How to Hire Content Writers

Learn how to build a content marketing strategy, hire high-quality content writers and measure your return on investment over time.

Justin Kuepper

Most business owners recognize that content marketing is a great way to build relationships and generate leads.

The problem is that you cannot be spending all of your time writing content and growing your business at the same time.

You may have hired a freelance content writers in the past using services like Fiverr or Upwork, but the content quality rarely matches up to your expectations. Visitors these days can smell fluff content a mile away — and it can hurt your brand.

Writing Styles

Let's take a look at how to hire content writers the right way and hold them accountable for producing high-quality content.

Start with the Process

I have been a freelance writer for more than a decade and have worked with many different companies and agencies along the way. While it might sound straightforward, content marketing involves much more than writing a blog post.

My typical process looks more like this:

  • Keyword Research: Find keywords that generate a sufficient amount of traffic, but not so much competition that you'll never stand a chance at ranking in SERPs.
  • Topic Research: Discover what questions are people asking about those keywords and the context in which they're making the search queries.
  • Writing: Come up with a unique angle that you can take on the topic and real-life examples to support it—in other words, don't write fluff content.
  • Lead Generation: Come up with some kind of deliverable or offer that you can incorporate into the content to drive email leads or signups.
  • Media Development: Create a unique header graphic, social media graphics, infographics and any images in the content.
  • Editing: Make sure the copy is free from any spelling or grammar errors. Also, have someone proof read it to make sure it flows.
  • Promotion: Schedule social media posts and a newsletter, reach out to build backlinks and promote it in other ways.

Before you hire writers, it's important to have a plan in place to maximize the value of the content that you produce. You don't want to spend $500 having a solid writer create an article and drop the ball because you didn't spend another $20 for a proofreader or compelling social media graphics.

You should also think about how to manage the content marketing workflow. I typically use Trello to keep everyone on the same page with columns for each step of the process and cards for each article in production. You can also use CoSchedule or countless other content calendar services.

Where to Hire Writers

The easiest way to get started with content marketing is to hire a content marketing agency rather than hiring individual content writers. That way, you don't have to worry about vetting writers, coming up with topics, and managing every aspect of the content marketing process. The only drawback is that it costs a bit more.

AudienceOps is a great example of a content marketing agency that handles everything from idea generation to promotion for you, so that you can focus on your business and put content marketing on autopilot. You hop on the phone for a couple introductory calls and the rest is email approvals. They even handle setup on your blog.

If you do hire writers, you should focus on finding domain experts. The easiest way to find those expert is using platforms that already have vetted writers and looking for those that work with the leaders in your space. You can also browse authority blogs and reach out to writers and contributors manually.

Scripted is a great example of a freelance writer marketplace where you can find experienced writers in a given niche. While not every writer is going to be the best, you can read reviews and easily find the ones that are churning out top-notch content.

Assessing Your Efforts

The vast majority of businesses fail to review their content marketing efforts on a regular basis. In fact, 99% of clients that I've worked simply assume that their content marketing spend will pay off over time.

That's dangerous thinking for a couple of reasons:

  • You could be working with freelance writers that are churning out fluff content; you may not be identifying strong keywords to target; or, you might not be effectively turning traffic into leads. These efforts will produce a very low return on investment.
  • You could have an extremely successful content marketing campaign, but since you don't know it, you're still wasting money on pay-per-click ads when a higher return on investment is possible by investing more in writing.

I've seen both ends of the spectrum.

Google Analytics Dashboard
A Simple Google Analytics Dashboard

You should take the time to setup Google Analytics dashboards that at least track organic page views from your content marketing efforts over time. If you're not doing this, I encourage you to take our free e-course to get started and you'll receive our Google Data Studio template at the end! Sign up here.

If you don't have time to view a dashboard, you can also setup weekly email alerts to show you trends.

The Bottom Line

Content marketing is a great way to generate leads and build a relationship with your audience. When hiring content writers, you should ensure that you already have a process in place to handle the other 90% of the research, production and promotion steps. The good news is that there are several agencies that can help along the way.

It's equally important to ensure that you're assessing your content marketing efforts over time to ensure that you're not wasting money.

Measure Your Content Marketing ROI with Google Analytics

Our free 5-day e-course will guide you through the process of building custom Google Analytics reports that deliver insights into content quality and help you measure tangible ROI.

WordReturn helps entrepreneurs and business owners quantify the return on investment for content marketing campaigns.

Justin Kuepper