As more businesses realize the value in relationship building with their customers online, there’s been a beeline towards the development of content. However, while businesses are willing to invest and spend big bucks on the web developers and graphic designers of the world, they’re shortchanging their writers.
Your writers are the voice of your brand. The visuals of your company, including your website layout and logo, have a great impact on the way your customers perceive you, but it’s the writing that will serve as the direct communication with your audience.
“Content is where I expect much of the real money will be made on the Internet, just as it was in broadcasting”, said Bill Gates, in an article he wrote called “Content is King”. If you expect to pick up clients through your content, then doesn’t it make sense to hire only the best writers? (see more information about the Renown SEO Viral Blogging program at the end of this post).
Here’s a look at the top attributes your scribe should possess and what you should expect to pay for them.
First and foremost, you want to find talented writers. That may sound obvious, but you would be surprised how many freelancers are claiming they have expertise in crafts outside their scope.
Additionally, don’t cheap out. It’ll take you double the amount of time to rewrite someone’s work if you hire an inept writer. Or even worse, if you don’t hire right the first time, you’ll be pressed to find another writer in a short amount of time and pay for the same article twice.
“For my company and for me personally, quality content is everything,” said Samantha Pena, a content strategist for Hudson Horizons. “It doesn’t make financial or mental sense to pay someone for a piece of content, whether that is a simple 400-word article or content for a website, if you have to go back and heavily edit the content.”
You can’t fake passion. If your writer has a genuine interest in the subject they’re writing about, then the readers will recognize that shared passion and feel an immediate connection.
“Check that your candidates are interested in more than a paycheck. They should have an infectious enthusiasm for your field to draw out the best from their sources, build resonance with readers, and go the extra mile for you,” explains Grant Butler from the Content Marketing Institute.
It’s a telecommuting world, which produces its own set of challenges. “… Maybe your office is based out of Sydney, Australia, but the writer you’re working with is based out of Toronto,” Article Writingsays. “There’s little to no face-to-face contact. Even reaching someone in a timely fashion can be a challenge, despite all your instant electronic options.” Therefore, autonomy needs to be high on the priority list when choosing your writer.
Hire writers who understand the value in engaging readers and producing stories that are consistent with your brand.
When hiring a writer, it’s important to make sure that writing is not the only trick in their hat. They need to have an in-depth understanding of the ever-changing realm of online marketing and how to promote content.
“In today’s digital world, SEO is possibly the most important aspect of writing. I am shocked by the number of writers I encounter who don’t know how to do keyword research, how to format writing for SEO, how to write metadata, and how to use keywords in content—where to use them, how many to use, how often to use them, etc. Writing, even great writing, achieves nothing if no one reads it”, says freelance writer Lisa Merriam.
As for pricing, “you don’t have to pay an arm and a leg for content, but it’s important to budget to pay the going rate ($0.50–$2 a word) for high-quality content”, says Debra Donston Miller from Contently. If you’ve done your research to recruit the best writers that suit your brand, and they have all the attributes listed above, pay a price that will put you in a position where you can expect the best results.
In the words of Mark Twain, “The difference between the right word and the almost right word is the difference between lightning and a lightning bug.”
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Alysa Scanzano is a senior writer at Nimble Media. She can be reached at email@example.com.