Your Step-by-Step Guide to Hiring a Top-Tier Content Marketing Writer

We'll show you what we've learned about building an effective content team. Learn how to hire content writers that attract organic traffic.

How to Hire a Content Writer

Surely you’ve heard the phrase “content is king.” And while it may be a terribly overused expression, the fact remains that it’s true.

Everyone knows that creating strong content is the best way to connect with your audience, increase brand awareness, drive sales, and boost ROI and profitability. But who exactly is pumping out all this business-enhancing content?

Content marketing writers.

Having good content isn’t enough — you need to put out great content. And to do that, you’ll need to hire an experienced content marketer that can deliver results.

Ready to take your business to the next level?

Here’s our step-by-step guide to hiring a top-tier content marketing writer.


What Is a Content Marketing Writer?

Content marketing writing is the creation of blogs, white papers, social media posts, articles, and all sorts of other written materials. Also referred to as content marketers, the best content marketing writers are highly skilled at what they do.

Content marketing writers have two main goals:

  1. Excellent content creation
  2. Adherence to an overall content strategy

Before creating the content, writers need to conduct research. After creating the content, they proofread and edit their work to prepare it for publishing.

A strong content writer doesn’t just sit down at their laptop and start writing off the top of their head. They take time to understand the brand, the competition, and conduct the necessary research to write an exceptional piece of content about their subject matter.

It’s the combo of writing skills, researching skills, and marketing skills that make content writers an essential part of every brand and business.

Intergrowth is an expert team of content writers and SEO strategists. Learn more about our content marketing services.


What to Look for in a Content Marketing Writer?

Not all writers make good content writers. It takes a certain type of writer with a certain skill set to be able to produce content that can generate leads and drive sales.

Here’s what to look for if you want a top-tier content marketer to enhance your business:

Writing Skills

Don’t make the mistake of thinking that great marketers can be turned into great content writers. Just because someone knows how to create ads and generate revenue doesn’t mean that they can put words together well enough to write effective content.

First and foremost, make sure your content writer has top-notch writing skills. They should have a command of syntax, proper grammar, and punctuation. They should be artful in how they combine words and create sentences. They must know how to tell a story that can pique a reader’s interest.

Some writers do rely on editors to perfect their work, but the best writers know the technical ins and outs of writing and require very little editing at all.

Experience

When interviewing and vetting a content marketing writer, pay close attention to the type of writing experience on their resume.

For example, poets, novelists, and screenwriters don’t necessarily make for great content marketing writers. Sure, you may find a poet here and there who also has marketing skills, but there are other types of writers that are more adept at content writing.

Writers with a journalism background can be quite good at content writing because they’re experienced in research and fact-checking. But in some cases, they may be too “by the book” to work in marketing.

Copywriters know how to sell with words. They know how to entice an audience. A great copywriter usually makes for a great content marketing writer.

But for best results, the experience you should look for is a blog content writer with digital marketing experience (SEO experience preferred).

Understanding of Your Brand and Audience

It’s important that your content writer has a solid grasp of your brand and your target audience. In order to create impressive content, they’ll need to understand who they’re creating it for.

Your writer should also be able to write in the tone and style of your brand voice. If you don’t already have one, they should be able to tailor one for you.

Since you’ll most likely put out various types of content, you’ll also need that writer to be able to adapt different voices and tones for different purposes.

Technical Knowledge

If your business deals with highly technical subject matter, you should have a specialized writer on hand who understands the complex nature of your industry. Their combination of writing skills and technical knowledge will come in handy for white papers and ebooks, and other specialized content.

But as a dedicated full-time writer? That could be very expensive. Especially when creating consistent content on a publishing schedule. It’s better to contract that type of writer as a consultant for special projects.

Industry experts can provide invaluable insight into your brand and business, but they don’t always make the best content writers. They’re also not experts on traffic generation.

The good news is that you can use both.

At Intergrowth, we have a dedicated staff of writers who are experts in research, writing, and marketing. They can write about a broad range of topics, many of them highly detailed. Our writers create the blogs that drive traffic to our clients’ sites and convert casual visitors into qualified leads.

Every once in a while, a content opportunity arises that requires specific technical expertise. When creating in-depth thought leadership content, we collaborate with our clients or their qualified experts from a shared outline or through detailed client feedback.

By publishing a combination of blog posts that drive traffic and provide industry insight, we help our clients build a blog that’s robust, informative, and designed to increase traffic.

Versatility

The best content marketing writers are versatile. Ideally, they should be able to roll with any content strategy you throw their way.

A strong writer will always be:

  • Able to adapt new ideas
  • Willing to take on new projects
  • Open-minded about new writing topics

Professionalism

As with anyone you hire, you’ll want your content marketing writer to exude professionalism.

They should have great communication skills and be easy to get in touch with. They should be reliable and quick to respond to questions, issues, and concerns. They should demonstrate that they can adhere to the deadlines on your content calendar and meet the overall goals of your content strategy.

Knowledge of SEO

SEO is an ever-changing and complicated field that goes far beyond the day-to-day work that most content writers perform. And while great content writers don’t need to be SEO experts, they should, at the very least, have a basic understanding of what SEO is and how to write with it in mind.

The whole point of SEO is to get more search engine traffic and attract a bigger audience. Content writers should know how to do that by making use of semantically related words. They should understand search intent. They should know when, where, and why to include relevant links.

They should also be able to use specific writing techniques, such as bucket brigades, to keep content flowing and keep readers engaged.

Related: 5 Things to Know Before Outsourcing Writing Services

Inter Doesn’t Just Hire Writers. We Have a Content Team. 

Content writing team

At Inter, we work primarily with freelance writers, but not in the traditional sense.

We don’t just hire freelance writers here and there to create one-off posts for a specific client. We have built a team of freelance writers (many of which have worked with us for several years), that work in conjunction with our clients to develop a specific voice and tone for each and every audience.

All of our writers are experts in various industries. From real estate to financial planning to fashion, we make sure to have writers on staff that are versatile and skilled in different industries and businesses.

By having a core team in place that we can rely on daily, we always have a writer available to turn an incredible piece of content for the client, no matter who that client may be.

And while it’s required that all of our writers have at least a general understanding of SEO, we only onboard writers who are committed to their craft and willing to learn more.

Our writers are hungry and humble. They embrace constructive criticism and measure their own achievements against the success of the client. This improves ROI for the client and keeps our writers striving to achieve better results with each and every piece of content.

See also: How to Hire an SEO Company


Where to Find a Content Marketing Writer

So where and how do you go about finding one of these elusive content marketing writers?

There are lots of places where you can search:

Freelance Writing Platforms

There are several reputable freelance platforms where content marketing writers are in abundance. Sites like Upwork, Freelancer.com, and ProBlogger are great places to start.

Hundreds of thousands of freelancers post portfolios and profiles on these websites, thousands of which specialize in freelance writing.

Each freelancing site has its own ways of identifying talented writers.

Upwork, for example:

  • Uses client reviews to rate each writer
  • Shows you their job history and past clients
  • Lets you know if they’re currently available for hire

You can read through writers’ bios, review their portfolios, and read their reviews from past clients. If you don’t have the time to conduct the research yourself, you can enlist an Upwork Talent Scout to do the searching for you.

Though it can be tempting, hiring the cheapest writer is never a good decision. The $20-$30 per hour range is the sweet spot.

Writers charging less than that tend to have less experience, less flexibility, and/or less command over the English language. Writers that charge slightly more than $30 per hour shouldn’t be ruled out simply for their rates, but they should be able to demonstrate all of the qualities you’re looking for in order to justify the cost.

Word of Mouth

One of the best ways to find anyone to do any job is through a referral from a trusted source.

Ask friends, relatives, and colleagues if they know of or have worked with any great content writers before. There’s a good chance they have.

Networking Platforms

Professional social media platforms, such as LinkedIn, can be useful, but they can also be overwhelming.

Here’s why:

A search for “copywriter” or “content marketing writer” will return hundreds of thousands of results. If you go this route, you might want to narrow your search to your 2nd connection so you can ask for a personal reference from someone you already know.

No matter where you search, plan on screening dozens of writers before you find the perfect one for your team.


How Much Should You Pay a Content Marketing Writer?

How much should you pay a content writer?

There is no standard salary for a content marketing writer. In fact, you may not have to pay them a “salary” at all.

If you hire a freelance writer to handle the job, they will not be your employee — they’ll be an independent contractor. And that arrangement means you can set an hourly rate or pay a fixed price per project. It also means you won’t have to pay for employee benefits, such as health insurance and PTO.

Here’s what the average content marketing writer makes, according to different sources:

  • Salary.com: $57,967 (ranges between $49,755 and $74,777)
  • Zippia: $53,000 (ranges between $36,000 and $77,000)
  • Payscale: $48,890 (ranges between $34,000 and $74,000)

There are a number of factors that will impact a writer’s rate, including the type of content you need them to write. From case studies and white papers to press releases, social media posts, and blogs, what you need your writer to do can affect how much you’ll need to pay them.

Top-Tier Writers Don’t Come Cheap  

If it’s a high-quality writer you’re searching for, don’t expect to pay them $15 per hour. Content writers are in demand — and they know it. The ones that can command a higher price always do.

In fact, the best writers are often already booked and busy enough that they don’t need to take on more work. Sometimes, the only way to snag a top-tier writer is to pay them even more.

Content marketing writers who understand the freelance marketplace know what other clients are willing to pay. They know what they’re worth based on their level of experience. They know that having knowledge in a niche area can allow them to command even more.

So be prepared to pay.

It can be exhausting to search for a great content marketing writer at a price you can afford. But there is another option altogether:

Hiring an agency that can provide you with writers and more.


Save Yourself Some Time: Hire a Content Agency Instead

Content marketing agency

You can’t just hire a writer to put out one great piece of content and call it a day. Well, technically, you could, but what would be the point?

Content marketing is an ongoing process, part of an overall content strategy that involves a lot of moving parts.

And you can hire a digital marketing agency to handle all of those parts.

Content Agencies Do A LOT 

Content agencies already have a staff of content strategists, SEO specialists, and blogging experts. These folks have the know-how to:

  • Create editorial calendars
  • Generate content
  • Provide visuals (infographics, etc.)
  • Map out marketing campaigns from beginning to end

Agencies have editors on staff to make sure your content is fact-checked and ready for publishing, and they’ve already vetted their staff to ensure that they can meet and exceed the needs of each and every client.

But digital content agencies can provide you with one more invaluable asset:

The ability to analyze the performance of each piece of content you put out.

Content comes in many different forms, and the only way to know what types of content perform best for your brand is to measure site traffic, click-through rates, and other data. With a thorough analysis of results, you can build upon your existing content strategy and make even better content moving forward.

Without analyzing your data, you could waste time and money churning out content that looks great and reads well but doesn’t actually perform.

Digital agencies also make it a point to hire content marketers with different backgrounds and different types of experience. Whether you’re publishing a science blog, running a tech company, or selling fashion accessories, a great agency can provide you with a content writer who has expertise in your specific niche.

For more on this topic, check out this article: Should I Hire a Digital Marketing Agency or an In-House Marketer?

Providing your audience with quality content is the best way to build brand awareness and generate sales. If content isn’t already at the top of your to-do list, it’s time to make it a priority and find a content marketing writer who can exceed results and increase traffic to your site.

Here’s the bad news:

It takes time and effort to properly vet a great content marketing writer, and there’s no guarantee that your hire will work out.

You can save yourself a lot of time and a lot of aggravation by hiring a content marketing agency instead.

Sure, you may be able to get away with hiring a single content writer in the beginning. But when you start to see results and need to ramp up content creation, an agency with a full staff will be right there and ready to scale as your business grows.

We want to help you grow your brand and boost your website traffic. Learn more about our content marketing services today!

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Your Step-by-Step Guide to Hiring a Top-Tier Content Marketing Writer