Part 1 – Hiring a writer
So you have finally made the big decision: you will hire an outside writer to improve and expedite your small business communications and marketing. Perhaps it is to whip your web content into shape? Drive better results with sales collateral or an email campaign? Or maybe you want to create a whitepaper, blog series or industry article to underscore leadership in your field of expertise?
The decision to invest in a quality content writer is well-justified. 74 percent of marketers claim they could drive more than twice as much ROI, lifetime customer value and “brand lift” if they had an expert content team at their disposal, according to a 2015 digital marketing survey. I would argue that one savvy content writer can often generate similar results, depending on the needs of your business.
This three part series aims to demystify the process of working with a writer. I will outline the common pitfalls, and arm you with some guidelines to ensure the best kick off to your new supplier relationship.
Sourcing the best writer for you
There are many ways to develop a shortlist of writers from which to choose. LinkedIn is one. My best recommendation is to get referrals from your industry peers and professional network. A writer who has already delivered to expectation for your small business colleagues is more likely to be a low-risk choice for you. Be sure you review their samples and past clients which should be posted online to get a sense of the writer’s style, experience and capabilities. The professionalism of a writer’s website will also say a lot about the type of content they will generate for you. Don’t forget to read through their testimonials from past clients – which should be plentiful. Oh – and be sure they have an understanding of the small business world!
Budget first, brief later
Talking money is always the scary part – but it must come up early in the dialogue. It is a tremendous waste of time for both you and the prospective writer to waste lengthy words, emails and time before discovering both parties are separated in budget expectations by $100s or even $1000s of dollars. The writer’s availability to meet your project deadlines are another aspect to candidly discuss early to avoid disappointment. Do you need this writer to turn around for you overnight? Or over a reasonable period of days/weeks? This too could affect price.
Working with the right writer, can be a wonderful experience. Be sure you select a writer you instinctively like, and one with whom you have a natural and easy dialogue. After all, it’s all boils down to good communications, doesn’t it?
Stay tuned for part 2 of this series: ‘Briefing and managing a writer’ – coming soon.
Laura Ranieri of CopyBard Writing Services is an award-winning Toronto-based copywriter with 20-plus years of experience writing online, corporate and marketing communications and creative campaigns. She continues to service a wide range of small business and big business clients in the finance, professional services, technology, travel and cultural sectors.www.copybard.com