"When you’re thinking about searching for your word wizard, consider what kind of content you’re looking for, the experience (and proof) your candidate(s) has (have) with that content, and the results of their work."
Want a fab content writer to take over your wordsmithing and content generation? Then you need to know what kind of content writing you are looking for.
Sure, your exceptional content writer needs to have command of the written word. They also need knowledge of your business and your customer, and some understanding of copywriting and ghostwriting principles. But you need to know what kinds of content writing they have experience writing. There’s all kinds of content. Not every content writer has written in every medium.
When you’re thinking about searching for your word wizard, consider what kind of content you’re looking for, the experience (and proof) your candidate(s) have with that content, and the results of their work.
What Kind of Content are You Looking For?
Content is information. In our digital age, the content that populates the online space is often written and comes in a variety of forms. More than that, understanding the purpose of the content is critical to its quality. Most content is intended to speak to a particular audience - which could range from current clients to potential clients, or from employees to team members.
The success of the content isn’t just about knowing the intended audience. It’s also about knowing how to write the type of content being requested. A blog post isn’t the same as a LinkedIn article or a white paper. A video script isn’t the same as a podcast episode’s show notes. Social media copy isn’t one-size-fits-all - the formats and best practices change based on the platform. Website copy can differ in style and structure from a single landing page for some individual promotion. The list goes on.
As such, finding the right content writer for you may not be just about their writing skill but about what kind of content writing you’re looking for them to provide. There could be an exceptional social media copywriter who stinks at writing blog posts. Someone who is amazing at journalistic-style LinkedIn articles but lacks the ability to capture the conversational tone and nature of a nurture email. Know what you’re looking for so you get the best of the best.
What Experience do They Have?
This means that you need to know exactly what you’re looking for in content and whether your writer has experience in writing that kind of content. When you set up your interview or complimentary call, consider asking these five questions:
Do you have any experience writing [insert type of content writing you’re looking for]?
How long have you been writing [insert type]?
What are your preferences? Any types of content writing you prefer doing over another?
Which types do you believe you excel in? Which do you feel need improvement?
Can you share examples of [insert specific types you wish to see]?
Examples of their written work are one of the best ways to assess whether their skill meets your expectations. They could have answered all of the questions well, but then when you see their writing you disagree. Or, vice versa. They answered the other questions with little specificity or confidence, but their samples show they’re an exceptional writer you can’t wait to hire. Also, be prepared that the candidate may need some time to collect and send examples. Your potential writer may want to go back to their current or prior clients for permission to share the work they’ve produced under that professional relationship.
What are the Results of Their Efforts?
Lastly, you should consider what the results are of the content writer’s output - both quantitatively (if possible) and qualitatively. If the content writer has written a lot of emails for people, you may want to ask what their average open rate is for the emails they’ve written. Good open rates are often a sign of a writer who knows what they’re doing. Open rates are one example of a quantifiable result of the content that speaks to its (the content, and therefore, the writer’s) performance.
Another example would be the number of sales conversions after an email sales sequence. After x number of people on a list received a five-email sequence promoting a course, what % of those people actually purchased the course as a result of the emails they received?
For qualitative results, you may be interested in knowing the perspectives of the writer’s prior clients. What do they have to say about working with this writer? What would they say about the soft outcomes of the content? Prior clients may say that while open rates seemed low, they felt their engagement in other ways felt high. Perhaps they received more people actually responding to them directly, or following them in a Facebook group, or commenting on their blog posts, or actually signing up for a program.
Sometimes qualitative data is better and more authentic than stats and analytics which only offer a part of a picture. So ask the content writer about what feedback they have received from their prior (or current) clients about their content writing.
If you’ve found a really exceptional content writer, they can write in a variety of forms well, have the experience and proof to back it up, and awesome results to show for it. The key here is in knowing what kind of content writing you need and knowing your content-writer-to-be can write it. Then, once you’ve found that unicorn content writer, the next step is successfully onboarding them. Pretty soon you’ll be churning out fabulous content without having to even lift a finger (or a pen).