Hiring a Content Writer - Where Do I Start?
by YOSS Community Writer, on August 1, 2019 at 12:25 PM
A content writer is typically classified as someone who creates content for websites. If you are looking for a content writer for your company, then you likely want someone to create articles and posts that will appeal to your website’s target audience. Let's look at what you need to know before you reach out to potential content writers, and then we'll explain where to go from there. But first, let's discuss why you may want to hire a content writer in the first place.
Using the Web
These days, businesses need websites like they need business cards. Websites provide customers with trust and basic contact information. However, websites can and should be much more than this.
A website (along with other online venues like social media) can attract potential customers who never knew your business existed. Advertising on the web is far cheaper than it is in traditional media. You can also get traffic to your site through organic search without any direct cost.
Regardless of your outreach, you need to have material on your website that people want to read. This means having an effective content team with one or more great content writers.
Before You Start
Even if you already have content writers on staff, there are many questions that you need to answer before you start this process.
What is the Scope of the Work?
There is a big difference between hiring for a single, limited project versus hiring for an ongoing campaign. For example, you may need content created for an entirely new website, which would be a short-term gig staffed by a freelance content writer.
On the other hand, long-term projects can be staffed by regular employees or freelancers. There are different aspects of these relationships, but one thing remains the same: you need someone who is dependable and easy to work with.
What Kind of Writing Do You Need?
There are many types of written content on the web. Most of the content on a website is different from the content on that same site's blog. General website content tends to be more formal and in-depth. Blog posts are usually more casual, topical, and even flashy.
But that's not the full extent of it. You may need to hire a content writer to put together long articles that explain a topic in great depth. On the other end, you could contract a content writer to fill your Twitter feed with sizzling hot takes on the latest industry news.
Under most circumstances, you will want a content writer with experience in your field. Everyone knows about writers who specialize in things like technology and fashion, but there are writers in every imaginable industry. If you sell office furniture, you can find writers who specialize in it.
Who is in Charge?
Content writers are usually self-motivated and goal-focused, but they can't create content in a vacuum. As discussed, you need to know what you want to be written. Whether short-term or ongoing, there must be a project vision and someone to implement it. You will also need some kind of editorial oversight to make sure quality remains high.
How Will You Measure Your Success?
More than other platforms, the web allows you to determine if you’re successful at drawing in visitors and converting them into customers. This process starts before a single word is written. Generally, keyword research is done to determine what potential visitors search online. Based on the results, articles and blog posts are created.
This all falls under the rubric of SEO. If your business already has someone who specializes in SEO, they should be tightly integrated with the content team. If your business doesn't have anyone in this role, someone will need to take on that responsibility.
Most content writers have experience with SEO and can probably help the team in this regard. But they aren't experts and shouldn't be expected to handle this aspect of your project.
What is the Budget?
Before you hire anyone, you need a budget for your entire project. As discussed, this will likely involve more than a content writer. In fact, the content writer may be the least expensive part of the project. According to Glassdoor, the average content writer salary is $48,729 per year. The distribution of salaries skews to the lower end, which is evident in PayScale’s reporting that the median salary is $44,570.
It’s important to know that writers can be much more expensive based on experience and the type of work they do. The best writers will never be cheap.
Finding Great Content Writers
Once you've decided exactly what you want a content writer to do and how they will integrate with your business, the hard work has been done. However, there is still more to do.
Write a Job Description
Job descriptions are just as important as they ever were. Other than simple elements like the job title and payment details, there are three important parts of a job description: overview, required skills, and responsibilities.
The overview explains what you will be expecting, such as what the project is, the kind of work to be done, and so on. The required skills list what the content writer will bring to the position, including writing and related experience, and knowledge of platforms and tools like WordPress. The responsibility section provides details of what the content writer will be doing.
Vetting Content Writers
Content writers typically have large portfolios of work to show to any prospective employers, so vetting their work is relatively easy. Unfortunately, there is much more to a great content writer than the writing. Here are some other important factors that can be assessed through references and interviews:
- Easy to work with
- Has great communication skills
- Deals well with editorial requests
- Is creative about content ideas
- Is a great researcher
- Has a serious but not rigid approach to SEO
Contacting Great Content Writers
YOSS offers the top 1 percent of talent throughout many professional fields. We do the vetting so you don't have to wade through a bunch of candidates who aren't qualified. With us, you can count on qualified candidates and focus on getting the right person for your business.
If you are ready to hire a content writer, schedule a call below to learn more about how YOSS can help.