"If you buy cheap, you'll ultimately buy at least twice."
If you want to get the SEO results that you deserve, you need to ensure that you invest properly in qualified SEO content writers.
Unfortunately, it’s not as easy as selecting the first one that you find on Google. It’s pretty difficult. With the increase of Freelance websites, just about anyone can register and classify themselves as a professional content writer. The reality? You’ll struggle to find 5% of applicants which can offer you satisfactory work.
At Paddock Solutions, I have trialled and tested at least a hundred content writers, for some other projects. I have received lots of content that I just had to dispose of, but I’ve also found brilliant writers with the correct experience to do the job.
In this post, I’ll be teaching you the exact methodology that you should follow to filter out the poor content creators, which should leave you with a pool of professionals to work with.
Follow these steps and you should have found your content creator.
Step 1: What kind of Writer do you need?
In order to find what you need, you need to know exactly what you’re looking for.
It might sound like a bit of an obvious one, but if you’re new to finding writers online, there are various types of content creators.
They are separated into two niches, Content Writers & Copywriters.
A Copywriter will be a freelancer that writes pages with an intent to sell. If you have a product, they could write the landing page for that product and increase your sales.
Your content writer will be a freelancer that specifically creates articles, reviews and guides. Think of the content writer as your blog specialist, whilst the copywriter will write the killer content for your main page.
So, if you’re going to be creating a job advert for a freelancer, ensure to state that you need a copywriter.
How do you find the best copywriter?
- The first thing that you need to look at is your budget.
If you’re looking for lots of articles to be created, the cost will significantly increase as you pay per word.
I would be really hesitant with any freelancer that charges less than £0.05 per word created. I’ve used these in the past, to compare quality against other creators.
The difference was astonishing. In my research I found that a lot of the content wasn’t manually hand-written, meaning it had been ‘spun’. Spun content does not read well at all.
- The writer should be fluent in English.
Although they don’t have to be Native English, your writer must be fluent in English. This will save you lots of time, as we’ve tested non-fluent freelancers before, but had to spend lots of time advising them how they should be starting and ending sentences.
Although I like to help people out, when I pay for content, I should be receiving a satisfactory service.
- Subject Knowledge is always preferred.
If your writer has knowledge in the field that you require content, you could be onto an immediate winner. It’s proven fact that writers will be able to write more efficiently when they have clear understanding what they are talking about. This will give your content a winning edge.
Without an understanding of the niche, you could receive very broad information & very low quality articles.
- Experience & Reviews
When you are looking for SEO content, you should be aiming for longer articles. If your writer advertises 500 word articles, I would generally avoid these completely. It’s close to impossible to provide quality content & information in 500 words.
Fortunately, you can see reviews on most freelance platforms, which will enable you to see the service they provide.
Step 1.5: Avoid THESE Copywriters
I’m fortunate now that I’ve got my content writing team. However, I’m writing this one myself, as you can’t beat content that has experience. I could’ve told my team to include the below experience I had, but it’s always better first hand. Here’s what you should avoid:
- A Freelancer that doesn’t read the brief.
If you want good content to be written, you should expect your freelancer to read the Job Listing that you spent time to create. Unfortunately, some freelancers just immediately send a pre-written draft… which is often for a different job. When I was searching for a content creator, around 10% of the proposals came back offering me web design!
- Are they Experienced? Ask for Samples
If you think you’ve found your next content writer, ensure they are experienced in your niche by asking for a sample. They should be able to provide a link to their portfolio, or a specific piece of work which will seal the deal. Again, I was once looking for an SEO writer in a Health & Fitness niche… I received articles about Accountancy and Law.
Step 2: Create a Job Advert for an SEO Content Writer
At this moment in time, you should know what to look for and have an idea of what you should avoid. Now it’s time to create the Job ad.
Ensure that you are prepared by using a template of a Google form, or by using Typeform. Note, it will also mean that you can post this job on multiple sites, without having to worry about Direct Messaging all applicants.
This will save you lots of time & enable you to process the potential writers in a fast fashion.
Include the basics such as:
- Full Name
- Email Address & Skype Contact Information
- Portfolio URL
- Rate Per Word (an Average)
- Writing Specialization
- A File Upload Section (For Uploading Samples)
Step 3: Filtering The Applicants
Step 3 was initially going to be ‘wait a few days’, but I’m going to include it here instead! After you’ve posted the Ad, wait a few days for the applications to roll in. There’s a great chance that you’ll have a lot to sort through, but the work in Step 2 will increase your efficiency dramatically.
Now use the below cheat-sheet to filter through your applicants forms, which should leave you with a handful of the better applicants.
- Cut any Freelancer that hasn’t read through your requirements. If they can’t read your requirements, it’s unlikely that they will meet them.
- Decline anyone that charges less than £0.04 per word. In this range, you won’t find an experienced individual. Instead, you’ll find someone new to content writing, or non-fluent freelancers & automated spinners of content.
- Decline anyone that has submitted their application with spelling mistakes. It’s a tough one, but any content writer should be able to fill out an application form without error.
- Decline anyone that doesn’t have niche relevant content. If you need a Health and Fitness writer, you won’t get satisfactory content from a freelancer that has experience in Television Reviews.
- Decline anyone that doesn’t fit your budget. This tends to be my last step, as if the freelancer has impressive experience, fantastic communication & can provide niche relevant reviews… they may be worth an investment. However, for a long term writer, you can’t pay more than you can afford to.
Once you’ve used the above steps to remove some of the applicants, you should be left with a smaller pool. You can then discuss the project with them & see if they impress you, or test out a few of them.
Step 4: Vet Your Final Applicants & Pick Your SEO Content Writer
Finally, you can vet the applicants and pick your new content writer.
I would be hesitant on giving them an article that you can put straight online, as you aren’t sure yet on the quality that they can provide.
Instead, I would ask them to re-write an article that you’ve already created and published.
I would also ensure that you can create a content plan for them to follow. This will help them, but also save you time answering their questions on the layout etc.
The content plan I have above is something like you’ll need to use, the writer knows exactly what’s required of them here.
Ask the writer for a shorter piece of information on their trial run. There’s no point paying them for a 3,000 word article, if you are wasting your money.
That’s all for today. You now have a fool-proof guide to hiring your next content writer.
Although content is king, it’s not guaranteed to improve your position on the SERPS. Content is a huge part of SEO, but there are other factors, remember.
A good content writer will be more likely to catch the attention of your audience, in addition to the prospect of getting backlinks from authority sources.