Quality content writers can be hard to find. This isn’t for the lack of applicants, college graduates, or people claiming that they can write on sites like Upwork, Freelancer, or any of the other dozens of freelancer sites, we all have to start somewhere. I’m sure that most of those individuals can in fact write. It’s more than just the ability to put word after word in a way that pleases the eye, or at least has a period at the end of it with some sort of coherence to it. It’s about finding one that fits with your organization and with that in mind here are some things to consider when you begin your search.
Do They Have a Voice
The writer should be able to write with a distinct voice. It makes it easier to incorporate the information they are presenting in a way that appeals to the reader when they have a distinct voice and pattern in the way they write. Being able to match up a writer’s distinct tone with your businesses in a way that not only informs the reader but keeps them coming back for more and more is essential. If you are in content marketing you understand this, the dedicated readership, aka traffic, is kind of a huge indicator of success. Well, based off of your contract with a reliable firm at least.
Willingness to Learn
Okay this seems pretty basic doesn’t it? That’s why you should never settle for anything less. If they claim to be a writer they should be constantly reading as is, it’s sort of a part of the deal. Or at least lamenting that they aren’t reading enough is also acceptable. Depending on what you do, whether you are in a niche market or cover a broad range of subjects they better be able to learn everything and more. You should be able to give them topics ranging from HVAC to politics to VoIP, and they should be able to research it and, maybe more importantly, know where to research it. If they consider this a reliable source for a serious piece you might need to move onto the next applicant.
This might be the bane of recent college graduates who are on recently on the job market but it helps. Quite a bit actually. Here’s something that might give you job seekers trying to find what hiring managers are looking some consolance. Experience doesn’t always mean years and years at an agency. That might sound crazy to some people but consider this, freelancers can write up to 40 articles a week for various companies while people at an agency might be only subjected to one niche and do half that amount of work. This isn’t discrediting the agency writer’s experience either, this is meant as a frame of reference and motivation for those who are pushing a lot of content out but might not have the 3 years minimum for a lot of companies requirements.
It also means for those at an agency to keep an open mind. While one candidate has three years of experience at a firm, does it translate to your niche? Does it serve your purpose and help your organization? Keeping an open mind might help ease the process.
Remember, it’s what’s most important to your organization and who would know better than you? These are just places to start and maybe offer a dialogue with you and your team for the writer that will fit.
Put Them To The Test
So you found a handful of people who claim they have what it takes for your organization. Now you can put them through the ringer. There are a few helpful things that you can do to move along.
- You could have them write a mockup article to demonstrate not only that they have a voice but they can get to the heart of an issue and present what is necessary.
- Have them direct you to published material. After all, is one article ever enough to fully judge a person’s ability? Maybe, but just to be safe you can see if they have a personal blog or published links to look at the topics they’ve covered and if they are consistent from article to article.
Whether you are just getting into the hiring period or wondering why you aren’t receiving qualified applicants let this help guide your way. For more resources see the different avenues of hiring below.
For Short Term Contracts:
For Long Term: