Modern professionals know the importance of a strong online presence and a steady stream of content. Online content is a rich source of SEO and a priceless way to put more eyes on your business. Writing your own material may seem like a simple task at first, but many professionals find it difficult to do. You write a blog here, publish an e-book there, and all while your direct sources of income wait for attention. Content is an investment. Professionals often put it off while they try to keep the meat and potatoes of their businesses in check.
To combat this, many businesses hire ghostwriters to create content for them. Outsourcing your content saves time and earns money; it allows you to serve an executive role in your business while guaranteeing a bank of content for consumers.
The trick is to hire the right person. This writing will have your name on it, so it should represent you as well as possible. Here, we offer some tips for finding and hiring talented ghostwriters.
Where to Find Writers
After you decide to hire writing help, the first question to ask is what kind of writer you want. You might prefer to hire a freelancer, or an established ghostwriting company may serve you better. Whether you go professional or freelance will depend on your business specifics and the size of your budget.
Ghostwriting companies such as Solid Thumbs Up tend to charge more for a reputable team of writers and editors. These companies have experience collaborating with clients and creating personalized content for their websites. They're also more likely to know how to optimize their writing for SEO. After all, if the customer can't find your content, then it's not going to good use.
Freelancers, on the other hand, are generally cheaper to employ, but lower bids often correlate with less experience. A freelancer can still be a great writer, but those on the cheaper end usually charge less because they have not been in the industry very long. Still, you might be thrilled to hire someone with less professional experience if his or her writing really moves you.
If you choose the freelance route, start by posting the position on a job board or freelance website. Upwork and Guru are rich hubs of freelance talent, where you can easily collect dozens or hundreds of applications within a few days. ProBlogger is an active community of bloggers and copywriters, featuring a jobs board where freelancers often look for positions.
How to Screen Your Applicants
Next, consider the tools you might use to pick the good candidates from the bad. Many commissioners require writing samples from their applicants. You can ask for this in the job posting, or you might contact writers directly after a first round of screening. Maybe you'd prefer to read their resume first.
An interview is also a viable screening option. If you can't meet in person, you could conduct an interview over the phone or even through Skype. This gives you a chance to speak directly with a real person about his or her expertise.
It's easiest to see a ghostwriter's skill or lack of skill in action. We recommend conducting a paid trial with your strongest applicants. A trial can also be unpaid, but offering compensation for the writer's time is a sign of respect and professionalism. Freelance writers work hard for their bread and butter. If you require several hours of labor for a trial, they will certainly appreciate the generosity of payment.
A trial can consist of a variety of things. You may simply give the writer an assignment and ask him or her to finish the piece by a certain date. If you'd like your writer to be involved in planning, conceptualization, and editing, you could create a more collaborative trial process with plenty of conversation and feedback.
What Skills to Seek
As you sift through applications and bids, consider the skills that make a good content ghostwriter. You can glean some of this from their writing alone. Others you might judge in an interview, a paid trial, or by consulting the writer's current or past clients.
Independence Level: Some people prefer that their ghostwriters be in frequent contact, while others would rather hire writers who can mostly work on their own. In your screening process, look for ways to gauge the writer's comfort with your level of involvement.
Punctuality: Most commissioners set deadlines for their writers. A paid trial can speak to the applicant's ability to turn in pieces on time.
Appropriate Writing Style: The applicant's writing should be consistent with your voice and the style of your industry. While some blogs can get away with a technical voice, others need more pop to make the content fun and easy to read.
Concise Writing: Is your applicant able to communicate ideas briefly and effectively? Watch for redundancy and wordiness in their writing samples. The best writing makes a strong point in few words.
Research Skills: You're probably hiring a ghostwriter to save yourself time, so it's important that the writer is able to conduct research with little to no assistance. While it's best to give some guidelines, you should feel confident that the writer can research a subject enough to write about it.
Hiring is an inherently challenging and time-consuming process. However, if you've been setting your content creation aside for a while, it might be time to take the plunge. Start building your content backlog now, not tomorrow. While it may seem overwhelming to hire a ghostwriter to make that possible, the process is well worth it for the right candidate.
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