Having a popular, useful and lucrative website requires relevant content that’s fresh and that incorporates principles of search engine optimization (SEO). With an online trade publication or website, you’re probably already plenty busy with the business and technical sides of running the site that you don’t have time to write optimal content.
Many trade website owners hire content providers to fill this important need. You can find them on freelance bidding sites, by working with a company that provides content creation or by hiring one or more writers as employees of your company.
Here are some tips for ensuring a positive experience when hiring writers.
Remember: Cheap is Often Expensive
Go on any freelance bidding site and you’ll be amazed to find writers who will produce content at unbelievably low rates. Dig a little, however, and it will quickly become obvious why they charge so little. Many of the cheapest writers do not speak English as a native language and the quality of their work can be low. Some use tricks like using a web translator to translate existing articles into another language, and then using the same app to translate it back to English. This creates “original” English language content, but it may not make any sense at all. When you hire writers at very low rates, you often spend more time editing, revising or hiring someone to edit the work than it would have cost to spend a bit more for a competent writer in the first place.
Communications Skills Should Be Evident Off the Website, Too
You assume your writer can communicate effectively in print, but you should also choose writers who communicate well with you. When you first hire a writer, you need to be sure they are easy to reach and answer your inquiries promptly. When you communicate with them about future assignments, changes or problems with the content, you need to be confident that they are receiving your emails or calls and will respond in a timely manner. By the same token, you (or your representative) should respond promptly to their questions so that they can understand the task and deliver what you want.
Hire Through a Content Service or Hire More than One Writer
Good freelancers can get swamped with work at any time, so you can’t just assume that your favorite writer is available to tackle a major project at a moment’s notice. Either establish good working relationships with multiple freelancers or use a content provider that can assign the work to their vetted, proven writers so you’re not stuck with a big project and no writers. The most trusted content providers prioritize hiring writers who understand the fundamentals of SEO or train them in these important concepts.
Make Notes and Consider Creating a Writers’ Handbook
As you continue working with freelancers or a content creation company, you’ll probably notice that some issues come up repeatedly. Write these things down, and consider creating a writers’ handbook or editorial guidelines for your website. This can prevent misunderstandings and help new writers adjust to your needs quickly. Having one of your trusted writers create such a document can save you significant time and hassle when bringing on new writers. When writers know up front which deadlines are negotiable, how often keywords need to appear, and whether you or they are responsible for ensuring there is no duplicate material, your working relationship will be much smoother.
Be Professional and Respectful
Don’t demand the impossible and always pay on time. Bad writers are a dime a dozen, but good ones can and will go elsewhere if you’re late paying, make unreasonable demands or treat them unprofessionally. Good writers listen to what you want and deliver content on time, so it’s only fair that you deliver on your obligations as well. Do this and you’ll be able to retain top tier writers who can help your website get the recognition and traffic it deserves.
Take the time to screen new writers thoroughly, or work with a content provider who takes care of this for you, and you can get on with the business of having the best possible trade publication site.
If you’re interested in ways to monetize your trade website, learn how RealMatch can help.