How to Find Your Dream Content Writer When You Don’t Know What You’re Doing
By Patti Podnar
When my oldest was about 4, he and a buddy decided the town on his train table needed a snow day. Naturally, they went to the pantry and grabbed the salt. Not the salt shaker, but the big container you use to fill the salt shaker.
Salt was everywhere. In the buildings. In the crevices where the pieces of track connected. In the kids’ hair and clothes. Everywhere.
That’s the memory that comes to mind when I think about small businesses tackling content marketing. Sometimes a task seems so huge — so overwhelming — that you don’t even know where to start. You don’t know which questions to ask, much less where to find the answers.
That’s what I’m going to help you with today. We’re going to start at the most basic type of content marketing: written copy for your blog and/or website. And we’re going to assume that you’ll outsource (62% of companies outsource at least some of their content marketing), because you probably wouldn’t be here if you had a professional writer on staff.
So how do you go about finding the Mary Poppins of content writers? Let’s take a look.
How to find your dream content writer
Step 1: Decide what you want a writer to do
I know, I know…you want them to write. But what do you want them to write? And is that all you want them to do?
Some content writers work strictly from a content brief: You get exactly what you ask for. Others offer suggestions on how to make your content even better. And some start from ground zero, helping you figure out what you want to say and why you want to say it.
Which is better?
That depends. If you’ve already done the ground work — focus groups, brainstorming sessions, high-level approval and budget meetings, etc. — somebody like me would drive you crazy, constantly asking, “But what about…?” If you know exactly what you need, the last thing you want is somebody questioning you every step of the way.
On the other hand, if you’re just now in the “I think we need a blog” stage, a content writer who offers strategic input could spell the difference between success and failure.
It really comes down to this: Do you want somebody who churns out really good content to your specifications, or do you want a collaborative partner who can offer guidance? Either answer is fine, but if you don’t ask the question before you hire a writer, you’re probably not going to be happy.
Step 2: Set your budget to fit the type of writer you need
I know budgeting usually works the other way around, but you get what you pay for. If you know you need a content strategist but can only afford to pay $50 for a blog post, I’d suggest holding off until you can pay more instead of wasting time on content that’s not going to accomplish your goals.
On the other hand, if you just …read more
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