Hiring content writers

How to Hire a Content Writer – A Simple Guide

B2B companies that post 11 times or more per month generate 3x the traffic of businesses that only blog one per month.

What kind of results are you currently getting from content on your website?

If it’s non-existent, you may need to hire a content writer.

Good writers like myself are experts on SEO, lead generation, and other marketing fields that help us create content that produces results.

Imagine opening up Google Analytics and how much your jaw would drop when you see the flood of new traffic coming in thanks to great content.

Add a basic funnel along with it, and you’re going to have customers naturally knocking on your door.

Doesn’t that sound like the dream?

Now that I have you riled up, let’s talk about how you can easily hire a writer yourself.

Step 1: Determine your content goals

Every business has different goals and KPIs.

That’s why the first step is determine what is important to your company, and ultimately what you want out of content.

Here are the main ones, and they will change how you approach the process.

Organic traffic

Writing a couple of short blog posts and publishing them twice per month isn’t going to cut it if you want to crush it in the SERPs.

Search engines are competitive, and Google’s algorithm is smarter than never these days.

This means that if you want to generate high amounts of organic traffic, you need to find a writer that’s experienced in on-page SEO and keyword research.

They will be able to conduct keyword analysis to find search terms that you can rank for, and attract relevant users.

For example, you wouldn’t want to target insurance related keywords if you’re a real estate company.

Additionally, they should understand best practices for on-page SEO like optimizing title tags, meta descriptions, keyword density, formatting, etc.

Revenue

A good content writer will easily be able to generate sales for your company.

They will intertwine your products or services with calls to action and other copywriting strategies that make users drool at the mouth.

For example, an experienced writer can mention a product in an article, but it doesn’t seem like a pitch because it’s so naturally implemented.

Too many businesses make blog posts into mini sales letters, and it never gets them the results they’re after.

That’s why you need to hire a copywriter. He or she will take care of these headaches for you, while bumping up your sales.

Leads

The third biggest reason that companies wish to produce content is for lead generation.

Paired with good SEO, articles that attract heaps of users from search engines can capture them at the same time for re-marketing.

This requires two things:

  • The writer needs lead gen experience to properly add calls to action, lead magnets, and other ways to capture users within content.
  • You need to have a lead generation funnel already in place for the writer to take advantage of. This can be as simple as a free e-book in exchange for a newsletter subscription.

Once you’ve determined your goals, you can move onto the next step.

Step 2: Decide what you want in a writer

Just like every business has a different goal, they will also have different needs in a writer.

Here are some traits to look for when you hire freelance writers online.

Industry experience

Having experience writing for an industry is huge.

It implies that they understand the consumers, trends, and products within it like the back of their hand.

This results in an easier writing process for both parties, and improved results for your business.

However, it’s a double edged sword.

I wouldn’t immediately disqualify a writer if they don’t have much or any experience in your market.

For example, while I mostly focus on B2B niches, I’ve written for health, blockchain, and other industries that I knew little about.

But, I have excellent research skills. I collect market reports, reviews, testimonials, competitor’s websites, and other references.

I then study these materials inside and out until I am an expert on the business.

That’s what any experienced writer will do, so keep that in mind while hiring.

Marketing skills

Content needs to do something.

Not just sit there on your website and collect dust.

Unfortunately, so many companies hire writers that don’t know jack all about SEO, CRO, and other important marketing fields.

What’s the point?

Without these things, content doesn’t do anything.

That’s why I highly suggest looking for real world marketing skills in writers that you’re hiring.

These include:

  • Search engine optimization
  • Email marketing
  • Social media marketing
  • Conversion rate optimization
  • Lead generation
  • User experience

A good attitude

I don’t know about you, but I refuse to work with anybody that has a bad attitude.

No thank you.

Money is great, but it’s not worth your happiness and all of the headaches that come with a negative client or writer.

That’s why you should seriously consider how the writer’s personality and attitude align with your own values.

Would they be fun and easy to work with?

Usually you can gauge this after a single phone call.

However, I would also recommend having a trial period in place where they write a single piece of content for you.

This allows you to see if you work well together.

Step 3: Ways to begin hiring content writers

Now for the fun part: hiring!

There are many different approaches you can take to finding writers for your business, and it’s best to use a variety to maximize candidates.

Here are some of the most popular ways to do so.

ProBlogger and other freelance writing job boards

There are many job boards on the internet that are completely dedicated to freelance writing and will help you find blog writers for hire.

I suggest that you read my previous content on hiring freelancers and managing them for further information on this topic:

Many of these job boards enable you to create a job listing for free or a reasonable price like ProBlogger.

You can create a listing by clicking “Post a job” under the jobs section.

ProBlogger will require you to set up a company account, and afterwards you can create the job posting, beginning with the type of position.

Scroll down and enter a title and description for the content writing job.

The title should be as descriptive as possible, elaborating on the niche and exact role.

The description is where you can go into great detail about requirements, duties, and other important information for applicants.

Under “Company Information,” enter the type of business you operate, the name, URL, and contact email.

The last step is to choose the listing type, add application instructions, and preview the posting before paying.

Don’t be surprised if you get hundreds of applicants, as it isn’t uncommon for that to happen.

I also suggest checking out the following job boards to create more listings:

Shortlist the writers that stand out from the crowd, and follow the next steps I’ve laid out ahead for the best results.

Step 4: Ask the right questions

Here are some important questions to ask writers, which allow you to gauge their skill and expertise.

How long have you been writing?

Perhaps the simplest and most basic question is asking how long they’ve been a writer.

Writers that have been honing their craft for years will have better work practices, research skills, and overall will be easier to manage.

However, this isn’t to say that a new talented writer should be disregarded.

Newer writers may be hidden gems, offering a great attitude and willingness to do well.

What marketing skills do you have?

As I mentioned earlier, it isn’t enough to just be great at writing.

You’re a business owner, and you want results.

That means writers need to have fundamental marketing skills alongside writing potential.

Otherwise, their writing won’t achieve anything.

Content needs to be optimized for search engines, integrate lead generation tactics, and align with your brand’s message.

Dig deep into the writer’s marketing knowledge to see if they have refined any of these skills.

As I mentioned previously, I would look for expertise in the following fields or similar:

  1. Lead generation
  2. Search engine optimization
  3. Conversion rate optimization
  4. Branding
  5. Social media marketing
  6. Email marketing
  7. Content marketing

What results have you generated for your previous clients?

If applicants have improved revenue, leads, or other notable KPIs for previous clients they’ve written for, then they may be worth your while.

This implies that they can replicate those same outcomes for your business, especially if it’s in the same niche.

I recommend asking how they planned to achieve these things to ensure that it wasn’t luck or randomness.

Asking this will also allow you to dig deeper into their process, which is the next question.

What’s your writing process?

Writing good content takes time, organization, and skill.

Seasoned writers will have a thorough process, templates, and documents they use to speed up the efficiency of every project.

The sign of an experienced writer is them not having any clear process when working on content.

For example, my content writing process looks a little something like this:

  • I begin by researching topics that are relevant to the client’s buyers persona, so it only attracts high quality users that can convert to leads. I’ll use tools like BuzzSumo, Ahrefs, while also digging into competitors and doing interviews if needed.
  • I then research keywords I can center the content around to drive organic traffic.
  • The actual writing process starts with creating a skeleton, fleshing out the major points and sub-points, and organizing references and resources that I’d like to use — those might be case studies, stats, and different data I find.
  • After the draft is done, I’m editing, proofreading, and ensuring that the on-page SEO is good before handing it off to the client.

Once you have found the perfect writer, you need a proper on-boarding plan to keep the process smooth as silk.

What’s your turnaround time?

As a writer for hire, I pride myself on having a fast and reasonable turnaround time. I’m writing copy and content for your business, so I don’t want to leave you hanging or delay your content calendar, for example.

That’s why I always ask writers I personally hire what they’re turnaround time is for different projects.

This allows me to guage their workflow and how easy it would be to work with them overall.

How many revisions do you offer?

Let’s be real.

Very seldom will you receive a piece of copy or content and it’s perfect when you hire article writers.

Not to brag, but I do it all of the time with my clients 😉

However, there will be times where some edits and changes need to be made.

That’s why another question that’s good to ask freelance writers is the number of revisions they offer and what extra edits cost.

I personally offer unlimited revisions because I rarely go beyond a single round of revisions but some writers will charge you for more, so keep in that mind.

Step 5: Have an on-boarding plan

You’ve gone through a couple hundred applicants.

You did the interviews and you found the one.

What’s next?

Onboarding them.

Here are the steps you need to take to smoothly onboard new writers into your company.

Have a trial period to test the waters

I personally love doing a trial period with my clients, and you should do them with your writers, too.

A trial period is a week or so in which you work together without any long term commitment.

This ensures that you work well together and enjoy their writing process.

During this trial period you might require the writer to produce a certain amount of content, work with your team, and act as if they had a permanent position.

This prevents you from hiring someone, and finding out later they are a pain to work with or you don’t align well.

Have a contract in place

A contract protects both parties.

I recommend using a tool like DocHub to create, sign, and send contracts over email.

Sign up for a free account from their homepage to begin.

The dashboard displays recent contracts, activity, and you can create a new document by selecting “New.”

Enter in the details of the contract, and add areas for signatures. You can assign an email to one of the signature slots, and send it out after you’re finished.

Make sure to include sections like:

  • Scope of work: How much content does the writer have to produce every month? Mention word count, turnaround time, and other details.
  • Payment: How much are you paying the writer for this project? How will the invoice be paid and how often?
  • Legal: What legal measures will be taken if either party doesn’t follow the rules laid out in the contract?

Here are some good resources on writing contracts:

Final thoughts on hiring content writers

Hiring a content writer can be a lengthy and complex process at times.

But, there are steps you can take to make the process smooth as a baby’s bottom.

The first step is to determine what your goal is with content. Are you trying to generate revenue? organic traffic? leads?

Secondly, decide what you’re looking for in a writer. This includes industry experience, certain skills, and personality traits.

Then you need to use job boards like ProBlogger to begin receiving applicants.

Ask questions like how long they’ve been writing, what results they’ve created for other clients, and why they’re the best candidate.

From there, it’s all about having a good on-boarding process, which consists of a solid contract and trial period.

So, what are you waiting for? Go hire your first writer!

Carmine
Hey! My name is Carmine and I've written for Neil Patel, GoDaddy, Smart Insights, and other popular publications. Reach out to me at any time if you need copywriting services.