With billions of daily internet searches for products, news, and information, few professionals are more coveted in the world of marketing than a talented content writer. They know how to present ideas in a simple, straightforward manner so it appeals to readers, especially those who would be interested in the client’s business. At the same time, content writers have enough personality and style to keep the text engaging.
WHAT CONTENT WRITERS DO
A content writer is a creative professional who understands how the major search engines work and what people are searching for when they visit particular websites. Their job is to ensure that their clients’ content is relevant enough to create interest for consumers, plus answer any of their questions and possibly convert them into a customer. Content writers have a number of skills including:
- Excellent overall writing skills in a number of different styles/tones
- Impeccable spelling and grammar
- A deep understanding of consumers and what motivates them online
- Great research, organizational, and learning skills
- High comprehension of software like Microsoft Word and Google Docs
- Familiarity with keyword placement and other SEO best practices
- Some experience with online marketing and lead generation
- An understanding of formatting articles on the web
Additionally, content writers are passionate learners since they write about a variety of topics and types of businesses. Their ability to take complex information and turn it into easy-to-understand copy is an essential aspect of any project.
HOW CONTENT WRITERS WORK
Content writers work with their clients in order to determine how to bring the greatest possible benefit to potential readers. This requires thoughtful conversations between writers and their clients, plus extensive research to locate the best possible information. Being able to understand business models and the client’s overall goals are also important, so superior communication is always a necessity.
There are a number of different tasks that content writers tackle for their clients, including:
- Core website copy
- Blogs and news articles
- Social media posts
- Content for banners
- Product descriptions
- Case studies, whitepapers, and ebooks
- Company bios
- Landing pages
Some content writers may handle more advanced tasks like preparing ad copy, technical writing, or explainer/video scripts. Others could have backgrounds in marketing, search optimization, journalism, business, or a number of other fields to make their services more comprehensive for their clients.
Considerations for Seeking a Content Writer
There are a wide range of professionals in the field of content writing with varying levels of experience, so it’s important to have a clear understanding of the type of services you’re seeking. For instance, novice content writers may be suitable for writing things like blog posts and product descriptions. It may require a more senior content writer, however, to clearly articulate complex topics for the general public.
5 Questions to Ask
Here are a few more factors to consider to help you find the right content writing services.
- Who is your ideal customer? To give your website content the best possible chance to impress customers, it has to be written in a way that’s relatable. Insurance executives use a different vocabulary than people shopping for car insurance, for example, so it’s essential to identify the proper tone for your audience.
- How much research will be required? Writers can get content information in two ways: by researching it or getting it straight from your company. If you’re not sure what the messaging needs to say, then you may want to state that research will be required.
- How difficult is it to explain your product or service? If you’re in a field where consumers need to be educated about your products and services before they would naturally search for it, then you need to seek someone with industry experience or a veteran writer.
- How well do you understand search optimization? If you don’t have any experience in the field, then it would make sense to look for a content writer that knows about keyword density, anchor text, word complexity, and other SEO requirements.
- Have you determined the best possible site layout? Websites use modules to break up large chunks of content in order to make it more visually appealing. If you’re not sure about the best layout for your content, then consider a writer with experience in website design.
Sample Project Description
Below is a sample of how a project description may look. Keep in mind that many people use the term “job description,” but a full job description is only needed for employees. When engaging a freelancer as an independent contractor, you typically just need a statement of work, job post, or any other document that describes the work to be done.
Title: Seeking World-Class Content Writing for New Fitness Website
ACME, Inc. is looking for a smart, savvy content writer to help us with our new website about outdoor workouts and living a healthy lifestyle. We need 25 core pages written averaging between 500-800 words each, although a few will only require a paragraph or two. Our website is scheduled to launch in about three weeks so we would need the content to be finalized within the next 14 days.
- The writing should get our readers motivated to join us on group activities. This is the main criteria by far.
- We’re seeking laid-back, easy-to-understand writing that gets our point across without sounding too serious. We want to make sure that the content is inclusive to everyone.
- The writing should include best practices in search optimization. We will be relying on your expertise in this area.
- The first round of writing should be finished within the next 8-10 days and a second round of edits immediately following.
Our budget for this project is in the $1,000-1,500 range, and we will pay across several milestones proposed by the freelancer. To submit a proposal, please tell us a little bit about your writing services plus one tip about ways to exercise. We will contact the top three freelancers to schedule an interview within the next 48 hours.
Read this article for more tips on how to write a great project description.
Selecting the Best Content Writer
Since writing is the most important skill, you should look for well-written custom proposals that directly answer each of the questions posed in your project description. Also pay attention for any typos or poorly written sentences since it’s a direct reflection of the work you’ll likely receive. The same goes for any messages or emails exchanged during the selection process; solid professionals will be quick to respond with excellent communication skills.
Additionally, remember that your brand has a distinct personality of its own—even if it hasn’t been actually defined yet. You want to find a writer who can capture the appropriate tone and create content that will resonate with your audience.
Finally, be sure to ask plenty of questions about the writer’s experience and familiarity with your industry. The more comfortable you feel with a writer during the hiring process, the better the overall experience will be in the long run.