Hiring a Marketing Writer: The Step-by-Step Guide
The writing world is full of skilled professionals who can crank out a blog post or essay on a range of topics, from English literature to the latest health studies. Unfortunately, those skills may not transfer easily to the marketing world.
If you're looking for a marketing writer, you're essentially looking for a unique blend of sales and creativity skills, which not every writer possesses. You need someone who knows how to write effective copy while also creating a strong brand persona. Otherwise, the writing falls flat and sales stagnate—or worse, plummet.
It's a tall task. Lucky for you, we've created a step-by-step guide to help you find the best marketing writer—one who truly understands your needs and delivers content that sells. Here's what you need to know.
Essential Skills for a Marketing Writer
First, let's cover some of the most important skills a marketing writer should possess.
Superb Writing Skills
This likely goes without saying, but a marketing writer needs writing skills that are well above average. What does that mean, exactly?
Well, proper grammar and punctuation are a great start, but writing is much more than that. In fact, those are the bare minimum for a great marketing writer.
Marketing requires a unique writing style that gets to the heart of a subject without sacrificing creativity. The words should flow, grab attention, and never seem monotonous or boring.
A Mastery of the Art of Persuasion
Marketing writers should be masters at the art of persuasion.
The goal of most content is to inform. That's also one of the goals of marketing, but it's not the primary goal. The primary purpose is to convince the reader to take action, either by making a purchase or requesting a service. If your marketing writer is entertaining but fails to increase conversions, they've missed the point.
Empathy and Understanding of Human Psychology
Marketers usually have a strong understanding of the basics of psychology; they know how people are likely to react in certain situations, and they write content with this knowledge in mind.
Great writing forms a connection between the writer and the reader; marketing is no exception. Empathy and knowledge of human behavior are powerful assets for a marketing writer.
Flexibility and Versatility
Is all your marketing content the same? Most likely, no. Most marketing writers face a range of tasks, from creating product descriptions to social media posts, commercial video scripts and more.
The audience sometimes changes, too. One day, the target customer is a business executive with a specific need and a huge budget. The next day, it's a stay-at-home parent with too many kids and too little money. These scenarios require vastly different marketing angles. When you're hiring a marketing writer, flexibility and versatility are key strengths to consider.
Industry or Niche Experience
Finally, you should consider hiring a marketing writer with experience in your niche or industry.
You may think: "How likely am I to find someone with all of these skills plus experience in my industry?”
It happens more often than you think. Many professionals moonlight as marketing writers. You may find a writer who retired from your profession, or perhaps they completed their degree but ultimately pursued another career path.
These writers exist. By hiring a marketing writer with industry experience, you'll put yourself way ahead of the game.
The Step-by-Step Marketing Writer Hiring Process
You're likely eager to start your marketing project, but it's important to dedicate a little time and effort at this stage. The ideal marketing writer (or team of writers) can make every step in the future much easier, regarding both money and time.
1. Make a list of key criteria.
This includes any skills or expertise your writer needs to complete the job most effectively.
We recommend breaking this list into sections, ranking skills from most to least important. It's best to know which skills are necessities before you get started with your search.
2. Create your content brief and guidelines.
Now it's time to focus on your project and marketing needs. Most writers work from a content brief, which includes a list of key information about your needs and vision. Content briefs may include:
- A bit of background information about your organization
- Your target reader or audience
- The goals of your content (big picture goals and any details you would like to include, such as layout preferences or specific information)
- The tone of your marketing (casual vs. professional, etc.)
- Point of view (1st, 2nd, or 3rd person)
- Examples of similar content that fits your needs
- Things to Avoid
- Source Attribution (Do you want the writer to link to outside sources, or would you prefer a list of sources, or perhaps no sources at all?)
- Target Keywords
You may also include a Style Guide with formatting and editorial guidelines (e.g. Should writers use the Oxford comma? Do you prefer AP or MLA formatting? etc.)
A Style Guide isn't strictly necessary, but it helps writers keep a cohesive image for your brand.
3. Set your budget.
Once you've fleshed out the details of your writer criteria and project guidelines, it's time to consider your budget.
Of course you don't want to overpay for a writing service, but a marketing writer is a professional with a specific skill set that requires adequate compensation. Generally, you can expect to pay a higher fee for specialized writers.
If you're working with a strict budget, consider asking writers to pitch ideas along with their rate. This ensures you don't fall in love with a writer whose fee is well outside your price range. Scripted offers a proposal system (including rates), and multiple writers can pitch ideas at once. You’re more likely to find a competitive rate using this system.
4. Review writer qualifications and performance indicators.
Once the pitches start rolling in, it's time to review potential writers.
You can get a good idea of a writer's skills by reviewing their portfolio and customer reviews. Scripted's platform offers a tiered rating system and an overall star rating for each writer. You can also sort writers by industry experience and preview writing samples.
5. Reach out or respond to qualified writers.
You've likely found a few writers who seem like the perfect fit. It's time to either accept a proposal or contact the writers you value most.
6. Cultivate a strong relationship with your marketing team.
Once you've found a good writer (or team of writers), it's important to stay connected and foster a good relationship. Though this project is complete, another project may be just around the corner.
Communication is key. Stay in touch with your writer throughout the project, updating them with any changes or notes. Positive feedback goes a long way, but if the writer missed the mark, make sure you explain any revision requests thoroughly so they'll understand where things went wrong. Make sure you answer questions ASAP so your writer can stay on task and meet important deadlines.
Find a Marketing Writer on Scripted
Looking for the ideal marketing writer for your next project? Scripted features a wide range of skilled marketing writers with experience in a variety of industries. You can start your search today.
Published by Kevin O'Connor on Monday, February 1, 2021