The age of the internet has created more than just easy access to information. It has created a whole new market for content writers –professional writers for hire who are able to help with various forms of content to help fill those websites.
Hiring a competent writer is an economical and efficient way to fill your website with content if writing is not your forte, or if you perhaps do not have time to fill/maintain it yourself. However, as with any professional service, the term caveat emptor – let the buyer beware – applies. These days, anyone can claim to be a writer.
The web is full of “writer for hire” services, some of which claim to be able to produce up to 500 stories per week for fees as low as $2 per story. For the cost-conscious business owner, this may seem like a great deal. But the old adage of “you get what you pay for” definitely applies. Pay $2 for a story, and you will definitely get a $2 story – one that likely will be riddled with grammar and spelling errors or, worse yet, outright plagiarized. Many writers who claim to be able to mass produce for such small fees often pull content from another website, run it through software called a “spinner”and pass it off as their own. However, new rules for SEO writing through search engines such as Google are cracking down on this kind of content stealing. Websites caught using plagiarized information can be banned from being “searchable” through Google. If a customer can’t find your site by searching for your name or the product you sell, it will definitely hurt your business.
Before hiring any content writer, whether as an independent contractor or through a web writing service you’ve found online, there are a few simple guidelines that can help make your experience a positive one:
Ask for references: Every quality writer has references, whether they are former or current clients, or even other professionals in the field who can vouch for the writer’s
education and abilities. Never hire a content writer without first checking references.
Samples, samples, samples: Quality writers have portfolios full of previous work samples they should be willing to share with potential clients. Ask to see some examples of previous work the writer has done, especially work that relates to your needs. If the writer does not have any samples that relate to your needs, you can always ask if they will do a “test” sample specifically for your needs. This means the writer will take your project and provide a sample of how he or she would perform the work. However, if you choose to use that sample article, be sure to compensate the writer fairly for their work.
Define the project: A surefire sign that a writer is not one of quality is when they tell you “there’s no need for us to meet or talk about your project. I can just figure it out.” Be
prepared to provide a detailed description of the project for your writer, and make sure you are available to answer questions while the writer is working on the project. Any writer who is not interested in understanding the unique needs of each client is not providing quality service, but rather using the “cookie cutter” approach to all work performed.
Click, click, click: Beware of writers who try to coerce you into clickable ads on your content pages by claiming these ads help direct customers to your site. That is a patently false claim. Data has shown that website search engines are more likely to direct potential clients to your page with the use of well-placed SEO keywords than through clickable ads. Clickable ads often are suggested by writers who are not well versed in using SEO key words in their writing. SEO key words are far superior to clickable ads because they will continue to route traffic to your site at no additional cost beyond the original fee paid to the content writer. It truly is the best bang for your buck.
Social Networking: The majority of content writers are well versed in all forms of writing, including populating Twitter feeds, Facebook pages and other forms of social media. Any writer who tells you they do not do social media is not a writer worth hiring.
Once you have found a writer suitable for your needs, the final bit of advice is to put it in writing. A contract which outlines the scope of work to be performed, the timeframe for its completion and the payment to be issued to the provider, is the best way to protect both the client and the writing professional.
Have specific questions about hiring a professional content writer that were not addressed in this blog entry? Please email them to TheWriteReflection and we will do our best to answer them.
Shari L. Berg is the owner/operator of The Write Reflection, and a writing professional for 25 years.