Executive summary: Many startups and small businesses look for content support outside their organization. This blog discusses how to find a content writer and the advantages of working with a content partner (a content development firm) instead.
Reading time: < 3 minutes.
Let us begin with the assumption that you feel that your needs can be met by a content writer, with a couple of years of experience. In this case, finding a writer has three parts:
- Understand the factors that drive the selection process.
- Decide how to find a writer.
- And find ways to assess the writer.
Factors that Drive the Selection Criteria
Subject area: It is easy to find writers who write about subjects like fashion, food, movies, and so on. However, it is difficult to find writers who have prior knowledge of emerging areas or content that requires in-depth domain knowledge. The next best thing is to choose someone who can assimilate the subject fast and is good at connecting the umpteen thought processes and knowledge threads.
Quality: You also got to decide the level of quality. Do you need content that is ok or content that is of the highest standards? Should the content be persuasive or just factual? Remember, quality has a positive correlation with your budget.
Your timeline: How soon do you want the content developed?
Find a Content Writer
Professional web design companies work with in-house or freelance writers. But not sure if you get to work with the same writer(s) if you have a long-term project or multiple projects.
There are dedicated content development companies. Choose content development firms when your content needs are ongoing, or you need the content of the highest quality. Content development firms develop expertise in your domain quickly and enable you to focus on your business. Unless you are asking for the content for a sunrise sector, probably they hold expertise in your domain already. The firms also take away the need to hire, train, and supervise writers. If writing is not one of your core business areas, you are always better off hiring a content development firm. (Disclaimer: I am the Founder and CEO of Lotus Tech, a content development company.)
Alternatively, you can go to platforms like Fiverr to find freelancers. You can also search for writers on LinkedIn and Facebook groups. When you choose this path, selection, delivery, quality, availability are some of the areas you will spend your time on.
Finding a writer raises the next question: how do you assess a writer? You can look for two aspects, at the least:
Evaluate the Content Writer
How long has he been writing?
How many different areas has he served?
Does he have a bachelor’s or master’s degree in language/journalism/writing? In India, many writers are trained on the job. If they do not have their first degree or master’s in an attendant field, experience plays a huge role.
How much of his work exists in the public domain? Does he publish blogs? What is the quality and variety of subjects of those blogs? Read the blogs.
Is the writer aware of what is happening around? A note of caution: Don’t expect an in-depth knowledge in an area that the writer has not studied yet. If the writer is aware of the developments around and if he is a good writer, he can always connect the dots and get you a well-rounded copy.
Also, check how well the writer understands the audience and marketing. This understanding is central to writing website content, blogs, and any other marketing collateral.
Great writers are always prolific readers. Check their reading interests.
Selecting the right content partner is of great importance. In the age of the Internet, your business can afford to transact 24/7. Digital (read ‘an online presence and the ability to sell online’) is the means to do so. And the success of digital depends on design and communication. This is why great design and writing matter. Consequently, your content partner matters as well.
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—By Surya Prabha Vallae