Ever since we started our content agency, people have been asking us how we hire our writers.
Truth be told, we have spent a lot of time and resources to learn how to attract and hire content writers. I’ll be sharing this entire recruitment process with you below.
And if you follow these steps, you are guaranteed to hire the best content writer for your projects.
How to Hire Content Writer
- Find Your Hiring Options
- Decide the Type of Writer You Want
- Write a Job Description
- Find Prospects
- Filter Out the Best
- Conduct an Interview
- Put Them to Test
Confused? Let me better explain these steps in detail:
1. Find Your Hiring Options
The very first step would be to decide whether you want to hire someone in-house, freelance or an agency (like us).
This decision depends on the size of your company and your preference.
We hire a mix between freelancers and some in-house writers. So we are the right people to tell you some pros and cons of each case.
1.1 In-House Writer
This is someone who’ll come into your office and work with you and your team. Needless to say, if you want an in-house writer you need to have the resources i.e an office, computers, etc to handle them.
Also due to the COVID-19 this option is becoming less preferential. A lot of companies are now looking to hire remote employees only.
- They’ll be sitting in front of you so you won’t have to worry about them going missing before a deadline.
- Since they work only for you, there won’t be any distractions.
- Better communication
- Physical access will allow you to get better control over their work.
- Additional costs for management resources like health insurance, etc.
- You’ll have a limited reach as only the people living near your office will apply for the job.
- More time consumptions in vetting, negotiating and then onboarding these candidates.
- You’ll see a lack of diversity in the content with an in-house writer.
1.2 Freelance Writer
Freelance writers or independent contractors are a popular substitute for hiring a full time employee.
If you are confused about which freelancing platform to choose, read my comparison article on Upwork vs Fiverr.
- No additional cost and payments involved
- Easy onboarding
- A large pool of talent
- You can find specific industry experts working as freelancers
- No commitment as you can hire them on a project basis
- There are thousands of freelancers in the market, you’ll have to spend a lot of time finding the best for your business.
- You’ll face issues with communications.
- Most freelancers only give 2-3 revisions per project. So you’ll be stuck with an article even if you don’t like it.
- You cannot pick a freelancer for urgent tasks as their turn around is slow.
This is a rather new option for a lot of small businesses and startups. I did include this here because we offer content writing services but we aren’t the only one. Outsourcing content has become popular since it allows you to delegate tasks to experienced professionals.
- Agencies usually have access to writers from various industries, so you won’t have to waste time finding and vetting the right people.
- You get a dedicated account manager when you sign up to improve communications.
- The quality of work you get with an agency is far better than others. We have editors and account managers who cross-check everything before deliveries.
- It’s a no-risk option, you can ask for unlimited revisions if you don’t like something.
- This option is definitely a little more expensive than hiring a freelancer.
- We do have some limitations, as you cannot request landing pages and email copies from us. We only write articles, product descriptions, and social media posts.
To finalize between these options, look at your budget and the time you want to invest in this process.
Hiring someone in-house is more expensive and time-consuming but it comes with a long term commitment.
Hiring an agency or a freelancer is a good option if you want to pay on a project basis. And you don’t want to spend more time finding, hiring, and onboarding new team members.
2. Decide the Type of Writer You Want
Just like any other professional, writers also come with a wide variety of skills and specializations.
You have to simplify your requirements when you start looking for a writer.
Start by defining your niche and style…
If you have just one website you’ll know your niche and the kind of writing style your audience prefer.
If you have multiple websites you’ll have trouble finding just one expert writer.
The style of writing is also different for different industries. If you are a law firm, you want an expository style content that explains everything in detail. For an e-commerce brand or an affiliate marketer you want a persuasive writing style that can convince the reader to take action and buy your product.
Now you can hire a generalist writer who can write about almost anything. However their content will not be as in-depth as a niche writer.
You can filter out these writers on freelance platforms or hire an agency that might already have access to such a writer.
Then decide on the type of content…
Depending on your business goals you might need someone to write your emails, articles, landing pages, social media posts, etc.
Of course there are writers who can write all of the above. But if you have a specific need only you can hire specialist writers.
3. Write a Job Description
From what I have seen, people don’t take this step seriously. Most of them just copy and paste the JD from someone else’s website.
I never understood why people do that. You have a unique business with its own needs. Why would you go looking for a writer who’s good for someone else?
Another mistake people do here is to expect too much.
If you are a startup you don’t need a writer who is a pro at making a content strategy and analytics. But you’ll need someone who’s flexible. Someone who can deliver a variety of content for your company.
So ideally, this is what your JD should look like if you have small business:
- Produce and research industry-related topics
- Write clear marketing content
- Proofread and edit content before publication
- Coordinate with marketing and design teams
- Use SEO strategies in writing to maximize the online visibility
- Identify customers’ needs and requirements
- A Bachelor’s degree in marketing, english or any related field.
- Excellent writing and editing skills in English.
- Portfolio of published articles
- Familiarity with web publications and Content Management Systems (e.g. WordPress)
- Ability to meet deadlines
4. Find Prospects
Now it’s time to get in the field! You have to find people who are interested in working for you.
You can start with asking for referrals, we always do this.
You’ll find good suggestions here.
If not, you can head to job boards like ProBlogger, Upwork, Fiverr. Post jobs with good JD and see who responds.
If you are looking to hire an agency, a quick Google search will tell you where you can find them.
You can also read my article on the best content writing services in the market.
5. Filter Out the Best
After doing all this you’ll have a handful of candidates for the job. Filter out the best now.
For freelancers and agencies, you can read reviews. See their sample articles.
For some of them you won’t even have to do all this, just read their bio or their websites. If you don’t like what they have written for themselves, they aren’t the ones.
Similarly, you can tell a lot about the writer by reading their cover letters.
Your goal with this step is to filter out at least 5 to 10 candidates depending on how many applications you received. Remember to not shortlist more than 10 writers.
6. Conduct an Interview
There’s only so much you can know about a person by reading about them. You’ll have to talk to them face to face or over a video call.
Reach out to the applicants you shortlisted in the previous step and set a time for an interview. Talk to them about their writing process, why they like writing or maybe their favorite book.
Just don’t ask rhetorical questions like their educational qualification. You already have this information in their resume.
You are conducting this interview to understand how this person thinks and works. See if they are a good match for your business.
This step will help you narrow down your candidates list.
7. Put Them to Test
Let’s assume you were able to reject 5 applicants in the previous step out of 10. Now you have 5 best candidates for this job.
Just put them to a test and hire them all.
No, it’s not crazy and we know you only need one. But this is actually a great process to find that one.
We do this all time. Just take one of your projects, for example, ask for an article about how to hire content writer. Like this one!
Talk to all 5 writers and ask them to write this article and pay them for this project only. Remember to clear this with your writer before you get started. Tell them that this is a part of your hiring process. If you are ready to pay them it’s highly unlikely that they will say no to you.
Even better if you decide to put Digifloat into this mix. You won’t have to spend a dime. We offer a 15 days money-back guarantee so you can assign us your project and see how it turns out.
At the end, you’ll have 5 articles on one topic. All you have to do now is read them all and hire the best.
Congratulations! You Now Know How to Hire Content Writer
This process will take its due time and the final results will always be hit or miss. The important thing here is to not give up and hire just about anyone.
Take your time to decide whether to hire someone in-house, freelance or just completely outsource it. Establish clear goals for your organization. Don’t go about it just like everyone else.
Do this and then start posting jobs, reading reviews, and interviewing.
And if you want to save this time, hire us! We have already found and employed the best content writers in the industry.