Original content is the driving engine behind the internet. It’s not enough to simply design a website, find a hosting service, and expect the online traffic to come pouring in.
Where the internet is concerned, the phrase “If you build it they will come” has no validity. Websites need a steady stream of unique and exciting content to drive their search engine optimization strategies, and to bring traffic to their virtual doors. But creating original and engaging content is no easy task, and being a savvy business owner and webmaster does not necessarily translate to being an effective writer.
That’s why many businesses hire freelance writers to supply the original content they need to keep their websites active and visible on the world wide web.
What should you look for in a freelance writer, and how do you know your getting your money’s worth?
If you’re in the market for a content writer for your website, consider these helpful tips to help you separate the wheat from the chaff.
Review the Writer’s Work
Any good freelance writer should be able to supply you with samples of their work for review. A respectable portfolio should include a selection of both long form and short form articles.
The best writers can tackle a variety of topics, so should be able to produce samples of their work from different niche industries and markets. If the writer you are interviewing is hesitant to supply samples of their past work, dismiss them and move on to the next applicant.
Consider the Writer’s References
Professional freelance writers should be able to supply you with a number of work references. Just as you would with any job applicant, you want to contact their references and ask about the writer’s past performance.
Do they deliver on time? Is their copy clean and ready for publication, or does it need major editing?
Remember, the content writer is there to make your life easier, and if you have to constantly demand rewrites, or spend hours editing the articles, you may not be getting your money’s worth.
Gauging the Writer’s Rates
In the world of content marketing, as with any other type of business, you generally get what you pay for. If a writer’s work comes cheap, there’s a good chance that they are going to supply you with low quality, and possibly even plagiarized, content.
Search engines have become highly sophisticated, and they can recognize poorly written content. They have also become very sensitive to content that has been lifted from other sites.
Hiring a writer because they come cheap can open your website up to penalties from Google and other search engines if the content you are publishing is deemed sub par or stolen from other websites.
Audition Your Prospective Writer
Once you’ve narrowed down the candidates for your writing position, assign them a couple of sample articles. This will give you an opportunity to judge their turnaround time, their response to directives, and their understanding of your website’s needs.
When reviewing the sample assignments pay close attention to formatting, grammar, spelling, and general readability. Use one of the many online plagiarism tools like Copyscape to make certain that the content is original, and has not been lifted from another online source.
Work Closely with Your Writer
Original content is an important part of your website’s SEO strategy, and the writer you hire will become a valuable part of your optimization team. But remember, writers can’t give you the quality content you need if they are working in a vacuum.
Keep the lines of communication open, whether it’s by email, IM, or telephone, to ensure that you and your content supplier are working in sync for the betterment of your website. The freer the communication, and the more feedback you give your writer, the better the final product.
The SEO landscape is changing, and Google and other search engines are placing an even greater importance on unique and engaging content that offers real value to their online users. They really always have, but Google’s Panda update really drove this home.
Now, more than ever before, content truly is king. If you’re looking for a writer to supply content for your website, it is important to take the time to find the best possible fit for your company.
Conduct a few interviews, review the applicant’s work history, and look for the writer that can give you the quality copy you need on schedule and on topic.