A content writer is an important player on any SEO team. So good that I have seen pages rank on content strength alone and know that content, packaged with a speedy mobile site, can take you very far.
Too often, content is last in line behind other SEO tools like tagging and structure. This isn’t a good idea and you’re selling your site short if you don’t consider who is writing content for you.
Get a Content Writer with Power
How to choose a content writer
- A good content writer must understand your content need
Not all content needs to be super high quality. Now, keep in mind, all content needs to be good otherwise you’re wasting everyone’s time. How can you tell when you need a content writer who can do the deep dive into products, websites, trends, and product positioning?
Well, much of that depends on you and your product.
In example, recently I put together a client proposal for extremely high-end kitchens. Now, at first glance you would simply go to the basics: cabinets, countertops, sinks and so on. But in this case the kitchen designs reflected the deep influence of 20th century art-movement and artisanal craftsmanship. The kitchen’s also use the latest smart home technology.
Those two characteristics, the influence of art and the combination of high technology require a specialized skill set. Not only do you need SEO content, but you need SEO that appeals to architecturally inspired clients with a strong desire for interior design and have the money to fork over $100,000.00 for a kitchen basically on a whim.
- A good content writer must understand your content function
Pretty much everybody understands content written for geo-location and is generally thin. Currently that strategy is working with Google. We also know that specialty content or back-link content needs attention to detail.
Most advanced SEO writers can scale their content to fit your needs. If a writer can write meaty 1000 plus word pieces, they’ve reached a skill level where they are comfortable at that high-end level and can scale down as needed.
Typically for an agency, this means that a good SEO writer can fit most budgets. As a rule of thumb, figure that even a mediocre original 500 to 800-word piece passing copy-scape with at least a 99 takes about an hour to do for skilled writer. Moving up the skill level of the writer or increasing length is going to move SEO content writing pricing up too.
- A good content writer pays attention to your contents cultural needs and geo-location
Plenty of native speaking ex-pats are in the writing business so they can keep their ex-pat lifestyle on track. There are also plenty of well-spoken and professionally written foreign nationals with the skill set required to get the job done. And there are plenty of writers scattered about the world in their hometown or region who can do the work for you.
Knowing how and where your writer gained their language skills is important. Because writing is not just setting down words on a screen, it is the primary way we are all schooled into our native culture.
What that means is this, where the writer calls home in their formative years will affect their style. Maybe not to an exceptionally noticeable degree on most pieces. But when you get to culturally specific ideas, it matters. Connecting with your client’s readers means speaking in their language. Not just ins peaking the words, but also in speaking the shared experience understanding of being members of the same community.
Think of it this way, a writer who grew up in New York city would have a difficult time writing in German for Germans even if they learned the language well in New York. You can’t get the culture of a place unless you live and breathe it. Not just globally either, regional dialects or shared life experiences in a large country like America are different.
How many songs and stories are there about the cultural shock country boys and girls endure making their way in the bright lights and late nights of a city like New York? Same thing going from the country to the city too.
- A good content writer should be proficient at any professional level
Freelance content writing services like Fiver and UpWork offer a wide array of writers to choose from. In fact, writers will swamp you with offers once you post a job there. The work on these sites can be good. It can also be bad.
The most worrisome issue when dealing with large platform freelance markets like UpWork and Fiver is plagiarism. It is very tempting to get a few hundred-word piece for less than $25.00, but it can also be frustrating when you realize your copy won’t pass copyscape.
Plagiarism aside, if you have the time to check and manage the writing staff you assemble on any freelance platform, you’ll find what you need. Keep in mind though, the rule of thumb is a good writer gets $25.00 to $35.00 an hour. So, gauge your expectations accordingly.
- A good content writer scales their skill
Like any craftsman, a writer develops skill with time and practice. Accordingly, you should expect to pay equal with experience and skill. This is especially true with content writers.
At the top of the heap, a content writer can respond to most any time frame and skill level required. If you are lucky enough to find a content writer that has been around since before Alphabet made its first major algorithm changes to Google, they you’re working with someone who survived the worst of the content writing scene.
If they’re still around, and if they’ve kept up with their skills, a content writer from the pre-panda days of Google could be worth their weight in page views.
- A good content writer has pricing strategy
The whole reason a good content writer knows to scale their skill is to adjust a pricing strategy to meet market demand.
Typically, a good 500-word written piece takes an hour or so in the hands of a skilled writer. This includes basic research, basic editing, and solid grammar and active wording structures. What you won’t find at this level is seriously hard topics, or content that requires a lot of work to get the words into the stream.
Base level content starts at around $25.00 and goes up from there.
- You can find good content writers local
This might sound odd, but if you’re looking for content writers try putting some ads in coffee shops or small local papers. You’d be surprised a how many writers out there would be willing to work for you but not want to deal with the freelance platforms and don’t have great marketing skills.
Also keep in mind that there are plenty of younger writers just out of school who are looking for a break. They go to coffee shops and they know their local areas.
- A good content writer gauges length to content need and function
When you’re talking with a content writer, set some focus on their ability to integrate the pricing, need, and cultural functions listed in this document. At the end of the day product knowledge can be acquired, but if a content writer can’t bring it in in the language and the depth of knowledge needed at the moment you may want to ask if they are open to lower pricing to get the experience.
- A good content writer is ethical
Nothing will kill your site faster than content that is bad, wrong, or worse, plagiarized. Buyer beware when you find bargain basement content prices. Writers are in this business for the money just like any other craftsman. The difference with content writing is its extremely easy to cheat.
Keeping these nine tips in mind when you’re looking for a content writer for your project, team, or freelance work will make the process easier.
Drop me a line and I’ll be glad to share my experience with you and fit the writing you need with the skill level you can afford.