Finding good writers is harder than you might think. At first glance, writing looks like something that pretty much anyone can do. We all spend years in school learning how to write. How hard can it be? Anyone can do it, right? And indeed, the blog writing services industry is decidedly saturated. There are thousands of people who write on a freelance basis.
And yet, if you’ve had bad experiences trying to hire freelance writers online, you’re not alone. There are some fantastic writers out there, born wordsmiths whose eloquent prose and well-structured reasoning take your breath away. But for each one of those, there are at least a dozen who range from mediocre to downright awful. Plenty of people, especially small business owners and affiliate marketers, have trouble finding and retaining truly good writers.
Why is it that you can’t find anyone decent to create stellar content for your business? Well, you’re probably doing something wrong. That’s okay, though. You can change your approach to hiring, and find a writer who’s an awesome fit for your brand. Here are some of the most common mistakes that business make when they’re trying to hire a writer.
1) Your budget is too low.
There’s no easy way around this one, and it’s one of the most common reasons why people have trouble finding good writers. Good content isn’t cheap, and below a certain price point, you will have problems finding a decent writer. You’ll have a really hard time if what you’re offering basically comes out to less than minimum wage.
Also, it’s not always wise to simply go with the lowest bidder. Having a limited budget is totally understandable, and it’s something everyone deals with. But the cheapest service providers are usually cheap for a reason.
2) You’re using content mills, rather than working with a writer or a copywriting agency directly.
Content mills are large platforms that allow you to request content. You can specify your word count, the level of writer you need (which affects the price), and any relevant keywords. On the other end of things, a freelancer on the site takes the gig and writes your content for you. Sounds awesome, right? Easy, streamlined, and highly accessible. But unfortunately, these platforms aren’t known for producing a stellar quality of work.
Here’s the thing: freelance writers actively encourage one another to avoid those platforms. Go to any forum for freelance writers and post a question about writing on content mills. You’ll get the same piece of advice from the other writers: “Get off of the content mills.” As a result, the truly skilled writers don’t stay there for very long.
3) You’re not seeking out someone who specializes in your industry or niche.
A lot of online content is written by people who have absolutely no idea on what they are writing about and if someone doesn’t really understand a topic, they’ll generally write your content based on information they can find quickly through a couple of Google searches. This results in content that rehashes what everyone else has already said. That doesn’t provide much value.
Someone with a genuine understanding or your niche or industry can provide actual insight, beyond what they can scrounge up by Googling the keywords relevant to your industry. Most freelance writers specialize in one or more subject areas, about which they’re generally quite knowledgeable. Some primarily write health and medical content, others focus on tech, and some channel their passion for design. Whatever industry you’re in, it’s possible to find someone with the knowledge, passion, and expertise, necessary to create truly great content.
4) You’re not looking for someone with the skill set for the kind of writing you need.
Not all types of writing are same. Writing a strictly informational SEO-friendly blog post for a local plumbing company is very different from writing a video script or an email newsletter. Someone whose professional experience mostly consists of SEO blog content might not necessarily be adept at creating persuasive sales-oriented copy. When it comes to digital marketing, the line between “content writing” and “copywriting” can be a bit fuzzy, and many writers do both. But with that said, you want to find someone whose portfolio demonstrates aptitude for the type of writing that you need.
5) Your job descriptions aren’t thorough or informative enough.
If you’re posting to bidding platforms like Upwork, or you’re using something like the Problogger job board, you need to describe what you’re looking for. The more detailed you are in your job description, the better. Also, it helps a lot if you specify a budget. If you don’t, plenty of would-be applicants might assume that you’re looking for the lowest bidder, and that your project isn’t worth their time.
Finding the Perfect Writer
If you’re having trouble finding a good content writer, you might be going about it all wrong. There are plenty of places to look online, from well-known standbys like Upwork to smaller niche forums. If you seek someone with the right knowledge and skill set, and you set a budget that makes sense for what you need, you’ll have a much easier time finding someone with real talent.