You really want to stay ahead of your competitors by producing regular quality content that lifts your business above the rest.
But How Do You Find the Time?!
- Keep dogging on yourself, even through infrequent, unprofessional blogging may do more harm than good to your business brand image.
- Hire an in-house content creator or copywriter, and hand it all over to them gratefully!
- Eschew a full time employee, in favour of a freelance copywriting contract with someone who knows what they are doing, brings fresh eyes to your projects - who you won't have to pay for sick days or annual leave ;-)
Option 3 is where the smart money goes. Hiring a freelance writer for your copywriting and marketing needs takes the weight and pressure off you, and your in-house team.
A reliable copywriter will ensure your business and marketing content is delivered on schedule, optimized for your needs, and professionally polished.
One Small Problem... Most Writers are Flakes
While it makes financial sense to hire a freelance copywriter, the practice doesn't always live up to the idealistic theory.
Worst case scenario - you spend so much time researching, interviewing, and reviewing writing samples (or even re-writing terrible submissions!), that you could just use that time to blog for yourself, or write your own marketing materials in the first place.
Not good. Not efficient.
So how do you ensure you get the right freelancer, right first time?
Here's Some Questions to Help Root Out Flakes!
Watch for vague answers, or a writer who claims to write everything perfectly. A good freelancer will know their strengths and focus on them. And particular types of writing are not always transferable.
Somebody with a background in journalism or writing articles for magazines is often the best all rounder, being used to turning their hand to any topic, and working to tight deadlines.
How comfortable or experienced are you with research?
If your topics are not their primary niche, your freelance writer will need to do proper methodical research to ensure they are up to speed and the content they write for you is fresh for your market. It's worth checking how they respond to the question of research from the start.
Again, a former journalist will be well used to this, and should have an established methodology.
What's your SEO process?
Extensive SEO (Search Engine Optimization) might come with an extra cost, but most quality freelance copywriters will include basic SEO as standard - discuss and note keywords you want to rank for, and optimize titles, headers and web content for your chosen keywords.
Can you describe the proper format for a blog post?
Writing for blogs (and the web in general) is different for other types of writing. Each page or post has to be visually appealing, easy to read and scan, and chopped into bite size chunks.
Look for things like:
- No more than 3 lines of text at a time
- Include one of more pictures
- Grouping of questions and descriptions in rhythmic collections of 3
- Bullet points and lists throughout
- Ensuring a clear call to action at the end of every post
How many hours per week do you typically work freelance?
This will tell you if they are full time or part time, and let you prepare accordingly.
It's not a part time freelancer can't do good work for you, but it would be good for you to ensure that there are strict deadlines, and a very clear revision schedule in place.
It also means they may not be available to provide a quick turnaround on content or revisions you may need in a hurry, say by close of business that day.
Freelance Writing on Spec?
A professional writer won't do it. She or he won't need to!
If you do ask, and your freelance prospect agrees, it means they don't have the samples or testimonials to show you from previous clients, which would prove they have what it takes. That's your rubbish freelance writer, right there.
By all means, at the start just hire a freelancer for a trial period. A couple of days or a couple of assignments, see if you fit each other.
When you've gotten a good response to all the questions above, and you're happy with the first few projects (at least in revised form while you get the hang of each other)... Congratulations!
You've just found yourself a reliable, quality, freelance copywriter, and lightened your workload!