It’s important to avoid hiring inexperienced writers, particularly for business content. Done poorly, content writing can be money down the drain with no discernable impact to your business, and worst case can cause damage to your reputation!

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The internet made it possible to access the global talent pool for almost any job, but it also made it difficult to find the real talent among them.

So now, finding a really good content writer can seem to be an impossible task!

Anyone who writes, by definition, is a writer. But that doesn’t mean they’re any good at it!

When you search for talented writers online, you’ll often stumble across many who lack the skills or experience for what you need, before you find a truly gifted writer.

Which wastes your time and money!

So, here’s how you can avoid hiring inexperienced writers and tell if your content writer is good before you invest any money or time onboarding them:

  1. References
  2. Portfolio/Samples
  3. A Refined Process
  4. Clear Communication
  5. Some Form of Specialisation
  6. Problem-Solving Advice

References

A good writer will always have experience, and be able to back it up with references from their previous clients or bosses. Often, you will be able to see reviews from previous clients on various freelance platforms if the writer uses them, or testimonials on their own website.

You might also get insight into additional information such as their success rates, rejection rates, or weekly capacity and in some cases be able to contact the writer’s previous clients and ask how satisfied they were with their writing.

*There is a large contrast between hiring employee content writers who will often have traditional references, over freelancers who usually have testimonials. So consider this when asking for them.Important to Note

Portfolio/Samples

Always ask a potential content writer about their portfolio or samples of their previous work that they can share with you. Ideally, they will have examples in the same industry or type you require, but try to avoid dismissing them immediately if they don’t. You can always ask for a short, quick writing sample for your particular industry to prove they can do the work.

When you are inspecting their work, be aware that it might not be under their name, as they might have ghostwritten it. But, be sure to check the process they had with their client to create the piece! Also, it’s wise to do a plagiarism check using something like Copyscape to be sure the work(s) hasn’t just been copied or spun from a random website. Avoid hiring inexperienced writers who are trying to pass off plagiarised work as their own! 

Some writers have to work under a non-disclosure agreement which prevents them discussing their clients or showing you specific work done by them. If this is the case, you can always ask for a short trial period or reduced rate samples as proof of concept. It’s then up to the writer whether they wish to do this or not.Point to Note

A Refined Process

Only someone with experience will have a process in place for their services and be able to ask all the right questions needed. For example, they might ask about your business’:  

  • Industry
  • Tone-of-voice
  • Marketing funnel scope
  • How your desired content ties in with the marketing strategy
  • Your own process for getting content written (what you have in place already)
  • The call-to-action or sales point you’re hoping for

Plus, you should always ask your potential writer about what is included in their services. For example, ask whether they accept revisions or edits included in the initial price, (or if it’s extra.)

You should to hire writing services that will cover all your content needs, not just content creation as it’s the most cost-effective for you. Most writers have ‘bolt-on’ services such as proofreading your existing content or copy editing various posts on your website to fit with your plan and goals of streamlining it all together.

Clear Communication

No writer can just blindly jump into business writing without knowing their client first (you should avoid inexperienced writers who do!) This is why they will always take the time to get to know you and your requirements better. A writer will show genuine interest in your business even before you hire them.

My absolute pet hate is content writers who aren’t clear or don’t communicate well, because ultimately, their job is to communicate with your audience. If they can’t communicate with me, it’s unlikely they’ll capture what I want when writing. 

So, if it’s not easy to give them work and get more information out of them, avoid them!

Some Form of Specialisation

Whilst most writers can work on a range of subjects from different industries, they are not equally proficient at all of them. Ask the writer about their specialty fields to see whether they are a good fit for your needs.

Some industries require more specialised content or terminology than others and this will play a role in finding someone who fits! Just be aware that most great content writers can be adaptive! The breadth of their portfolio will give you insight into how flexible they really are.

Offer Problem-Solving Advice

Those with experience will be able to take a scan through your existing content and offer suggestions that fit with your goals or show you how they can take over the creation process.

But, what if you have no content at all?

In this case, your content writer should be able to help you make sense of your brand, industry and written identity that can connect you with your audience. Offering suggestions on where to start. 

Note that some of these services may be paid for as consultancy and strategy sessions. But, content writers should be able to give you an idea to their expertise in their strategic area in a discovery call, meeting or in first discussions.Important to Note

 

Ultimately, finding content writers can be difficult, because of how fluid the position and need for them are in your business. But, focusing on the above areas should help you narrow down your list and avoid hiring inexperienced writers, wasting your time and money in future!

If you want to talk about your content needs and actually avoid hiring inexperienced writers, contact me directly here, and I’ll show you how easy the process should really be! 

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