So you’re ready to hire a writer? Awesome! However, finding a qualified writer who can accurately represent and portray the voice of your brand is no easy feat.
You have to make sure they understand the industry, and are knowledgeable about certain topics. But there are a few additional things you should consider before working with a new writer.
Below are the top 4 questions to ask before hiring a writer:
1. Is the writer a good fit for your company?
In order to determine whether a good writer is the perfect fit for your company, you more or less have to listen to your gut. If you don’t enjoy talking with them, how do you expect to have a good working relationship? Do they interact with your team well? Do they have similar interests and passions related to your industry?
Hiring someone with an array of writing skills is a plus, but if they don’t fit into the culture of your company they won’t understand what makes your brand tick. And not having that important component could lead to a lot of misunderstandings and frustrations in the future.
It’s a lot easier to teach someone simple grammar or editing techniques than to make them write in a particular voice. So your first checkmark should be to determine if they are a good fit for your company, and if they align with your goals.
So where can you find writers that will be a good fit for your brand? A good place to start is to look in-house or even locally. Local freelancers are especially great for this position, since they will already understand the local economy and will be well-versed in the goings on, as well as other small things (like upcoming events or cultural preferences).
2. What kind of writing samples do they offer?
You could ask your potential candidate to write up a post as a sample to see if you like their writing style and if they’re knowledgeable about the industry. Many writers are open to this, as long as it’s a paid opportunity. If you expect to work with a quality writer, make sure you treat them with respect and pay them for their work.
Additionally, you can request to see their portfolio. Many writers have a Pinterest board where they display their most recent interviews, articles, blog posts and other media accomplishments. This will give you access to their best work, so you can evaluate if they’re right for your company.
3. Do they know how to write for the web?
Writing for the web is totally different than writing for a professional publication. Long gone are the days of double spaces and proper grammar. The web is more laid back and relaxed.
People like to connect with other people, whether that’s through a brand or an individual, and they enjoy doing it with exciting imagery and photos. This means your writers need to understand how to write for the web, infuse their work with creativity and showcase their personality.
Of course, you want to be careful it doesn’t overshadow the brand itself, or take away from the company’s voice, but you don’t want robots writing for you who only publish boring stats and facts about the industry.
Additionally, the writer needs to be able to work with tight deadlines, quick publishing turnarounds, and terms like SEO. Writing for search engines shouldn’t be the main focus, but if you want your company to rank well online, a writer should at least understand the basics of this. Also, a traditional book can go through months of edits and tweaks, but an online blog or website often edits and publishes content daily. So the writer you hire needs to understand how writing for the web really works.
An excellent example of a brand who shows their expertise but has engaging writers, is Buffer. You could get lost in their blog for days, and although they share a large amount of facts about their industry, they do it in a way that’s magnetic for all content marketers.
4. Do their prices reflect value?
You get what you pay for! Like with many other things in life, price is often a determination of what kind of value you’re going to get. If something is cheap, you’re likely to get a cheap service or product. The same is true for a good writer. Their pricing strategy will likely reflect the kind of work they will produce, so don’t be afraid to invest a bit of money for quality work.
Anyone who’s researching your company and comes across the content on your site, will be able to recognize if you have excellent writers on your team, or if you were cheap and paid for content farms to produce the writing.
This can easily be interpreted as a reflection on how your organization does business in general, and you don’t want your customers thinking you always look for the cheapest route.
How to Hire a Good Writer
Finding a good writer to add to your content team doesn’t have to be difficult, if you can answer these simple questions. It helps eliminate any grey areas and ensure your brand becomes a leader within the industry.