Hire talented content writers to help you reach your content goals.
Ask your content manager, content department, or head of marketing to help define your content needs and goals. One way to define your content scope is to go through your marketing and content schedule for a set period of time, like a month, to determine what content types you need, how many of each, content lengths, and the goal of each. If your brand doesn’t have any content, start by defining content marketing SMART goals, like Publish 2 blog posts per month over the next quarter to improve SEO.
Decide whether you want an in-house writer or freelance contract writer, based on the consistency and volume of your content needs.
Consider an in-house position for high volume, consistent content needs, multiple content channels, higher content marketing budgets, and for consistently specialized content with a steep learning curve. Consider freelance writers for one-time assignments, low volume content needs, sporadic content needs, or if you’re new to content marketing.
Write a job description that describes the type of content writer you’re looking for and the experience that applicants should have.
Include information on how to apply, what the job involves, position type and compensation, whether the job is remote, and preferred experience, such as SEO or industry knowledge.
Consider using general job listing sites, forums or social media groups specifically for content writers, industry specific job listing sites, LinkedIn and other social media platforms, and your company website to recruit writers. Another option is recruiting writers from other blogs.
To find freelance writers for sporadic or one-time assignments, consider using a content writing service. Instead of posting a typical job description, many content writing marketplaces let you post job descriptions for individual assignments, like one blog post or white paper.
Request and review work samples, resumes, client feedback, and a portfolio, especially for in-house and long-term positions.
To assess their writing ability and compatibility with your brand, focus the most on their work samples and portfolio. Analyze for typos or grammatical errors, thoroughness of research, and a voice and level of expertise that fits your brand. See if they include samples of the content type you’re looking for if you have specific needs, like case studies or pillar pages.
Consider also asking for their original draft instead of the published work to accurately judge their work rather than the editor’s. If you’re using a content marketing writing service, look at any writer information that is provided, although the information may be limited.
Interview full-time hire and long-term contract candidates, and ask questions that measure the candidates’ experience and process.
Ask interview questions that help you understand their writing process, expertise, and what they would be like to work with. For example:
- Describe your research process for a blog post.
- What’s your estimated turnover time for content of this length?
- What’s your editing process like? How many rounds of edits do you perform?
- How do you research the target audience?
This is optional and typically not used for one-time assignments, short-term content needs, some freelance positions, or on content writing service sites. Instead, you may contact writers about their sample work, rates, and availability, or request speculative work that you only purchase if you like the created content.
Choose a candidate whose writing samples, resume, and interview best fit your candidate criteria priorities.
Consider ranking your candidate criteria to help you decide what qualities are most important to you. Common priorities include:
- Expertise in your niche.
- Experience writing the particular content format.
- Exceptional client feedback.
If budget is your main concern, you may choose a freelancer with a lower service rate compared to the more expensive writer who has the specialty certification you also wanted. Consider having a second choice candidate identified in case your first choice candidate has changed their mind or accepted another job.
Offer a contract to the freelance writer, hire for your in-house position, or buy content individually, depending on your content needs.
For contractor positions, consult with an attorney, or download and edit a standard writer’s contract from organizations like the Writer’s Guild of America West.
Train your new content writer with all in-house documentation, style guides, timelines, and examples of work that you like.
Consider putting together a documentation package for writers that includes:
- Brand bible.
- Style guide that includes content and copy preferences, like Mailchimp’s content style guide that includes information about tone, how to write about people, words to avoid, acronym guidelines, their content goals, and more.
- Content strategy.
- Buyer persona profiles.
- Favorite content examples.
Ensure the writer understands your brand’s content formats, target word count, target audience, your overall content strategy, and the editorial approval process. Even for freelance and speculative work, provide as much of this information and documentation as possible to receive work that fits your brand and needs.
This may include creating content briefs, overseeing their content strategy development, requesting edits, making suggestions, and publishing their work to the designated channel. Providing both negative and positive feedback will help writers adjust future content to better meet your needs. Example feedback:
- The call to action at the end needs to be stronger.
- The specific section or quote that was my favorite part because it reflects my brand’s mission.
- Needs another round of copy editing because I noticed x spelling issues.
- Can you mention this specific product feature?