. It’s absolutely worth it.
- Don’t be afraid to pay for quality. High-quality writers don’t come cheap. Sure, you can pay $50 for a 1,000-word article. But if the writer has poor English skills, isn’t good at following instructions, and is inexperienced, you’re going to have spend at least a couple hundred bucks’ worth of time editing the post before it can go out. Pay to have it done right the first time.
- Think of your readers first. Don’t choose topics and hire writers based on SEO. Before anything else, consider your readers and what information they’re going to find useful and helpful.
- Remember that content marketing isn’t just writing. There’s article formatting, editing, SEO, publishing, distribution, and more. If your writer isn’t well-versed in all of this, that’s okay. But someone has to do it — and that might mean hiring another freelancer.
It’s time to start hiring
After reading this article, you might be thinking that hiring a freelancer sounds like more trouble than it’s worth. But that couldn’t be further from the truth — outsourcing your content writing is crucial. Unless you have a big in-house team that’s dedicated to writing, editing, researching, optimizing, and publishing a large variety of content, it’s going to be the best option for your business.
We’ve built a successful blog by hiring writers, and you can too. It takes time and effort, but it’s more than worth it.
Have you hired writers for your website? How did you find them? What advice would you give to others looking to do the same? Share your thoughts and tips in the comments below.