Recently a very close friend, let’s call her Jenny, asked me out to coffee to talk about writing. Jenny is a marketing professional in the IT industry and, like many marketing departments, her team is time poor.
They lack the resources to spend time producing killer content, and as we all know, content is an integral part in any marketing strategy. Do it right and you’ll reap the rewards. Get it wrong and it’s crickets you’ll hear.
Jenny was in the process of sourcing a freelance content writer to fill the gaps within her team. She was really struggling to separate the pros from the hacks. So, of course she asked me, her trusty copywriting friend, how she could identify a winning content writer.
Jenny’s question went a little like this:
“How can I differentiate between ho-hum content writers and content writers with background knowledge to produce both engaging and educated copy?”
Now, those who work in marketing or have hired a content writer in the past know this is not a simple answer.
There are many considerations when sourcing a stellar IT content writer. I have broken these down into five top questions to ask before hiring your superstar wordsmith.
1. What types of content do you create?
Good content writers should be confident producing a broad range of content types on a variety of topics. A writer who specialises in landing pages for example, might have trouble writing a compelling blog post.
Areas of specialty generally include: white papers, reports, brochures, case studies, eBooks, website copy, blogs and email marketing to name a few. Most copywriters will list at least three of these. Pay particular attention to the ones they emphasise or mention first. Bets are these are their strengths.
2. What industries do you write about?
The best writers know their limitations. For example, here at Mint Content, we’re experts in producing content for the IT industry. However, we would struggle to write exciting copy for the beauty industry.
That’s not to say we couldn’t. We absolutely could, but it’s not our specialty. If you’re after a compelling piece which is written by an individual who’s educated in your industry, you do need to spend some time sourcing an expert.
If they say they can write about ANY topic, ask to see samples of their work so you can authenticate their claims.
3. What’s your writing background?
This step is key to choosing a competent content producer. Check that the writer has relevant writing experience and has written for clients within your industry.
First and foremost, their background should be copywriting with specific knowledge of your industry. They should also have experience producing the content that you need. Technical writers, for example, while very knowledgeable, may struggle to produce engaging, narrative-focused blog posts.
Here at Mint Content, we hail from a journalism background and we’re fluent in tech talk. In short, we’re wordsmiths - and this makes all the difference in crafting outstanding copy.
4. How do you manage heavy workloads?
If you’re like most marketers, workload varies at different times of the year in line with current promotions and marketing campaigns.
Choosing a content producer who can work within your peaks and dips is a really crucial element when selecting a winning freelancer. Check that your writer can scale up content production to meet demand. Award bonus points if they have access to range of skilled writers who can help during your peak times.
5. Tell me about your revision cycle?
If your writer is a professional who takes their work seriously, this should be a robust and structured process.
When working with a new copywriter, they should offer between one and two revisions on their piece, included in their estimate. This shows they are dedicated to producing quality work, even if that means they need to tweak it a couple of times.
If after all of these preliminary questions, you are blown away by the writer's professionalism, experience and willingness to work with you, there’s one last step you SHOULD NOT ignore.
Ask for samples of their work so you can get a feel for their tone, structure and knowledge. Further to this, you can always request a reference from a previous client to ensure their ability to meet deadlines is on-point.
We offer a range of content writing services here at Mint Content, including: content auditing, content writing, LinkedIn and CV reviews and proposals and tender responses. We'd be delighted to chat to you about your specific needs.
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