Most people, when asked to picture a writer, will think of Stephen King or some pink and fluffy romance novelist, not the kind of person who writes posts like this.
Writing is a creative profession, but for online content to be effective, it needs to be more than creative. It must also tick all the right boxes for SEO purposes.
In this post, we’ll look at how to find the best writer for your needs – and discuss a few of the main writing specialisms along the way.
Bad writing 101
It is fair to say some people can’t write. There are many writers out there who look for writing gigs because they think it’s easy work and they can do it from home. Actually, no, writing is not that easy.
For starters, you have to have a good grasp of grammar and punctuation, which a lot of people don’t have. In addition, even if your writing is technically proficient, it might still be rubbish.
Why is that?
Well, having read an awful lot of bad writing in my time as an editor, I can tell you bad writing is painful. It literally makes my eyes bleed. The commas might be in the right places, but it is more wooden than a chair leg.
Poor writers also have a habit of fluffing out their content, spending several paragraphs making a point they could have summed up in one sentence.
Trust us when we say you really don’t want this kind of content on your website! Sadly, a lot of companies are happy to pay peanuts so a low-quality writer can pull together a puff piece containing a few targeted keywords. Yes, it may give your SEO a temporary boost, but it won’t keep readers on your site. Or encourage them to return.
It may be cheap, quick, and easy to produce poor content, but this is an extremely short-sighted approach. If you want long-term results and more value for your money, you are much better off paying a good writer to produce great content.
The true value of creativity
Don’t dismiss creativity just because you want boring SEO content. Creativity is still important, even for standard web content or product descriptions.
SEO writers can be creative and creative writers can have a thorough understanding of SEO.
Many brands make the mistake of hiring SEO writers because they assume that’s all they need for web content and link building posts. Sure, in some cases, the content you churn out won’t be read by a human, but it’s a bad idea to throw creativity out of the window. Creative writers research topics, weave keywords into their content in a natural way and help you build better relationships with authority websites.
Don’t forget, if you post a really interesting article on a high-ranking blog, there is a strong chance traffic back to your website will increase.
Guest post writing is an underappreciated art form. A lot of guest posts are churned out for low-quality sites, mostly for link building. The quality of writing here is less important, but if you want to build good quality links from high-ranking, relevant websites, you would be wise to pay a good writer to produce your content.
Blogs posted on your own site have your name on them. Low-quality content does not reflect well on you, yet many brands either write their own content in-house (badly) or pay a cheap writer to produce some fluff that contains a few relevant keywords.
Do this and you are shooting yourself in the foot big-time.
Firstly, if you plan on writing your own content, have it professionally edited for grammar/punctuation and flow.
Secondly, if you outsource to a freelancer, please, please, make sure they can actually write!
Sales writing is a specialist niche. The very best copywriters are paid a fortune for their work. It’s money well-spent, as powerful sales copy drives conversions and boosts sales. Even if your budget won’t stretch to the type of person hired by a Madison Avenue ad agency, it is still worth using a professional copywriter if you need sales content.
Paying an inexperienced writer to produce a marketing email will not give you value for money and could even harm your brand.
Nuts & bolts writing
There are some aspects of ‘behind the scenes’ writing that attract much attention but are nevertheless still important. We’ll include meta descriptions, alt-text, product descriptions, and Google snippets in this category.
This type of content doesn’t demand much in the way of creativity, but it’s still important. SEO content needs to be optimised for search engines, so it’s essential that any writer you hire has an up-to-date knowledge of the latest developments in SEO, as well as top SEO tools.
Finding the right writer
Don’t ask Jemima in admin to produce your content. That’s not what you hired her for. If you want quality blogs, kick-ass sales copy, and professionally written press releases, it’s time to hire a pro writer.
Freelancer writers are two a penny. Place an ad on any freelancer for hire website and you’ll be inundated with responses. Sadly, 90% of them won’t be worth the time it takes you to read their pitch.
To find the right writer, pay attention to the following things.
- Pay a fair wage – writing is a skilled profession, so it deserves a fair wage. If you’re not sure what you should be paying a writer, do some research to see what the current going rate is for the type of writing you need. Hint: it’s not £0.50/100 words.
- Be clear about what you want from the writer – make sure the ad is specific about what type of writer you need. If you’re vague, you won’t hear from the right people.
- Ask to see samples of their work – a professional writer will have a portfolio of work to show you. Even an inexperienced writer should be able to provide samples of their work, published or not.
- Give them a trial piece to do (paid, of course) – before you let a new writer loose on your website or marketing content, ask them to produce a trial piece, so you can assess the quality of their work. Once you are happy everyone is on the same page, it’s game on.
- Be nice to your writers – sounds obvious, but you’d be amazed how many companies treat their writers with contempt. Be good to writers and they’ll be there for you when you need urgent content. They’ll also put a lot more effort into the work they do for you.
Good writing is a natural mix of creativity and technical skill, with some SEO smarts thrown in for good measure. Once you have found your go-to writer, hang on to them for dear life. They are worth every penny.
And finally, if you don’t have your guy or gal yet, drop us a line. We have lots of skilled freelance writers on our books, so we can help you out!