If you’re a business leader – a CEO, or perhaps the VP of Marketing – you’ve always got your hands full and there’s simply never enough time to get everything done.
You shape the future of your business. You are responsible for its success. And you know how important content is for advancing your goals. Finding time to create content that’s relevant and meaningful to your target audience is probably high on your list of things to do. Valuable content is widely recognized as a key way to engage your audience, attract new customers, and position yourself as an expert in your field. In a recent SemRush survey, 91% of marketing professionals report seeing success through their content marketing efforts.
Many business leaders, however, believe that they have to create the content themselves. They question why they should hire someone to write blog posts and other content. This is a huge mistake, especially for entrepreneurs who don’t have the writing skills necessary to write quality and engaging content. It’s human nature to push the tasks we despise (or are not good at) to the bottom of the pile. And guess what happens when the person tasked with writing the company’s content is someone who neither has the time nor the aptitude?
Fortunately, there is a better solution. You can hire professional content writers to handle all of your content writing needs, leaving you free to do the tasks that you are good at.
Read on for all you need to know about how to hire content writers.
Why Outsource Web Content Writing?
In busy times (and let’s face it, that’s ALL the time!), learning how to delegate is a critical skill. We recently worked with a client, let’s call her Pam. Her story illustrates how outsourcing web content writing can be a lifesaver.
Pam is the VP of Marketing at a tech startup. She’s relatively new to the team and has been overworked from the beginning. She loves the company and believes in the mission. Her years of experience in marketing have set her up well to help the company succeed. After spending the first few weeks of her tenure meeting the sales team and learning the ins and outs of the product, Pam was ready to create a marketing plan.
Her plan was multi-pronged and included several different campaigns targeting various market sectors. She conducted tons of research and knew that her plan was going to work. She also knew that she needed a few blog posts and other written materials. At first, she decided to do this writing herself. She didn’t want to have to ask her boss for help – she wanted to prove that she could run a campaign from start to finish, taking ownership of every part.
Pam neglected to take into account her hatred of writing. She would stare at a blank page with no clue of where to start. It took her hours, which turned into days, to write just a couple paragraphs of a blog post. Her first campaign was threatening to turn into a disaster because she wasn’t going to have the content to back it up.
She knew exactly what the content needed to say, she just had no idea how to write it in a way that would be compelling and well-written. That’s when she came to us. At first, she was concerned that we wouldn’t have the industry experience to be able to write about her company’s product. She quickly learned that this is the beauty of outsourced content writers – we use our content writer skills together with the knowledge that is in the heads of our clients! Hiring a content marketing agency is the perfect opportunity to delegate and collaborate.
Pam’s story highlights the main reason why you might want to hire a writer for your content needs. Leverage the fact that writers are skilled at – you guessed it – writing, while you are skilled at your job. Providing the necessary information to a writer is a lot easier than trying to find the right structure and words to create content yourself.
Why Should I Hire a Writer?
Here are a few other benefits to hiring a writer:
- Simplicity – Put your outsourced content agency on speed dial (or whatever today’s equivalent of that is!) and know that you have a go-to source whenever you need a piece of content. Once you’ve developed a solid relationship and they are up to speed on your topic and industry, all you’ll have to do is send a quick email and then you can move on with your other tasks and wait for your content to arrive. Simple.
- Time and Money Savings – Hiring a full-time (or even part-time) employee is an expensive commitment. In addition to salary, you also have to pay additional expenses like insurance, vacation time, etc. It’s more cost-effective to outsource and pay for the work you need when you need it.
- Quality – Because you’ll do some research and vetting first to be sure that you are hiring experts with top content writing skills, you can expect the quality of the work to be high from the get-go. If, for some reason, you are unhappy with the work, you can always look into hiring another content marketing agency and avoid going through a firing process like you would with an employee.
- Flexibility – Your content needs may change over time as your strategy evolves and your business grows. It’s easy to be flexible and agile when working with an agency, especially one with expertise in all different types of content. You need a blog this week? No problem. Next week, a landing page? Sure thing!
What is a Content Marketing Agency?
Before you begin to weigh the pros and cons of hiring a content agency vs. a freelance content writer, it’s important to understand what a content marketing agency is all about. Content marketing agencies boast a team of skilled writers, ready to take on your whole project or provide a boost to your existing content and brand awareness. From writing blog posts to ebooks and everything in between, content marketing agencies have got you covered!
Content Agency vs. Freelance Writer: Why Choose a Content Agency?
There are thousands of content agencies out there and even more solo freelance writers. It may be tempting to go with an individual writer – and there are plenty of amazing ones – but we would recommend looking for an agency when you set out to hire a content writer. There are many benefits of hiring a marketing agency for content marketing. And we aren’t just saying that because we are an agency😉
Here’s why hiring a marketing agency for content marketing makes good business sense:
- Pre-Vetted Writers – An agency will have done a lot of the work for you in terms of vetting writers and making sure they are qualified with proper content writer skills.
- Better Quality – You may have to try a string of individuals before landing on a good one, but with an agency, you’re likely to get a higher quality writer on the first try. Agency writers are already tried and tested. In addition, an agency can provide better support for their writers, including research tools and proofreading, to ensure that the finished product is of the highest quality.
- Variety – While an individual writer may specialize in one type of writing, an agency can generally provide you with multiple types of content. If you need engaging content for your website as well as an ebook and ongoing blog posts, it might be harder to find one writer who has the right skills to cover everything.
How to Outsource Content Writing: Understand Your Content Needs
Before you start your search for a content agency, you should take the time to prepare. Any agency worth its salt will ask you a variety of questions to understand what you need and whether they are a good match for you. Also, the more you can articulate exactly what your needs are, the easier it will be to ensure that you get an accurate price quote. Different businesses require different kinds of content. An established B2B business needs top-quality content that will generate a steady flow of relevant leads. They should look for an expert B2B content marketing agency. A startup, on the other hand, first needs content that will generate brand awareness and a positive online presence.
While good content writers can also help you strategize and figure out the best plan for you, it will certainly be helpful for you to have first considered the following questions:
- What are the main goals/mission of your company?
- Who is your target audience/ideal customer?
- How does your product best address the needs of your ideal customer?
- What makes your product unique or better than your competitors?
If you’ve already done some content marketing, it is also helpful to give a brief history of what your strategy was in the past, what worked, and what didn’t work. If you have existing content, it’s always good to provide examples to prospective writers and explain what aspects you like and what you would like to change.
The more tools you provide your writer with, the better they will be able to capture your tone and make sure that your outsourced content is consistent with anything else you produce. For example, it’s worth spending the time to write out your brand guidelines – a set of rules for how you like to present yourselves. Offering this clarity will ensure that all writing for your business will follow the same tone and have a consistent feel, even if you end up outsourcing to different writers (or if one agency uses more than one writer).
How to Find Content Writing Agencies
There are tens of thousands of content writers and agencies out there. They range from low-end content mills usually based in foreign countries to an assortment of levels of writers on sites like Fiverr or Upwork to more experienced and expensive boutique and larger content firms.
While initially it is tempting to take the cheap route and search Fiverr or Upwork, you may be disappointed with the results. There are plenty of talented people on those sites and we have even used them ourselves for one-off projects such as designing flyers and the like. But, when it comes to outsourcing your content, you need to carefully consider what your desired outcomes are and the best way to achieve them.
We’ve heard countless stories of people who have tried to save money by going with the cheapest possible content writers and then having to either re-write everything or hire a new writer. This ends up even more expensive and time-consuming than just paying for higher quality to begin with. Your best bet is to speak to people you trust and get recommendations – there’s nothing like someone else’s positive experience to save you the time filtering through a million options.
Once you get a couple of recommendations, do some snooping around on LinkedIn and the writer or agency’s website. See whether you like their content and if you think your personalities might jive. Then set up a call with a couple of different writers so that you can compare and contrast styles and offers.
Tips for Hiring a Content Marketing Agency
The most important thing to remember when hiring a content marketing agency is that at the end of the day, you are hiring a person whom you will need to be able to communicate with and enjoy a healthy working relationship.
Tips to keep in mind as you go through the hiring process include:
- Look for red flags, both personality and work-wise. If you don’t enjoy speaking to the potential writer, chances are you won’t enjoy working with them either. If they give you blank stares when you mention standard industry terms or give off other indications that they may not meet your professional expectations, go with your gut and keep looking.
- Always ask for samples. Even if the writer has no experience in your specific field (which is NOT a red flag in itself!), it’s important to see a range of materials he or she has written so that you can assess their ability to create different types of content using various tones.
- Create a checklist of questions to make sure you cover all the essentials. Content agencies are likely to have work processes in place already and you’ll want to be sure that you’re on the same page and that you understand each other’s expectations.
How to Manage and Collaborate with Content Writers
The process doesn’t end once you’ve signed the contract with your new content writer. It’s worth putting in the effort to create a strong relationship with your writer as this can and should be a long-term commitment. You want to make sure it starts off on the right foot and continues that way.
Remember that your writer likely has other clients too and you want to be sure that your needs get prioritized. This can only happen with good and consistent communication. Make clear what you need and when you need it. While most writers will try to be as flexible as possible – especially when you have a good relationship with them – they won’t always be able to drop everything and attend to your needs. So make sure to plan ahead and work together to stay on track.
In addition, while a good outsourced content writer will immerse themselves into your business and learn the ins and outs of your industry, they will never be as deeply connected to it on a day-to-day basis as you are. This means that you will need to provide the necessary information and content guidelines to enable them to do their work at a high-quality level.
How to Ensure Quality Content
Quality content is not determined by whether or not you like the way it sounds or if it follows all the grammar rules. When it comes to content marketing, the quality of the writing is judged based on the results. If it brings in leads or otherwise meets the goals you’ve set, then it’s doing the job.
The only way to know if your content is working is to track the performance. This means setting up Google Analytics or other tools to see who is reading your content, how they are getting to it, and what actions they are taking subsequently. Some full-service content agencies, like Purple Chia, will take care of this for you.
A monthly report offers lots of insight into how content is performing against predetermined metrics. This information can then be used to edit or tweak existing content or inform what future content should cover. Writing and publishing content is the first step, but ensuring that it answers the demands of your audience is what will truly bring success.
The Last Word on How to Hire Content Writers
We would be remiss to write an entire blog post about how to hire content writers without even mentioning the elephant in the room, otherwise known as ChatGPT. It can certainly be tempting to think you can forgo hiring a human and just ask ChatGPT to write content for you.
One word of advice on this – don’t. While ChatGPT is an extremely powerful tool when used properly, it cannot replace what a human can do. The cons of ChatGPT are numerous, including excessively verbose answers and harmful biases. You’ll end up with very dry, impersonal, and repetitive content that will not serve you very well.
You don’t have to do everything yourself – there are plenty of content marketing experts out there who are just waiting to help you. Whether you’re a startup or an established business, Purple Chia is ready to help take your business to a whole new level. Contact us today for a consultation and let’s get started!