The written word is not dead in the digital age, and is in fact, more vital than ever. For any business owner, content is extremely important and you will need good writers to create it. Consider the never-ending content you need to publish online in order to keep your business visible and relevant in Google’s search rankings. In addition, the Instagram captions, Facebook posts, and tweets you need to send out regularly to engage clients on social media. There are also correspondences to compose, press releases to craft, and company announcements to write.
Now, you can hire an in-house writer, although that would necessitate creating a new position, which means incurring fixed costs (salary, benefits) and investing in onboarding. That's why a more viable alternative would be to hire a freelance writer. This way, you get to work with a professional directly (as opposed to running things through an agency or sourcing materials from content mills) without incurring the aforementioned costs. And if you find the right writer, you will have found a reliable partner that will help your business grow.
However, finding the right writer for your business can be tricky. Fortunately, there are a few things you can use to gauge whether or not a writer will turn out to be a good hire. The criteria for what makes a good writer for hire should include:
While freelance writers can generally write about a variety of topics, it is crucial that you find one who specializes either in the industry you are in or in the writing tasks you will hire them for (marketing, social media posting, business correspondences). Specialization is now a key differentiator in the freelance writing industry. To become a ghostwriter, it’s crucial for the writer to specialize in a specific niche to set themselves apart in an industry in which writers are highly sought after.
For instance, look no further than the over 47 billion web pages online and the 2.2 million books published in 2020 alone. These statistics aren't even surprising, when you consider that everyone from business professionals to celebrities and anyone in-between are looking for exceptional writers. So, whether it is technical writing, fiction, SEO writing, scriptwriting, or marketing, expect to meet writers who have experience in writing for your industry. Those writers should be high on your list, as they will have more experience in the style of writing you need to maximize the writer's services.
Fraudulent freelancers are a dime a dozen these days, and that's why you need to be extra vigilant. In particular, ask for credible published works right away. Start by asking for an actual, verifiable writing portfolio.
Look for the following as well: the writer's website or blog, guest posts with the writer's name, the writer's social media, referrals, and testimonials. This vigilance will reduce the chances of you being duped and will save you time and money.
One of the hallmarks of great writers is the ability to adjust their writing tone to suit the target audience. That means being able to shift seamlessly from a formal tone to a more casual one and then back to a more professional style. This ability is crucial because correct use of tone helps engage audiences better and expresses your brand's personality through the written word.
So, pore over your applicants' portfolio to gauge if they can vary their tone from copy to copy depending on the subject matter and target audience. Though, to save you time, you can ask them for a demonstration piece—making sure that you specify what you are exactly looking for in terms of writing tone (formal, casual, technical).
Finally, a good writer for hire is able to submit their deliverables on time, even with short turn-around times. After all, you wouldn't want your workflow routinely compromised by late submissions, right?
So, to find out if your prospective writers can deliver on time, look to give them timed writing tests first. Then request for references and make calls asking about the writers' reliability and ability to deliver excellent content while adhering to deadlines.
Similar to hiring regular staff, you will need to do your due diligence to find the right freelance writer for your business. So, take your time, use the guide above, and be patient and you will get the desired results.
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