The key to a successful inbound marketing campaign is building engaging content. Let’s face it, as a business owner you’re probably swamped 25 hours per day and writing content is probably not at the top of your priority list, or even on the radar. So you’ve decided to hire a freelance writer. We live in a time where everyone with a keyboard is a writer. Trying to find a high quality writer in your industry can be a difficult and time consuming task. Once you have found a writer how do you tell if they are up to your high standards prior to handing out your hard earned cash? Here are five tips on how to tell if a writer is going to pan out from the first few interactions you have with them.
Did it grab your attention
Imagine browsing your local book store, you see a book that catches your eye. You pick it up and read the first couple of sentences, if it doesn’t pull you in you are likely to put the book back on the shelf and find another one. The same is true for blog content. If a blog post doesn’t catch your attention in the first couple of sentences, readers are likely to hit the back button and go elsewhere.
A good writer will incorporate this into any writing they do, including an introductory email to you or an online biography. If your potential writer doesn’t capture your attention within the first few sentences it may be time to consider a different writer.
Grammar and Spelling
You want your company to be portrayed as professional & knowledgeable, right? The intended purpose of your content is to grab the attention of visitors to your site and educate them, seamlessly leading them to the next step toward converting into a customer. This is difficult to achieve if your content is riddled with spelling errors and grammatical faux pas.
An easy way to determine if your potential writer is up to your standards in relation to grammar and spelling is through communication prior to any written work. If a writer doesn’t take the time to proofread an email or their online biography you are likely to have issues further down the road.
One common oversight made by many writers and editors is geographical target audience. Different regions use different spelling for the same words example: Neighbor (US) vs Neighbour (UK/CAN), color vs colour, etc…
Spelling mistakes and grammatical errors can cause you extra time in editing and can make your company look unprofessional and careless.
Knowledge in your industry and willingness to continue education
When a potential client comes to a blog post you’ve written it’s because they are trying to learn something. This is difficult to do without the key insight into the industry. Has your writer written for this industry before? Have they shown they have knowledge in what you do? Have they worked in the industry before? These are some of the questions you can ask your potential writer in the first couple of communications you have with them.
You can also take this time to ask a few questions to determine if they are the right person to speak to your target audience. Do they understand your ideal clients, interests, age & background? Aside from understanding demographics, try to determine if the writer can grasp the common pain points of consumers that lead them to desiring your product or service. Are they able to write in a manner that is understood by your clients, meaning limited use of technical or other jargon, acronyms, idioms & abbreviations?
Social media and Recommendations
With the ever increasing importance placed on social media, social channels can be an easy and effective method of pruning your list of candidates. Find out if they are active on Twitter or LinkedIn, and while you’re there, check out endorsements and recommendations for their work.
Requesting previously written work is a great way to see if you like the writing style of your potential candidate. Specifically request published pieces of content in your industry. This will show you the quality of their work.
Time is money, we all understand and live this. In terms of content this fact is no different, you don’t want to have to wait for your content to be completed, and you definitely have better things to do than track down deliverable’s. You can tell a lot about someone by their response time in an email. Can you rely on a response from them in a timely manner? If you set up a meeting with them, are they available, prepared, and on time?
Whether you place an online ad, find an employee that can write, or use a web service like hire-a-writer.com, www.odesk.com or www.elance.com these tips can help make sure that you are left satisfied with your choice and you can get back to the nitty gritty of running a successful business.
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