Writing as an art has evolved much beyond the usual paradigm of novels and plays. In the age of millennials, where the attention span varies from as low as 5 seconds or 5 minutes, you will find that content is king. Indisputably so. And so ‘content writing’ has gained as much momentum as the next graphic designer working with a design agency, probably in the alley behind your newly established online business.
Now, running a business involves many things, but a business ain’t a business without a product. And that product is your content if you run anything of the online sort. In the race to reach an audience that is as wide as it can possibly be, you need to grab the attention of viewers, in addition to pretty slick graphics or an innovative interface.
If you consider yourself to be a one-man-army, you can do all that writing yourself, while still creating and managing your product, handling sales, meeting people, exploring opportunities, dealing with legal issues and regulations as well as running day-to-day tasks as a part of your administration routine. And this is just the tip of the iceberg.
Or, you could make things a bit easier on yourself and find a creative person, fluent in the language of your choice, to create that content for you.
Hire a Freelance Copywriter
That is right! There are people out there who have the gift of playing with words in ways you can never imagine. Just because they didn’t have the good fortune to write the Harry Potter series or Game of Thrones, does not mean that they lack the skill or the creativity. They can take a huge load off your shoulders; for a price, of course. But it is worth it in the long run.
Copywriters, can take charge of your written content and curate it for various purposes. Your online website is a jigsaw puzzle in disguise. Some of its pieces are your website landing pages, blogs, newsletters, advertisements as well as guest posts.
If you have social media presence, then your social media accounts need a regular feed of posts, with catchy one-liners. These wonderfully talented people can churn out all of those for you.
Furthermore, as we advance towards increased digitization, you will start hearing things like search engine optimization (SEO), keywords, search volume, Meta description etc. These things need research and, with further optimizations targeted towards editing, publishing and distribution. There is freelancer writer for hire who, sometimes get it all together for you in one sweet deal.
We still have not reached the stage where the technology works for us exclusively. It’s still the other way around. And to make the best of this situation is to hire a freelance copywriter who can make sense of this technology to make it work for you. Think of it like paying a toll. It’s a small price to pay for an access to a potential highway in the online world.
If it still does not sound convincing enough, maybe some statistics will. It has been reported, with actual studies and surveys, that SMEs with their own blogs get an approximate increase of 126% in their lead growth than those who shy away.
It is now an accepted fact that most people have an online presence. And about 77% of those spend their time reading blogs. Not that newspapers are any less effective, but blogs have a tremendous amount of reach as compared to that good old conversation starter. As a platform, these blogs allow users to communicate with anyone anywhere in the world with a computer and internet. Quite literally.
Think about the scope of mouth publicity regarding your business. If it impresses even two or three influential guest commentators (as opposed to 2 or 3 local people) who see your presence in a newspaper advertisement.
If your website has a blog, you can start writing about topics that are closely related to your business. Beating around the bush is one way to put it, but over here you actually get something in return. Your blog will be filled with content on relevant topics causing most search engines to start indexing those pages.
So, when a user searches for that topic, your blog has a high chance to appear in the search results as a part of the confetti of content that you have sprayed across the web; albeit one which leads all the way back to your website, like a breadcrumb trail. This phenomenon increases the chances of your business being found by that stray ‘Googler’ by as much as 434%. It’s not bad if you consider that number being applied to the mouth of your marketing funnel.
Blogging is now as much a favorite past time as gaming. People have a platform to voice their opinions. There’s no reason why you can tap that trait in human psychology and make it work for you. They don’t mind. Why should you?
However, there is a catch-22 situation here. Even though anyone has the capability to put up a blog and start posting, your business needs polished gems. Not mundane, eroded rocks on the side of a river bank.
Curated content is the key here and these content writers know how to manipulate words which have the capability to hold your customers’ attention while still adhering to technical standards. It is by no means a magic pill. It is a process, which needs time.
The time taken to write a proper blog can vary from 2 hours at the minimum to about 5 hours, considering the usual writing, editing and publishing procedure, completed one after the other in that order.
Your content has to be checked for spellings, grammatical errors, technical standards as well as simplicity in sentence construction in some cases, all the while keeping it sensible enough to appeal to the lowest common denominator in your target audience.
If you try to do this daily, you could be spending upwards of 5-6 hours or even more if you do not know the specifics of digital publishing.
Convert that number into time spent per week or per month and you’ll be running out of time. Words can sell all right, but tangible products sell better. If your business is all about the words, then more power to you.
If your business is about a product and you spend time blogging about it, who is going to create, innovate and actually sell your product? So, unless you are trying to sell the oceans to the emperor, you have to take help of freelance writer services.
And that’s where these unsung heroes can help you. They can create masterpieces which can attract the wallet warriors armed with credit cards and help turn them into loyal customers for you. Hopefully your product or service has potential to give meaning to their cards’ lonely existence, doubling the happiness around. Everybody wins.
So, how do I hire a copywriter?
Finally convinced, are you? Good. Now comes the part where you need to make informed decisions about hiring the right person from a population of almost 7 billion. What does make the process easy is that only a few of them are copywriters who usually reside online. Still, it is a needle in the haystack situation. But with these handy tips, you can easily contact and scoop one out with ease.
The very span of technology’s spread has empowered a lot of people to start writing. But not all of them are geniuses. Some are terrible at the job, some are filled with arrogance, some charge outrageous prices for their work and still others take ridiculous amount of time to put out something truly useful.
However, neither does everyone qualify for the dunce-of-the-year award. There is a lot of variety in talent and working attitudes out there, so you need to know exactly what you need to get the right pick.
6-step Process to hire a Freelance Copywriter ( so you can double, triple your productivity)
“But I have a lot of money.”
This is your first trap. You can’t just throw money around and expect content to appear at your feet. You should be perfectly aware of everything you need, but more than that you should understand your own business thoroughly. It will help you communicate with a potential hire about the very basic thing needed for writing: information about you and your business.
Your budget, volume, specific tone and timelines arrive next in line, respectively.
- Budget – How much money can you spend?
- Volume – Is it a one-time job, a bulk assignment or continuous work?
- Specific tone – Do you want to impress the child-at-heart or the formally elite?
- Timelines – How quickly do you want to get your job done?
Once you have this information, you can start thinking about finding the right person.
“Where do I find a content writer?”
Depends on what you are looking for. For the best of the best, you can look up people who regularly publish their work online for the top companies, like Fortune 500, Entrepreneur or something similar. These websites have a lot of contributors under freelance writing services, who have articles published under their name.
If their quality impresses you, the other things you should look for under their name are ‘Freelance’, ‘Contributing Writer’, or writer for hire.
If you are internet-enlightened, search for their email or contact information. Google will help you find their contact information on Facebook or LinkedIn if it’s not already available under the article.
The other source is a direct search on LinkedIn or Twitter. You can find the top agencies or freelancers there as well. If they have a portfolio, be sure to read those articles and judge the written content for yourself.
LinkedIn has the advantage of networking in the real sense. So, you can get introduced to a ‘friend’ of a ‘friend’ who happens to be a professional writer. Twitter is all about followers. If you find one good writer, you can reach others by looking at the ‘follower’ list and ‘follows’ list to find an entire group.
Be prepared to shell out a premium though. And may lord help you if you find one who hires other writers to do your writing.
If you are proud to be budget conscious, freelancing websites is what you would be looking for. There are many talented content writers for hire registered on many freelancing websites, and most of them clamor for contracts, driving the budget down.
However, you can get stuck with a truly abysmal person if you gamble too much on the lower side of your budget. The advantage to these sites is that your funds are protected in an Escrow system, which means you get veto power. If you are not satisfied, you get your money back in most cases.
Last, but never the least, there’s Google and other search engines like Duck Duck Go. Search for ‘hire a freelance writer’ and you get so many results that you’d wish you wouldn’t.
Since the way these search engines work, you may or may not get a hit immediately.
Usually the social media pages and highly ranked freelancer websites cram the first page of the results, along with any sponsored advertisements popping in between.
So, what do you do?
You click on the button that you’d never dare to, until now – Page number 2. You’d be amazed at what you can find in Google’s own version of a glorified junkyard.
And then you keep on searching and navigating the rest of the pages until you find what you are looking for. It is a brute force method, but it will work eventually if you are not stuck in the ‘filter bubble’.
“Hurrah, I’ve found one! What next?”
Background checks. Jumping the trigger is not wise at this time. You search for what that person has written and if possible, any reviews or references from other clients.
Look for their education and any evidence of completing complimentary writing courses.
Gather as much information as you can about the person from anywhere you can, including the methods used to search for that copywriter, to make an informed decision.
And then find out options. Your plan Bs and Plan Cs if the first one turns out to be a sour lemon.
“Okay, the person checks out. Now…?”
Well, what are you waiting for? Communicate! Make your requirements known. If you are smart, you should be communicating with all your options as well. Peruse their responses. Judge them on the basis of their communication ethic:
- Are they polite?
- Do they know your field of operation, product or service?
- Are they trying to oversell their expertise to you?
- Is there urgency in their response, timeliness, expertise in the use of your preferred language of communication and their lexical resource (vocabulary in layman’s terms)?
- Do they know about SEO and your competition to give you an edge? Do they know about WordPress?
- Can they combine the content quality with proper SEO optimization or do they just make the SEO lights green in one of the plethora of SEO plugins available out there?
You may be tempted to ask for image editing expertise as well, to get an all-in-one solution. But that should be further down on your agenda. Images involve copyrights and some editing skills, which complicates your search to the next level.
If you are comfortable doing the extra background work to look for multi-skilled talent, Godspeed to you. Otherwise it is fine to stick to content writers only and have someone with a good creative eye in design to create the layout of your blog or website.
However, don’t jump to the budget. Make a case for each one, lay out the pros and cons in their terms of their approach and quality of previous work.
“How much to pay”
Negotiation. If you just want content, ask for the rates, and you shall have them. If you are looking for something extra like revisions, project management options and image editing, now is the time to bring it up to sweeten the deal.
Still worried? You can opt for a paid test.
Many might find it offensive for the lack of trust in their portfolio, but it is an option nonetheless. Your reputation as a client may take a slight dip though.
Note that if you need ghostwriting, the price is going to be high. It’s what you pay them to give up their authority over the content, so you can claim it under your own name. This is probably where you can consider a Non-Disclosure Agreement.
If it is too high, a byline should keep the price in check. The copywriter gets credit with bragging rights in the portfolio, and you get your content.
And behold! You should now be well on your way to hire a copywriter in a professional and rational manner.
“Hired the copywriter. How to keep track of the writing?”
Glad you asked. Once your decision to hire a copywriter ideal for your job has borne fruit, you must keep your end of your professional bargain. There are a few things you can do to keep the entire deal fair:
- Be flexible with deadlines. Expecting magic to happen overnight happens in fairy tales. Alice has to come out of the Wonderland and think about the time it takes for the copywriter to write amazing articles. If you haven’t given enough information, the copywriter has to spend time researching that information. So being a little bit realistic and lenient about deadlines should help you both.
- Resist hiring more than one copywriter for the same job. Confusion and chaos await if you do.
- Communicate often about the job. If you are not serious about your content, the copywriter has no reason to be, even with a hefty payment. Staying updated about the job has many benefits, including, but not limited to, getting quality content, keeping interest levels up, long term association and initiative.
- Keep it centralized. If others from your team meddle in these things at the project level, the copywriter can get confused. Too many cooks…
- Be critical, but accommodating about any suggestions and feedback. It’s easy to have an ego the size of a blue whale as a tough client. But it won’t get you anywhere in the ocean. Discuss new ideas and ask for explanations or more information if you are not sure, instead of outright rejecting them. Remember that once you have the content, you are free to edit it in any way you please.
- Provide constructive feedback. If your thorough vetting procedure has resulted in a candidate less than ideal, look for miscommunication and misinformation on a priority basis before lashing out. In fact, lashing out will almost always land you in the dump. If you see something that you don’t like, discuss it with the copywriter and suggest ways for improvement or changes.
- Psychology 101 – appreciate good work. We humans crave for approval from our peers. If that peer is a client, the satisfaction is multiplied. More so, if you leave a positive feedback, recommendation or an endorsement. The copywriter gets higher motivation to work for you again, or for introducing you to a ‘contact’ who can solve one of your other problems. There’s much to gain and literally nothing to lose.
Hiring a freelancer is as easy or as hard a decision as you make it out to be. If you use a bit of logic and read articles such as this one (!), the recipe to working with copywriters is right there in front of you, waiting to be cooked into success. Don’t worry too much and dive headstrong in it, knowing that your business acumen should pull you out of any trouble, should there ever some be. It is what you signed up for when you established your business, right?