3 Tips for Hiring + Working with Content Writers
A lot of people hesitate to hire writers to help them in their business because they feel like they will lose the voice they want to keep in their business.
They mistakenly feel that they are the only people who can bring that personality and expertise to their writing. Well, while you and I may be talented writers with the ability to connect with our audiences, allowing ourselves to think we are the only ones qualified to write could end up meaning either:
1. We’ll work ourselves into an early grave.
2. We’re not maximizing all our opportunities to promote and build our businesses through the written word.
Let’s look at just some of the things writing can do for our online business:
- Writing sells our products through pre-selling and sales copy.
- Words help us connect with and sell to our email subscribers.
- Words allow us to build meaningful (and profitable) relationships with our blog readers.
- Words are the building blocks of many info products we can create to sell.
- The written word ensures our customers and potential customers have their questions and concerns addressed.
- Writing helps seal the deal on joint venture partnerships.
- Writing facilitates communication with our assistants, contractors and service providers.
…and that’s just scratching the surface. I don’t know about you, but I can’t do all of that all by myself. I’m guessing that if you think you can do it, you’re working yourself too hard.
So here are 3 tips to hire + work with content writers:
1. Outsourcing your work to a content writer
When first looking for a writer, you might be tempted to go with the cheapest one just to save a few dollars. Cost should not be your only concern. This person is going to be writing as you and you should feel comfortable putting your name on the work they do.
Decide What Type of Content You Need: Are you looking for articles, email messages, reports, ebooks, etc? Not all writers will do all types of content, but many will.
Do You Need Copywriting?: Also, realize that when hire a writer, you are generally just paying for content (i.e. information on a particular topic written in a digestible format). If you want your content piece to be designed to sell your product or service, you either need a content writer who also does copywriting or you’ll need to modify the content yourself.
Ask for Referrals: Talk to other online business owners to see who they use. Finding someone who others love working with is always one of the best ways to find help for your business. Ask on Facebook, ask your friends or JV partners, or members of a forum or paid mastermind group.
Ask for Samples: Due to privacy concerns, ghostwriters may not be able to provide a wide variety of samples they’ve done for clients, but they should have a portfolio with a few pieces of content for you to look at.
Knowledge of Topic: Many topics are easily researched and written about by skilled ghostwriters. If you require specialized knowledge, be sure to seek that out, but be prepared to pay a more premium price.
A Full Explanation of the Writing Process: They should clarify what happens in each step of the process and how they allow for your feedback throughout the project.
What is the Project Turnaround Time?: Find out how long it will take to complete your project and how they handle unexpected delays (i.e. They have a team of writers on hand so another writer can take over a project if needed, etc.)
Test Their Work. Give the writer a small assignment so you can see how they work. Do they take constructive criticism well? Do they make certain they understand the assignment before beginning by asking questions? Do they need hand holding throughout the entire process or do they complete the project with very little direction?
2. Paying a writer
I pay my content writers a flat rate per project, but there are some writers who charge by the hour, and that can get quite expensive if they’re slow writers. So to keep your budget in check, I recommend that you find a writer who charges by the project. Just send the writer all the information about your project, and ask them for a flat rate price for the entire project – that way you’ll know exactly how much it will cost you ahead of time.
Before any work gets started, you should find out the following from the contractor regarding payment:
- What are their rates? Do they charge by the hour, per page, per word, etc?
- Do they offer discounts for on-going work or client referrals? Keep this in mind for future projects.
- When do they invoice clients? Do they bill once the project is complete, weekly, or monthly? What are your payment terms? We’ll discuss how soon you should pay them later.
- Is a deposit required? If so, how much do you need to initially put down? Although paying a deposit is ok, never pay 100% upfront. I like to think the majority of contractors are honest and ethical, but it there is always a possibility a contractor will accept payment in full and then never complete the work. Give them an incentive for completion; payment or remainder of amount due.
- Will you be paying them via PayPal, check, or some other method? PayPal is pretty standard in today’s virtual world, but not everyone does it this way, so be sure to double check.
Beware of Price: It may be tempting to find inexpensive writers when you’re looking for large amounts of content. Although it is not a universal statement, many cheap writing services include the following problems:
- Writers that do not have a full command of the English language and this translates into choppy and often nonsensical content.
- Writers that plagiarize other content by changing a few words or trying to use software to make the content appear original.
- They show samples of work that is not their own and does not reflect the quality they can produce.
3. How to keep an amazing writer on your team
When you’ve found an incredible content writer that fits well with you and your business, don’t let them go (I promise you’ll regret it later if you do)!
Here are some things you can do to keep them on your team:
- Give Them On-going Work – Don’t just throw them a project every once in awhile when you need something and expect them to stick around forever. They can and will move on to bigger and better projects if they don’t have on-going work from you.
- Be Patient – When you start working with someone new, it’s going to take about 30 days for them to learn about your business + expectations, and work out any kinks in your system, answer questions, etc. So don’t give up during moments of frustration and when you’re feeling hot-headed. Take a breather, work through it, and keep moving forward – it will be so worth it in the end.
- Pay Them On Time, Every Time – Swift payment makes them want to work with you more because they know they don’t have to worry about whether they will receive their money.
But isn’t it weird to have other people write for my business?
If you’re still concerned that hiring a writer will mean losing your personal voice, consider these tips to help you get a hand with your writing:
If you put your name to something that someone else wrote (ex. ghostwritten articles), read and edit the content to match your voice. Just because you hire someone, doesn’t mean you throw out control of your business. Save time by having most of the grunt work done and then make it better before you publish it. You can do the same thing using private label rights content, which is actually a much cheaper alternative to hiring a ghostwriter.
You don’t have to put your personal name on all the writing your business produces. Sometimes it’s hard for us to separate our personal selves from our businesses. But we are not our company and our company is not us. Yes, they are very linked together, but just like every other business in the world, we need to realize that there are many faces to our business, including the people who work for us. The same could be said for buying private label rights content, you have the option of putting your name on the content or not.
Hire people or find contributors who represent your similar values and viewpoints.While you don’t have to agree on every fine point (remember, separate yourself from your company…just a little!), you can still build a team that represents your business appropriately.
So please…don’t hold yourself back because you’re caught up in thinking this is a one woman show. A business that grows and survives the test of the time allows for more than one voice. It really does.