Outsourcing Your Content? Here’s How to Do it Right

Business owners are busy people. And if they are running a small business, they do not have the luxury of a team that has divided up the responsibilities of running that business.

And, in fact, a full-time content writer is probably one of the last team members to be employed, as a business grows. The owners and other team members try to assume this function as best they can.

The other option that business owners choose is to contract out their content writing needs. This can be highly successful and cost-efficient if it is done right.

So, how do you do it right? You find the right source for great content writing – one that has writers who are experts and fully current with the latest strategies for SEO.

Types of Writers

First of all, understand that there are usually three types of writers who may be looking for content writing work:

  1. Journalists: These writers have specific training that makes them good candidates. They tend to check their facts and to be concise and engaging in their copy. Making the transition from journalism to a marketing angle for their writing may be a bit foreign to them, but they do have the skills to engage readers.
  2. Copywriters: copywriters are familiar with the world of marketing. Many are bloggers, and they tend to understand the important basics – keeping writing conversational, simple, etc. They are good candidates, so long as they can commit to attention to detail and the fact-checking that journalists commit to.
  3. Literary: These are writers of fiction and/or non-fiction who compose their works in a more sophisticated style than content writers. Making the transition to successful content writing is usually difficult for them.

You are probably best off looking for those with backgrounds in journalism or copywriting. They will have the style and tone you will want.

Finding the right Content Writing Source

It is not an easy task. There are thousands upon thousands of content writing sources vying for contracting business. And sifting through them all is an arduous task. it takes a lot of research to find those sources that have a history of success in creating content that has been unique, engaging, and attracts search engine bots for boosted rankings.

There are a number of sources for locating content writers.

  1. Job Boards: You can check out board-matching sites that connect freelance writers with potential employers. The problem is that these writers are usually not “vetted” by the sites (Writers Den, Freelancer’s Union, Craigslist, etc..) You may “kiss a lot of toads” before finding that one “prince” of a writer.
  2. Freelancer Platforms: These are more general job boards, where you can look at writers’ profiles and read reviews that other clients have written. Again, these sites are filled with huge numbers of candidates, and pouring through them will take lots of time, and there is no guarantee that a writer you select will be “up” on your business niche. There may be a learning curve involved.
  3. Referrals: This can be a good source. The problem is that really good writers are in high demand, especially those who are skilled, artistic, and proficient in your niche. It is rare that business owners who have found the perfect writer will be willing to share them with others.
  4. Writing Services that Have Proven Content Writing Departments: this may be your best source. And you can check their records on any number of review sites. A few that seem to be outstanding sources are as follows:
  • RewardedEssays: While this site name seems to indicate that it serves students and academic writing needs, in fact, it has a full copywriting department that has received rave reviews.
  • SupremeDissertations: Content writing is one of the most in-demand services at this agency. And unsolicited customer reviews are quite positive.
  • HotEssayService: Copywriting services are not widely marketed by this company, but it has served many clients from a variety of niches very well.
  • FlashEssay: As the name implies, this company is known for its fast turnaround. Its seasoned copywriters produce everything from press releases to website content, to blog and social media posts.
  • GetGoodGrade: This is an agency with a large copywriting department that it has developed over many years. It has a great reputation for producing content in virtually every business niche.

Evaluating Candidates

There are some things you will want to explore as you consider sources for content writing:

  1. Take a look at the portfolio that either an individual writer or a copywriting service has accumulated. This is far more important than any resume that a potential writer might present to you. Companies that have content writing departments should be happy to supply samples of their writers’ work.
  2. Variety of content. Can the contender show you a wide variety of content that he/she has produced? Consumers of content demand much more than text. In fact, they prefer visuals to text, considering they are usually on the go with their mobile devices.
  3. Are they willing to take on a small writing project of your choosing and demonstrate their skills and talents? Certainly, if it is good, and you want to publish it, you should pay for it.

Questions to Ask When Hiring a Content Writer

Whether you’re a small business owner, an affiliate marketer, or running an e-commerce business who wants to benefit from content marketing, it’s important to ask questions before hiring a content writer.

Here are some of the top questions to ask when hiring a content writer:

  1. How long have you been a web content writer? What topics do you love to write about? What are the topics you usually write? All of these questions will assess the writer’s experience and expertise. By knowing the topics that a writer specializes in, you’ll have an idea of whether or not your topics and interests will match the potential writer’s.
  2. How do you define digital marketing? What do you think about SEO? What is digital asset management? When it comes to defining simple terms and digital concepts that apply to today’s online content, these questions will gauge the basic skill of a web content writer. Digital marketing and search engine optimization (SEO) always play an important part in establishing a good web presence, and so as digital asset management.
  3. How soon can you start? Are you working for other clients?
    It’s crucial to ask this question so you’ll know if your tasks will be prioritized. While freelance writers work with multiple clients, you’ll find a lot of freelancers and web content companies who manage article orders very well.
  4. How do you want to get paid? Is it per article basis, per project, or weekly? As early as the screening process, you should know how your prospective web content writers would like to get paid. In this way, you know if they offer flexible payment options that align with yours. Most freelancers prefer weekly payments, and some want to ensure the legitimacy of a potential client by working on a “per article” basis for the first week.

Your Responsibility to Your Hire

Simply finding an amazing content writer is not the end of the story. Writers must have substantive material to work with. And they must have direction. As Josh Thomas, marketing director for IsAccurate states, “We have three great copywriters who provide our content. But we do not leave them out there to do it all by themselves. We conduct research all the time; we look at our competition and what our users want and need. We feed this information to our writers all the time so that they can do their job better.

Giving your outsourced writer such information as detailed customer personas, topics based upon your own research, access to your staff and happy customers, and tools to manage their projects are all part of the process of getting great content.
And you must provide feedback to your content writer. Conducting the analytics (or giving them the tools to do so themselves) will provide the data they need to know what is working and what is not. Content writers are not perfect, and they need to grow into their writing for you, just as any other staff member you hire must do.

Above all, content writing is a partnership between the writer, you, and your other team members. It doesn’t happen in a vacuum. Good content writers are experts in their craft, but they have to have the resources and tools that will let them do their jobs. Whether you use an independent contractor or a writing agency, it is your responsibility to provide guidance and direction.

Finding a great content writer is not easy. It takes time and often a lot of false starts with writers who are just not a “fit” for your business and your needs, but when you find the right one(s), the value he will bring to your brand will be immeasurable.

Amanda Sparks, professional marketer, and blogger, head of content department at EssaySupply. She works as a marketer for 7 years and is passionate about developing innovative and customer-friendly solutions for brand growth.