So you need some content, and you need to hire someone to create it…
Before you even think about budgetary concerns, projected timelines, and all of that noise, you’ve got to decide who you’re going to get to write it in the first place – or at least what category of writer you want to look for.
You’re essentially faced with two choices here: you can hire an expert on the topic at hand, or you can hire a professional content writer… Sure, you might be able to find someone who fits in both categories, but that’s going to be far less common. Generally speaking – and especially when it comes to writing for your business – you’re either going to be reaching out to a ghostwriter, or someone within your industry with some proven expertise.
The advantages of an expert are pretty straightforward – they know the industry and the terminology, and will be able to write from a place of genuine experience… But honestly, that’s about it. Industry experts are NOT inherently good writers.
Hiring a professional content writer, offers some very distinct advantages:
1. Languages Skills
Anyone purporting themselves a writer for hire – especially through a trustworthy service or firm – ought to be able to write. They will have a command of language that’s going to give immediate credibility to the topic at hand, simply through readability and engaging word choices.
A worthy writer will also use impeccable grammar, spell things correctly, and proofread their work for accuracy. What they may lack in pre-existing knowledge, they will make up for with flow, organization, and familiarity with writing for the web, newsletters, press releases, or whatever format you require.
Right on the heels of those language skills, writers-for-hire will also be no strangers to research. Even if they don’t know anything about your industry (and I speak from firsthand experience here), they can quickly learn enough to write with clarity and accuracy.
Sometimes it’s a matter of learning the lingo, other times it’s digging up facts or citing case studies – it all depends on the project. The point is that, for writers, the information they convey is as important as the way they convey it.
They might not have the years of insider experience you do, but if the information is available, they’ll find it. In some ways, a writer’s inexperience with your niche can even serve your readers. Because they aren’t entrenched in the jargon or “too close” to the topic to see it from an outside perspective, they can actually help distill out the most direct way of saying things, the most pertinent information, and even avoid going down the rabbit hole of too much detail for the average reader.
You can work with a writer to get the right amount of research into your content, and they will be used to catering the level of detail and background information to meet the needs of the client.
It’s a writer’s job to take on projects from multiple sources, covering multiple topics, and so on… That means they’ve got the agility to deliver the content that’s right for your purposes – and adjust it on the fly to get it closer to what you’re after.
If you have existing copy, or work done from other writers, a pro will review that work to match voice and style. They’ll organize content in the way you prefer (or the way they see fit, if you don’t offer guidance), and dive right in – because it’s just what they do.
Familiarity with a range of styles and voices allows a pro writer to bend language to meet your audience. It can be dense and technical or lighthearted and colloquial – whatever you need it to be.
4. The Right Questions
Your project will not be your writer’s first rodeo. Even if the content is meant for something entirely new – some media they’ve never heard of, or a very specific component of your industry – they’re still intimately familiar with putting together the information they need for an assignment. They know the questions to ask and the problems to anticipate.
Most writers are used to working with limited information up-front, but the pros will still ask important questions (if need be) before they get started. They’ll also know when to reach out with further questions, and when to trust their instincts.
Getting the important details in place at the beginning of the work tends to create better outcomes for everyone involved – less stress and confusion for the writer, and a more accurate (and polished) final product for you.
While an expert from your industry may have special knowledge a writer simply can’t gain through research, that may not be enough to create great copy. This isn’t to dissuade you from leaning on experts – just to remind you that the actual craft of writing good content is a skill in itself… One very different from being an expert in a given field. Content writers are experts in crafting language – the topic itself may change, but the fundamental skills they employ do not.