What to look for when hiring an SEO content writer
Great marketing is all about great communication, and it’s no secret that quality content can make or break your success. Your search engine rankings rely on your content. Your user engagement relies on your content. Your credibility and your first impressions rely on your content.
Writing for SEO takes time – whether that's blog posts, web content or beyond. And hiring a content writer means you can channel all that energy into running your business. Here’s how you can get started.
The basics: Finding a content writer
You know you want a trustworthy, reliable content writer who has the skills to boot. But where do you begin to look? You can hire a freelancer through a copywriting marketplace or make a direct callout on Google+, LinkedIn, or Facebook. You can also look into SEO agency’s content creation services. It all depends on your resources, workload, and goals.
Hiring a freelancer gives you a little more flexibility, but it makes filtering out the good from the bad a little more difficult.
A great freelancer will have top communication skills, always honour deadlines, and be open to reworking their style to suit your brand. Finding the right freelancer will take a few steps. The easy part is narrowing down a shortlist based on resumes and cover letters, but once that’s done – it’s time to do a little more digging.
If your applicant hasn’t provided a writing sample or links to their published work, try searching their LinkedIn for an online portfolio. This can be time consuming depending on the length of your shortlist – but always worth it. Once you’ve narrowed it down, send a brief to your writer as a paid trial. Over and above skills and experience, your freelancer should gel with your company’s work ethic and vision.
Searching freelance marketplaces
You can always search on Google or create a public call out, but here are some freelance marketplaces to try, which could make your job quick and easy:
Freelancer is one of the most popular marketplaces out there. You’ll find content writers who specialise across a range of topics. You'll find specific blog, web, and social media writers, as well as all-rounders. Freelancer is incredibly user-friendly, but slightly more expensive. Because of how many writers are signed up to Freelancer, you may experience an overload in responses from your brief. If your business has the time and the budget, this is a great place to start.
Upwork is ideal if you want to pay on an hourly basis. They have a convenient time-tracking tool, and rates are competitive. Like Freelancer, there’s a huge database of content writers to choose from. Because there are no boundary bids – meaning that rates can be incredibly low – you’ll have to be more scrutinising when it comes to finding quality work.
Why ProBlogger? If you’re looking for a freelance blogger who’s well-versed in writing for SEO, you're in the right place. You’ll have to pay up front to post your ad, and then work your rates out one-on-one with your writer. Look out for applicants with experience in writing for SEO. Someone knows how to balance engaging content with keywords is a must. ProBlogger is ideal if you don’t need an all-round web content writer.
Hiring SEO agency copywriting services
If you simply don’t have the time or resources to search for a freelancer on your own, SEO agency copywriting services are a great alternative. Because your writer already works for a credible agency, your content is guaranteed to be top-notch quality.
Another bonus of working with an agency is that degree of limiting your liability. If you’re not happy with your SEO content, or your writer isn’t delivering on outcomes, you can reach out and see if another writer is available. More often than not, your agency will gladly resolve any issues.
And as a plus, agency content writers are experienced in SEO house style and voice. This means you can focus on running your business, without the worry of monitoring content quality.
What to look for in an SEO content writer
The ideal SEO content writer can create interesting, high quality content, which is Google-friendly and subtly integrated with SEO. Beyond knowledge of SEO tactics, they should be engaging writers, dedicated to creating user-focussed content.
Here are some essential skills to look out for:
- Excellent spelling and grammar from the get-go. Errors in cover letters and emails are an immediate red flag.
- Writing that has personality. The last thing your readers want is to be bored – 'dry' writing is a major turn-off, and can really impact your SEO.
- Great communication and availability. It’s all too common that a writer drops from the face of the earth when a deadline is looming. Make sure your writer is reliable, and easily contacted.
- Experience in writing for SEO. If you don’t have the time to nurture SEO writing skills, ensure your writer has experience with keyword research and basic SEO terminology.
Remember, quality comes with a price. If you’re paying dirt cheap for SEO content, there’s no guarantee that you’ll be getting value for money. If you have to go back and rewrite the content, you may as well be doing the job yourself – and for free at that. So don’t be afraid if you have to fork out a little more for quality. After all, content is key to search engine success.
Need an SEO content writer for your website? Talk to one of our SEO specialists about your business needs.
Digital360 on 15 May 2017
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