Serious about promoting your blog and gaining traction from it? Then you know how important it is to create new, useful, and relevant content for your audience. Good blog content is catchy, interesting, revisited, and increases readership, followers, and customers. However, it’s an uphill battle to find and hire blog writers who can deliver.
Especially so because every blog’s goals, audience, and voice are different. An experienced writer who can do justice to your blog should be knowledgeable in your domain, understand your blogging strategy, and quickly adapt to your process.
Now when it comes to hiring blog writers, there are multiple ways you can approach it. Are you looking to hire bloggers on a freelance basis? Are you looking to hire a content writer in-house? Or do you want a mix of both? This decision will depend on your content marketing budget, your existing team’s capabilities and bandwidth, your content goals, and a few other factors.
The way you work on your blog will also vary depending on which approach you take. For instance, working with a freelance blog writer, who may or may not be a part of your team for a long duration, will be quite different from managing an in-house blog writer.
With this guide on how to hire a blog writer, we aim to provide you with a practical and workable process to get rich content for your blog on a consistent basis, whether you hire freelance or full-time writers
How to hire a blog writer in 4 steps
Good blog writers are not very hard to find if you know where to search. There are several platforms where you can hire professional blog writers without breaking the bank. To hire bloggers for your in-house team, you may need the help of a job board or a hiring consultant. In either case, you need to ensure that you pick the most reliable platforms so the talent pool you get access to is up to your standards.
So without further ado, let’s look at how you can hire a blog writer in 4 simple steps:
- Choose the Right Channel to Hire Blog Writers
- Set Your Blog Goals
- Evaluate, Select and Establish Relationships With a Regular Set of Writers
- Pay Your Writers and Invest in Regular Training Programs
1. Choose the right channel to hire blog writers
Where to hire blog content writers? Here are the three main channels to find your blog writers:
- Freelance writer platforms
- Content agencies
- Job advertisements (to hire in-house or freelance writers)
There are pros and cons associated with choosing each of these channels. Understanding these pros and cons will help you make an informed decision regarding which channel to pursue. The decision to pursue a particular channel will also depend on your blog goals and how best they can be served with these options.
A good strategy, if you have the time and bandwidth, is to do small trials using all 3 options and see what suits your requirement the best. The best way to do this is to schedule these trials in order of your preference.
i. Hire blog writers on freelance writer platforms
Freelance writer platforms are websites or applications that allow businesses to get content from a large pool of freelance bloggers, and a place for freelance writers to find writing work.
How they work:
Different freelance platforms have different approaches to connecting a business and a blogger. For instance, some platforms like UpWork and Freelancer.com allow you to post projects and get a fixed cost or an hourly rate on these projects.
At content marketplaces, like Narrato Marketplace, your order for blog content is automatically matched to the best and most qualified writers from a large pool of experienced content writers. Narrato Marketplace has thousands of quality vetted freelance writers experienced in blogging, copywriting, social media content, and other formats.
Working with a freelance blogger on a platform like this is a lot safer as there is much better quality control and the platform is dedicated to content creation and marketing, unlike Upwork or Freelancer which do not have a specific niche.
There are other content writing services too that let you hire freelance writers, but often these services can be expensive. The whole purpose of hiring a freelance blogger is to save on costs while maintaining the consistency and quality of content. If you have to dole out a huge sum to hire blog writers on a freelance basis, it defeats the purpose.
Narrato Marketplace charges you very affordable writing rates starting at just $1.9 per 100 words.
Moreover, some content writing services have rigid rules around revisions and rewrites. On Narrato Marketplace, however, you can have unlimited revisions on your content draft and accept the content only when you are 100% satisfied with the outcome.
Pros of freelance writer platforms:
- Freelance writer platforms allow you to choose and pick from (or get matched to) a limitless pool of writers worldwide, ranging from newbies to experts.
- A freelancer frees up valuable office space and gives you great flexibility in terms of managing your workforce.
- Freelancers are often subject matter experts in more than one field.
- You get started almost immediately with freelance platforms and start receiving content in no time.
- Good freelance writer platforms let you pay only for the content that you approve and like. This hedges you against bad-quality content.
- There are no long-term commitments or contracts.
- Scaling up content production is usually easy.
Cons of freelance writer platforms:
- Freelancers might be unavailable to work solely for you on a regular basis or until your project is complete.
- Many freelancers charge extra for additions and deletions to the content they create, especially if you’re not hiring from a reliable freelance platform.
This varies depending on how the platform operates. Some are more open-ended hiring platforms that allow you to set your own price. Some let you invite bids, while others work on fixed writing rates and word count depending on the level of expertise of writers. You can get content for as low as 1cent/word or pay 20 times this rate. It’s a wide range and you can decide how much you want to pay based on your marketing budget and blog goals. Though, it is often believed that the price is reflective of the quality you receive, good content does not have to be incredibly expensive. Go for a freelance platform that lets you have a trial run before signing up.
ii. Hire blog writers from content agencies
Writing agencies are a boon to companies that don’t have the resources, skills, or budget to manage a content creation team. Content marketing agencies, depending on their service focus, can offer only content production or also additional services like ideation, content strategy, dedicated account managers, and content success measurement.
How they work:
Businesses can approach content agencies with their requirements and someone from their team gets in touch to understand what they are looking for. The client representative then offers a custom quote/proposal. If the business decides to go ahead, then the project is executed according to agreed terms. The services and solutions offered can be both long- or short-term (or even ad-hoc) depending on the agency’s focus and the business’s requirements.
Narrato Marketplace offers Managed Services which work quite the same way. If you opt to hire blog writers through Managed Services, you will be assigned an Account Manager who gets in touch with you to understand your content needs and expectations. They will mediate all the communication between you and your preferred freelance writers. The Account Manager also ensures content quality assessment and timely delivery, so you don’t have to worry about anything.
Pros of content agencies:
- Content agencies have their own team of vetted expert writers. Hiring an experienced agency will negate the need to hire and train new writers.
- A reliable content or relationship manager is often provided to handle your account.
- Content agencies, depending on their size, can scale up content production quickly.
- Most agencies offer quality control through experienced editors, which is a big plus.
- Writing agencies often offer value-added services like ideation, blog management, SEO, and creating a content strategy.
- A managed service allows you to be less hands-on and gives you more time to focus on a broader marketing plan.
Cons of content agencies:
- Agencies can be expensive, especially if they offer complete content marketing solutions.
- Hiring an agency for a long-term partnership can be prolonged by procedural delays.
- You can expect delays if the agency doesn’t have enough writers. Always work with agencies that have sizeable team.
- As you normally don’t have direct contact with the writers, feedback and revision requests could be processed slower than expected or feedback may not be relayed accurately. Though, with experienced agencies this is extremely rare.
There’s a wide range here. The more services the agency offers, the more you pay. As a thumb rule, you can expect this to be a more expensive option than hiring freelancers. However, the advantage is that your company can do with fewer or no content folks on the core team.
iii. Hire blog writers in-house or freelance through job boards
The good old job posting is still a popular way to hire in-house writers or even freelance writers through a job board. Advertisements can also be placed in newspapers, magazines, on the internet, or even at the local coffee shop.
How it works:
Employers put up advertisements stating their writing requirements, years of experience the candidate must possess, the job description, as well as the compensation they can expect. Prospective candidates apply for the position and undergo an evaluation and selection process. You may also try out some AI solutions for recruitment to speed up and simplify the process.
Pros of in-house and freelance writers through job adverts:
- As you work directly with content and blog writers hired this way, you have greater control over the content creation process.
- Even the most inexperienced in-house blog writer or freelance writer will eventually become a subject matter expert in your niche over time.
- In-house writers can gain valuable insights from other employees and leaders.
Cons of in-house and freelance writers through job adverts:
There are foreseeable problems when you hire in-house writers, or even freelance writers independently.
- You may not have the time to wait for newly hired writers to hone their limited skills.
- When new hires join an organization, equipping them with company and product/service information and training them for the job takes up other employees’ time. Work suffers when they are dragged out of their regular routine to help out in the writing department.
- Freelance writers hired independently may be unreliable and may leave suddenly or without completing the project.
- Most importantly, hiring in-house writers can be expensive. As your regular employees, they are eligible for a fixed salary along with other benefits, will need an office space, and more.
In-house writers have additional overhead costs besides their fixed salary.
2. Set your blog goals
Blog goals give you a clear direction, make the blogging process effective, and help discern the next steps regarding how to hire a blog writer. Your blog goals could be one or more of the following:
i. Content strategy goals
Content strategy goals are mandatory goals that must be in place before the blogging process begins. Identifying these goals and sharing them with your writer(s) is the key to a successful blog. The following factors are critical for hiring good and relevant blog writers:
a. Identify the right audience for your blog and convey this to your writers
Identify your target audience and determine what type of information they expect to receive from your blog – the blog must cater to the interests and needs of your target audience. Segregate your target audience into personas and target each audience persona with a different set of blogs.
b. Lay clear guidelines in terms of voice and the technical level of the blog
Your audience will determine the blogging style, tone, and level of technical information required in order to maintain consistency and relevance. Make sure to have a solid content style guide for your writers before you start working with them.
c. Decide on broad content themes
Decide on key themes or areas of content aiming to become a knowledge powerhouse on these. Avoid falling into a generalist trap. Make sure that you always pick blog topic ideas relevant to your niche and valuable to your audience.
d. Decide on the format of the blog posts
Determine the format of the blog – its length, use of images, graphs, lists, interviews, text callouts, and subheadings.
e. Create and provide your writers with a clear set of instructions
Create a clear set of instructions or content briefs for your blog posts informing your blog writers on exact themes/topics, the format of the blog, SEO requirements, voice and tone, and any other such requirements. This is especially important if you are not working with an in-house writer.
ii. Blog success goals
As a business, the purpose of your blog is ultimately to increase inbound leads. And a higher goal would be to increase blog-driven sales and revenue. But it is also important to identify smaller milestones and keep your goals realistic. Some realistic expectations from your blog writing efforts include:
- An increase in search engine visibility
- More traffic to the company website
- Better relationship with existing customers
- An Increase in brand awareness
- An increase in the company’s online presence on social media sites
Goals are not achieved overnight, but setting goals based on the following parameters will steadily lead to your ultimate goal of driving sales and increasing revenue –
- Traffic to the blog
- Number of page views
- Time spent on the site
- An increase in engagement
- Search engine rankings
- Ad revenue from the blog (if relevant)
Further, your goals should work like an inverted pyramid – starting with a broad outline of long-term blogging goals and working down to short-term blogging goals (monthly, weekly, and daily goals).
Long-Term Blogging Goals: A primary set of goals that define where you want your blog to be in the long run when your blog is established and you have created lots of content.
Short-Term Blogging Goals: Smaller, more immediate goals that all lead up to achieving long-term goals.
iii. Indirect or branding goals
A blog is a powerful means to reach out to an audience and not just for business purposes. Non-business goals or branding goals could be to:
- Voice ideas, thoughts, and beliefs
- Inspire change or simply touch the lives of people in a positive way
With all this in place, you will now have an idea of the type of content you need to create, and how many and what kind of blog writers you need.
3. Evaluate, select and establish relationships with a regular set of writers
No matter what writing channel you invest in, it is important to choose potential writers through a process of evaluation and selection. Simultaneously, it is necessary to establish a relationship with them. Following a process saves time, money, and other company resources that can instead be used for revenue-increasing purposes.
The evaluation process differs slightly with each channel.
i. The evaluation and selection process to hire blog writers through a freelance writer platform
If you have chosen to go about hiring writers through a casting call or asking for bids for your project, chances are that you will receive several bids and/or proposals. Although the budget might be a constraint, avoid choosing the cheapest bids.
Review the profiles of the writers who seem to match your requirements. Review previous works and if possible, ask for a small sample of their work on a topic that is relevant to your blog – even if you have to pay for this sample.
Work ethics, deliverables, communication skills, and ability to meet deadlines are other evaluation criteria that must be considered. Do not commit long-term right away and try to have options before settling on the final set of writers for the long term.
If you decide to hire bloggers from a freelance writer platform that directly matches writers to your posted content jobs, then use the preferred writers’ option or float the project to only your preferred writers to get the best output.
Provide regular and encouraging feedback to this set of preferred writers to build a loyal, flexible team of writers you can work with. Always keep adding new names to this list by small experimentations outside this set, so that if a few writers stop working because of their personal reasons, you always have new ones to fill in the void.
ii. The evaluation and selection process for hiring a writing agency
Google search and ask for referrals for content agencies. Go through their websites in detail and look at their sample works. If sample work is not provided on the website, ask to see some samples when you get in touch.
Make a shortlist of agencies that seem like a good fit, and request proposals for your requirement. Try to be as specific in laying out your requirements as possible to set expectations right from the beginning and to get an accurate quote.
When in the discussion, ask questions like – how many writers they have at their disposal, their expertise, types of projects done, turnaround time, and whether there will be a dedicated point of contact. Request a small project to be done as a sample – it is okay to pay for it, so you can test it before taking the plunge.
When selecting a writing agency, keep an eye out for those companies that are willing to answer all your questions and are proactive about communication. Previous experience in your niche and the ability to provide the same writers for your project repeatedly are an added bonus.
iii. The evaluation and selection process to hire blog writers in-house
The evaluation process should include an interview process where you discuss your expectations as well as review some of the candidate’s work. Conduct a writing test that has been divided into at least two parts, with each part testing them on a different parameter. For example, writing headlines could be a parameter that determines their creativity, while writing a blog on a given theme could be an indicator of their ingenuity.
The final selection must be based on their writing experience and the results of the written test. For a freelance writer, selection criteria should include the number of hours they can dedicate to your project, other obligations they are expected to fulfill, availability during your business hours, and the expected turnaround time of blogs.
Eagerness to begin work with you, timeliness in producing sample work, and answering your emails are non-verbal cues to look out for.
4. Pay your writers and invest in regular training
i. Pay your blog writers
It’s tempting to hold back on payments when content is not up to your standard, or you might prefer to hold off payments until you get all your writing work done by an agency. Some companies are even known to hold back on payments until their goals are achieved.
Withholding payments might be convenient for you but it doesn’t help your writers. In fact, untimely payments are known to discourage writers, lead to the loss of good writers, and send a message that you and your organization are unprofessional. Eventually, this will lead to mediocre blogs that will lessen your chances of reaching your blog goals.
Here are some tips on how to pay your writers
- Pay well – you get what you pay for
- Pay on time
- Don’t haggle over the price
Don’t shy away from occasional rewards. Rewards are incentives to work better, harder, and continue to produce excellent writing material for a sustainable blog. Let your writers know that they are valuable to you and show your appreciation with regular praise, rewards, and incentives.
ii. Invest in training and offer feedback to blog writers
To churn out quality content a writer must understand your business language, products, services, and industry, and the business’s objectives and philosophy.
Depending on the type of training provided, regular training will make writers knowledgeable on the latest information, improve their writing skills and pave the way for new ideas, thoughts, and topics.
How to provide training for writers:
Writers like other employees benefit from training programs.
- Provide regular feedback – and be precise and specific.
- Conduct regular training programs and assessments, especially for in-house and long-term freelance writers.
- Provide opportunities to attend business conventions and interact with the production team.
- Let writers work with the sales team and customer service representatives to obtain firsthand knowledge and information, where possible.
- Provide up-to-date information on products, services, and the industry.
- Provide a mentor to check brand consistency, authenticity, accuracy, and relevance.
- Share company information such as brochures so they can write consistently and with authenticity.
When looking to hire blog writers, you will be faced with a tough choice. There are certainly differences between hiring freelancers, writing agencies, and in-house writers. At the end of the day, what works for one company may not be the right choice for another. So your decision must depend on your organization’s requirements and individual projects. Superb content will lead to increased traffic, better leads, increased buyer engagement, and increased sales regardless of the channel you hire your writers from.
You can find some more resources on the Narrato blog if you’re looking to hire copywriters.