Where To Hire Content Writers And How To Begin Your Search
Running a business in today’s digitally inclined world requires content and a lot of it.
Whether you operate out of a brick-and-mortar store, do business strictly online or use a hybrid approach, you need digital content to stay competitive. You may have come to terms with this fact, which is great. Now, however, it’s time to come to terms with another one, and that is that you cannot write the amount of content you need to generate results on your own.
You need help, and we’re going to tell you where to hire content writers who can deliver it.
Why Do You Need To Hire Content Writers?
We can go on and on about why you should hire a copywriter or enlist the help of SEO writing services as opposed to doing it yourself. In fact, we have, here, here and here (and probably a dozen other places). However, if we were to condense all those reasons into one, it would be this: Writing is hard. Or, at least, great writing is.
Nathaniel Hawthorne once said, “Easy reading is damn hard writing.” Though he was likely referring to novel writing when he uttered this sentiment, his words could easily apply to web content writing or any other type of brand communications.
The Reality of Content Writing
Creating the type of top-notch content that produces increased visibility, more leads and more conversions takes time. As of 2019, it took the average writer three hours and 57 minutes to churn out an article of value that hit the word count sweet spot for SEO writing, which is between 1,200 and 2,000 words. This time average only includes writing — it does not include the time it takes to edit, optimize, publish and promote an article, tasks that can all add hours to the estimated timeframe.
Assuming you aim to produce three articles per week, you’re looking at spending at least 15 hours on content production each week. Realistically, though, your time investment is likely to be closer to 30 hours. That’s enough hours to constitute a part-time job. You already have a full-time one of those, which leads us to the answer to your question: You need to hire content writers because you simply do not have the time (or, if you’re being honest with yourself, the know-how) to produce the type of useful, relevant and world-class content that boosts customers’ perceptions of your brand.
Where To Hire Content Writers: Know Where To Begin Your Search
Now that we’ve covered the why, it’s time to discuss the where. Where do you hire writers who match your company’s needs? Because of the sheer number of websites, companies and individuals who claim to offer SEO writing services, a quick Google search of where to hire content writers is likely to be of little help. That said, as you sift through the first few pages of the results, you may notice that each website and service falls into one of five distinct categories: bidding sites, on-demand sites, freelancer marketplaces, job boards and agencies. Below is an overview of each, along with a few pros and cons worth considering.
In the early days of content marketing, bidding sites were the most popular of the five types of sites of where to hire writers, as they allowed businesses to access content writers without having to make too big of a time or monetary commitment. Bidding sites connect writers and requestors for a small fee. To find writers, you post a description of the gig along with the parameters of the job, which may include minimum and maximum pay, writing level, deadline and word count, among other pertinent details. Bidding sites give you access to a huge pool of talent and are best for one-time projects. The most popular bidding sites on which to find content writers are Upwork and Freelancer.
Pros of Bidding Sites
- Access to a huge pool of talent
- Ability to complete projects for cheap
- Ability to access writers quickly
- Low level of commitment
Cons of Bidding Sites:
- Top talent typically demands top rates
- Vetting process is often lengthy
- Risk of spam applications
- Writers have zero commitment
- Tax responsibility falls on business owners
- Edits, revisions and optimization not included
With on-demand sites, you post a description of what you want to be written and how much you’re willing to pay for it. Instead of hiring writers yourself, writers who are part of the network can then browse the list of available jobs and choose ones that appeal to them. You have little to no control over who takes on your project. That said, many of these on-demand sites do categorize writers into skill levels. On these sites, you can set a skill level or skill level range for your project, and only writers who meet the skill requirements can access your project. Examples of on-demand writing sites include Content Cloud, iWriter and Text Broker.
Pros of On-Demand Sites
- Often affordable
- Access to large talent pools
- Low level of commitment on your end
Cons of On-Demand Sites
- The risk that your project could sit for a while
- No control over who picks up your project
- Little writer regulation (though some sites kick writers off who fail to meet deadlines or follow through with client specifications)
On freelancer marketplaces, writers advertise their skills and services and businesses can choose among them. These writers generally have confidence in their writing skills and extensive portfolios, as they have put in their time on bidding sites and on-demand platforms. As a result, you should expect to pay a little more for SEO writing services from these writers. However, the cost is well worth it, as you will likely receive top-notch content. The writers on these sites are trying to make names for themselves and cannot afford to deliver low-grade work. Examples of freelancer marketplaces include Fiverr, People-Per-Hour and Guru.
Pros of Freelancer Marketplaces
- Access to large pools of talent
- Ability to assess writers’ skillsets and style before hiring
- Ability to negotiate add-ons, such as editing and SEO optimization
- Likely to receive quality content from writers who care
- Low-level of commitment
Cons of Freelancer Marketplaces
- Many of these sites are unregulated, meaning anyone can advertise him or herself as a writer
- Pricier than bidding and on-demand sites
- Could make the hiring decision overwhelming, as there are a lot of writers from which to choose
When it comes to the question of where to hire content writers, job boards are still some of the most popular options. On job boards such as Indeed, FlexJobs, ProBlogger and Craigslist, you post a description of the open position or available project and individuals submit applications as they would for any other job. You then sift through the applications, possibly hold interviews, and hire the person or persons best suited for the job.
Pros of Job Boards
- Grants business owners complete control over the hiring process
- Guaranteed satisfaction almost every time
- Ability to set the parameters of a project and issue contracts
Cons of Job Boards
- Can come with hefty fees for business owners
- Writers rates are generally higher than those on other platforms
- Vetting and hiring can be time-consuming
- Everything from managing writers to publishing content to issuing tax forms falls to you
Finally, you have your agencies. The services that content writing agencies offer vary, but generally speaking, the agencies take care of vetting and hiring writers and connecting them with businesses that require SEO content writing services. Many agencies, such as BKA Content, train and manage writers so that the only thing business owners have to worry about is submitting a content request form. Like BKA Content, many agencies also offer editing and proofreading services and keyword optimization.
Many agencies require a long-term commitment from clients but not all. For instance, we are, for all intents and purposes, a writing agency, but you can order standalone pieces through our website and without having to commit to anything long-term.
Pros of Agencies
- Everything except the ordering is done for you
- Access to a large network of qualified writers
- Access to managed services
- Potential to build long-term relationships with account managers and writers
- Access to various services, such as editing and different types of content
- Writers are heavily regulated
Cons of Agencies
- Many agencies require clients to sign contracts
- Many agencies do not allow for too much flexibility or scalability
- May pay more for content than you would on other platforms
Content Writers Vs. SEO Writing Services
Though there are five types of sites through which you can hire content writers, at the end of the day, you’re hiring either a person or an agency. Is one better than the other? While there is no yes or no answer to that question, there are pros and cons to each option. To understand what those are, it’s helpful to understand in what ways they differ the most.
Levels of Control
When you hire content writers directly, you have ultimate control. From where to hire content writers to how you go about the process to how you manage the writers, you dictate every aspect of the relationship. When you work with an agency, on the other hand, you don’t get much of a say in anything, including who writes your content. However, you do get to choose which agency you work with. When you choose wisely, you can have confidence that the agency will manage your projects well.
If you choose to work with one or two writers, you or someone within your organization will have to manage those writers. Management entails setting and following up with deadlines, collecting and paying invoices, and conveying and following up with revision requests, among other responsibilities. While this may be doable when you have just a handful of writers, it can become a full-time job once you build a team of freelance talent. If you work with an agency, other the other hand, you never have to worry about managing your writers, as the agency will take care of that for you.
If you choose to work with individual writers as opposed to an agency, you not only have to manage them — you have to manage the content itself. From developing content ideas to optimizing it for keywords to scheduling publishing dates, you or someone within your organization will have to devote substantial time to your content marketing strategy. While you will have to invest time even if you work with an agency, it will be significantly less of a commitment than if you were to try to do everything on your own.
A robust content marketing strategy requires several moving components, including budgeting for and hiring writers, setting goals, developing a strategy, developing content ideas, editing and optimizing content, and distributing content, among other tasks. If you attempt to work with freelance writers on your own, these are all chores you will have to do yourself. However, if you retain the help of SEO writing services, you can take advantage of their many resources.
When you compare apples to apples, paying for the services of an agency will certainly be more expensive than paying for the services of a single writer. However, once you start to factor in everything an agency can do for you that a writer likely cannot, it’s easy to see the cost savings of working with an agency.
How Should You Begin the Hiring Process?
Now that you know where to hire content writers, it’s time to start the actual search and hire process. Having been in the SEO content writing business for over a decade, we feel confident in our ability to vet writers and hire some of the best in the industry. Though “best” is subjective, we feel you can’t go wrong when you use these tips to guide your search:
- Be Clear About Your Expectations: In addition to outlining the specifications of the project or role, clearly state your expectations for the job. If you want a writer who also doubles as an editor, say so. To weed out unqualified candidates, ask for a link to a portfolio or samples upfront. On the other hand, if you’re working with a shoestring budget and want to hire a writer-in-training, specify that the job is for beginner-level only.
- Use Multiple Platforms To Reach Writers: We only touched on a handful of platforms in this article, but there are dozens, if not hundreds, through which you can find freelance writers. Use a mix of platform types — such as marketplaces, bidding sites and job boards — to make sure you don’t miss the perfect candidate.
- Create Application Requirements: Shave off days or even hours of the hiring process by taking some time to establish clear and strict application requirements. In addition to asking for links to writing samples, request a cover letter, resume, links to published articles and a brief writing sample based on a provided prompt. If you want to test candidates’ ability to follow directions, hide requirements in the bulk of the ad. Something as simple as, “Specify in your cover letter on which job board you saw this job posting,” can help you eliminate three-quarters of the applicants.
- Research Potential Candidates: Not every candidate will be who they say they are. Do a little digging on the applicants who show the most promise. See if they are present on other sites, contact previous employers and clients, check out their social media profiles and check out provided publications. If anything seems off, address it in the interview, or continue to look elsewhere.
- Test and Train Your Applicants: Your application process should include a paid test piece or a paid trial period. If candidates make it through the hiring process, train them until they can write to your specifications every time. If a writer continually ignores your requirements or advice, it may be time to cut your losses and begin the hiring process again.
Know When To Delegate Your Content Marketing to an Agency
There are dozens of guides available that tell you where to hire content writers. While informative, they often do little to help streamline the hiring process. If you attempt the search on your own, you will still need to go through the trial and error associated with finding top-notch writers, a process that could set you back months. If you don’t have months to lose, why not rely on an agency with already vetted writers on staff, strict writing standards in place and all the resources you need to carry out your content marketing strategy? See how BKA Content is equipped to serve you — reach out to a member of our team today.