Hiring a writer for the first time can be an exciting but intimidating process.
A good writer can do wonders for your content marketing strategy, but finding the right one within your budget can be a bit of a challenge. If your journey to hire a writer is just starting, I’ve got some tips and tricks you should know about the process to make it easier.
- Why should you hire a writer?
- What can hiring a professional writer do for your business?
- What to look for in a professional writer
- How much does a professional writer cost?
- How to hire a writer
- Ready to hire a writer?
Why should you hire a writer?
Everyone can write, can’t they?
Not so. Honestly, writing is hard. It’s a combination of finding the write words for the write audience at the write time, and when it comes to promoting you, your work or your company, getting it done right is imperative.
When it comes down to it, a professional writer can make the difference between making a sale and having someone pass right over your content. Everything from your blog posts and website pages, to brochures, eBooks and social media can benefit from putting a professional at the helm.
A good blog post takes a lot of time to create—I can spend five or more hours crafting the perfect content for a client. If you want to publish two or three pieces of solid copy per week, you’re looking at 10 to 15 hours of work. Do you really have that time?
If you don’t have the extra time to spend creating quality work or you’re not confident in your ability to do so, then you need to seriously consider hiring a writer.
What can hiring a professional writer do for your business?
The biggest contribution a professional writer can make to your business is getting more eyes on your stuff. More eyes means a better chance of making more money.
My lifestyle blog went from less than 500 visitors to almost 3,000 in less than three months, and it in-turn almost quadrupled my profit. What could you do if you sales skyrocketed like that? What would your business be like?
That big jump in visitors, page views and revenue didn’t come because I pressed publish on a few extra posts. It took me re-evaluating my content and putting some serious work into who I was writing for and what I was delivering.
Writing can make a big impact on your business, so it’s up to you to decide if you want to make it a priority. I did, and it worked out splendidly for me.
What to look for in a professional writer
Not every writer out there is for you.
There are plenty of poor writers out there. There are plenty of mediocre writers out there. And, there are plenty of exceptional writers out there that simply won’t fit with you or your brand. It’s not about simply hiring a writer, it’s about finding the right writer for you.
So, here’s what you need to do:
Get clear about what you want
Not all writers specialize in the same content. I write exceptional how-to guides, but ask me to write a technical manual and I’m in the middle of the ocean with no lifejacket. Before you hire a writer, you need to make sure you know:
- What product you want written (blog post, email sequence, white paper, etc.)
- What style of writing you’re looking for
- If this is a regular writer or a one-off project
- What your budget is
- What your expectations are
Take a deep dive into a prospect’s portfolio
While good writers can take on the voice, look and feel of a brand, there are certain styles that resonate better with different writers.
For example, I don’t do overly formal writing. It’s not that I can’t, it’s simply that I don’t enjoy it— and if I don’t enjoy it, my work simply isn’t as good. So, I gravitate towards casual brands with engaging personalities that provide actionable content to their readers.
So, when you’re evaluating a prospective writer, take a good hard look at what kind of content they’ve already produced. Make sure that you enjoy reading it and you get what you’re supposed to out of it. If it doesn’t resonate with you, it doesn’t mean they’re a bad writer—just not the writer for you.
Ask about their writing process
Some writers are happy to go-with-the-flow when it comes to the writing process, but most professional writers have their own processes and procedures in place.
I have a list of important “rules of engagement” when it comes to my writing process so that everything remains organized, gets done on time and everyone has a good experience. These rules include things like:
- Expected client delivery times—I rarely accept last-minute assignments because this can mean delays for other clients work which is ultimately unfair.
- Standardized product delivery times—In most cases, I deliver work 1-week after a brief or request is submitted, but in all cases I provide a delivery date to clients so they know when they can expect their work.
- Clearly defined editorial expectations—Writers want their clients to have the best experience, but aren’t often able to go back-and-forth on endless edits. In most cases, one or two rounds of edits are included in the content purchase.
While this is by-no means the full list of processes that you might come across, it gives you an idea about how working with a writer works. It’s important to note that when you hire a professional writer, you are contracting work to another business.
How much does a professional writer cost?
You get what you pay for when it comes to writing.
You can absolutely hire someone to write you a 2,000-word blog post for $75, but you’ll get delivered content that’s truly worth that kind of money. If you want a quality, professional writer, you need to prepare yourself to pay for that work.
There is no industry standard when it comes to writing costs. Costs are dictated by various factors including:
- The experience of the writer
- The scope of work you’re requesting (do you need SEO completed on the work, are you providing the background information or does it need to be researched, are there interviews required?)
- The length of the project
- The requested deadline—shorter, immediate projects will usually come with a higher price tag
- The industry
At minimum, I would expect to pay at least $0.15 per word for a writer that’s early on in their career, which means you’re looking at a base-line amount of $150 for a 1,500-word blog post. A mid-level writer can sit anywhere between $0.25 to $0.75 per word, and an experience writer in a more technical industry can run you $0.75+.
But, truthfully, it varies depending on what you’re looking for. Feel free to hit me up if you’re looking for more insight on the costs of hiring a writer.
How to hire a writer
Hiring a writer can seem daunting, but it’s a similar process to hiring any other contractor. Here’s a quick look at the steps you should take:
First, you need to find some viable candidates. Like we talked about earlier, not every writer is going to be the right one for you—so you need to keep your eye out for the perfect fit. Many companies head out to job sites like ProBlogger to hire their writers, but I’d encourage you to find your own.
If you put a posting out on a job board you’ll end up with a TON of applications (more than you want to look through), and that’s not really where the quality writers hangout. Instead, ask for recommendations—look to people in your industry or ask a writer (like me) to recommend someone who writes in your industry or produces the content you’re looking for.
Evaluate their portfolio
We already dug into this, but I wanted to briefly—you need to take a good look at the content that they produce and decide whether or not it works for you. Take a look at a variety of their work before you hire a write, to make sure that everything they produce is of the quality and style you’re looking for.
Consult with the writer
Before hiring a writer, make sure that you have a little chat with them first. You can do this via the phone, a video chat or you can simply send a few emails back and forth—whatever you’re most comfortable with.
Tell them a bit about your project, ask them about their process and see if your working styles might be a good fit. I’m a night owl—I do a ton of my work in the wee hours of the night, which means that I’m not always available to chat during the day and I rarely take meetings. That doesn’t work for everyone.
Do a test write
There’s no need to commit to a long-term project right away, try a few pieces out. When I have a new client, I do one or two projects first to test it out. To be clear, these are regular projects at my normal rate, but I don’t commit to anything long-term before testing the waters.
The right fit is important for everyone and a test write can help make sure you work well together, and the content that you’re looking for is delivered. It’s a great way to not only get some content but evaluate a writer.
Ready to hire a writer?
Are you ready to get started on your writer hiring process? While it might take you a bit to find the perfect fit, the right writer can make all the difference for your content marketing strategy. So what are you waiting for?
If you’re not sure where to get started when it comes to hiring a writer or you simply want to chat, feel free to reach out. I’m always happy to chat about content marketing!