Marketers who have prioritized blogging are 13 times more likely to have a positive ROI.

HubSpot, 2014

Marketing is impossible without great content. Along the years, content marketing has become essential to develop an online presence, but it also became more difficult to master. It is no more about the quantity of content you produce but more about the quality of content you offer to your readers. And in a world where content marketing includes more and more skills such as content production, distribution, optimization, analytics and management, it makes sense to get some help.

That’s where the freelance writer comes in. If you don’t have experience in writing, it may be better to outsource this task and it can dramatically improve your content. By hiring a professional, you will provide a great, error-free, easy-to-read and focused content, you will impress your audience and have more time for other tasks you have been putting aside.

What are your content marketing needs ?

81% of B2B marketers use blogging as part of their content marketing strategy.

Content Marketing Institute, North America, 2015

To begin with, you must know what you are looking for. What do you need from your writer ? Detail your expectations to identify what type of writer you need for your project. Write down all you need to achieve your content marketing goal.

  • How many articles do you need ?
  • How much words per article ?
  • What style of writing would you like to see on your blog ?
  • Do your articles need a lot of research ?
  • In how much time do you need it to be done ?
  • Does your writer need to have experience with online tools (such as WordPress, SEO, HTML, image editing) ?

Those questions will help you create your ad and you won’t end up with people asking a lot of questions about the job or with applicants unavailable for the amount of work you need. These questions will also give you an idea of the cost of your project and you will be able to put together a budget.

Besides, at this stage, you can start thinking about details like how you are going to communicate with your collaborator (online tools) or how you are going to pay him (devise, method of payment).

Where to find a great content writer ?

Well, ANYWHERE IN THE WORLD. Thanks to the internet and all the collaboration tools you can find online, you can outsource your content marketing to any writer in the world.

But first, you should ask around you. You can find your best writers through referrals before posting any ad online. Post a message on Twitter or on Facebook and see if your professional contacts can connect you to a good writer. The Linkedin search tool may help you find writers who you are connected with to some degree, this will allow you to scope their profile too.

Another way to find a good writer is through the blogs you usually read and like. Check the bio of the writer whose articles you always like, he [or she] may be the freelance you’ve been looking for. But be careful, if you are looking on top level blogs, you should be aware of your budget.

There is also numbers of sites through which you can find your next collaborator. Take a look at this list of 10 good sites where you can find freelance writers.

Hire a freelance content writer with the right skills

writing-word-cloud

Obviously, your writer needs to know how to write : this means grammar, semantics, a good choice of words, language skills, spelling, punctuation, paragraphs organization… But he must also have others skills to produce great content for your project.

  • Curiosity / research : your writer should be curious and be able to do researches, to take the initiative to learn more on the subject he’s writing on. If your articles need a lot a researches you may want to find a writer who specializes in your niche. Anyway, a curious writer will produce content worth reading and your audience will really appreciate the effort.
  • Professionalism : it includes a good time management and the ability to deliver on budget. You can have the best writer but if he misses the deadline every time, he is not reliable and it may affect your own workflow and hurt your project.
  • Communication skills & good character : you should be able to communicate very easily with your new collaborator but his communication skills will help him communicate with your readers too. His character skills such as his honesty and his work ethic will show through his work.

Screen your applicants

Once you post your ad, you will have to start the screening process. First, you will receive resumes and cover letters which will tell you a lot about your applicants. The resumes will give you indications on their background, qualifications, skills, personal experiences, achievements… Here are some tips on evaluating a content writer’s resume.

Their resume might also contain references and website links where you can check their previous published work and the topics they are used to write on.
On the other hand, their cover letter will help you identify their style of writing and their language skills.

A common practice when hiring a writer is to test them through a writing assignment. Once you reduced your applicants to a small group, you can agree on a first paid article for each of them to help you determine which applicant will be your next collaborator. You can assign to each of them one article assignment with instructions on what you are expecting from them. This way, you will be able to evaluate their writing skills, their expertise in the topic as well as their ability to follow your instructions. You can also test them with a paid trial period during which you will be able to evaluate more skills like the respect of the deadlines.

Meet and get to know your applicants

After this screening process, you may find yourself still hesitating between a small group of applicants. If it is the case, you can organize a meeting through Skype to get to know them a little bit. You will get a better idea of their personality, their enthusiasm and their communication skills. Check if they understand your needs and discuss their price per article.

You hired a content writer, what’s next ?

Once you choose your new collaborator, the next step will be to monitor the results. You will quickly receive feedback from your audience and you will see, by analyzing the performance of your content, if your new writer produces good articles or if he is not a good match for your project. Also, remember that outsourcing your content production to a professional can dramatically change the results you will get. If you can afford it, put together a budget and remember that quality comes to a price. In the long-term, you will end up saving both time and money.


 

[Edit by Jice] As good post ideas are often shared among the same timeframe, we published this post and found out that Walter Chen (cofounder of IDoneThis) published a rather similar post on Inbound few days before : How to hire great content marketers.  So, that’s a great follow up if you want to get more tips for the screening phase.

Head of product @ Elokenz, I am in charge of product and design across print, desktop, web and mobile user experience optimization and features development. Currently based in Toulon, France.