It’s no secret that great content can significantly impact your SEO rankings, as well-written copy is more likely to get hits, comments, links and kudos. If you lack the time or desire to create this kind of content on your own, then you’ll need to consider hiring a freelance writer to do it for you.
So how do you find the great ones? And how do you know when you’ve got a great writer working for you, versus a so-so writer who struggles to fulfill your content requests? Follow the five steps below, and you’ll be well on your way to finding a long-term writer (or a few) who not only creates great content, but also contributes professionalism, reliability and timeliness to your working relationship.
The Five Steps to Finding a Great Writer
- Start with an ad. Freelance portals such as eLance.com are a great way to connect with providers securely, in an environment where there are some checks and balances for both the provider and you, the buyer. Simply post an ad describing your needs, and wait for the responses to flood in. On eLance, users can bid on your project, and you have the freedom to choose the writer who meets your budget and needs.
- Ask for writing samples. These samples will give you an idea of the writer’s tone and style, even if the samples are not specifically relevant to the topics for which you desire content. If you like the writer’s style and think you might need a better idea of how he or she would write about your topics, administer a writing test. Give the writer a topic and explain your editorial guidelines, and ask the writer to submit a brief writing sample.
- Don’t let price be your only driver. Quality work is key to generating the kind of SEO response you desire with your articles. If your writer produces stellar content, then your return on investment could be great; in contrast, subpar content will not generate the positive responsesor sales you need. While you don’t necessarily need to hire the most expensive writer, look for someone who is willing to work within your budget that you’ve set aside for writing projects.
- Start small. If you like the writing sample submitted, offer the writer one initial project to get a feel for the kind of work he or she will produce for you, whether it’s submitted by your deadline, and how the writer interacts and communicates with you throughout the project. Be clear about your expectations and deadlines, outlining them in writing. Some employers like to create a contract that both parties can sign, specifying terms and conditions for the work. Take note of how the first project unfolds: Does the writer communicate with you about any questions that arise during the writing process? Does he or she alert you of potential delays? The process should feel smooth and seamless, with a desire on the freelancer’s part to fulfill your project requests, deadlines and requested revisions.
- Follow up. Offer constructive feedback after the initial project, whether positive or negative. That way, your next project will go even more smoothly. If you truly don’t feel the writer is a good fit for your business, then let him or her know that, but keep in mind that it often takes a few tries before a writer fully understands your goals, audience and style. Work with writers who show good potential even if the first project wasn’t perfect – bearing in mind that perfection isn’t the goal. Rather, you want a writer who will share a unique perspective and voice, not simply regurgitate the information that’s in your own head.
With a little effort and patience, you can develop long-term, professional relationships with great writers who will gladly take on work from you any chance they get. Because they have the freedom to work with whomever they choose, great writers are worth snagging-before they go off and write great content for your competitors.
About the author:
Hannah Hamilton runs JetSetGarmentBags.com, an online garment bag review site. Hannah enjoys writing for her site and has on numerous occasions hired a writer to provide quality content for her own site.