5 Questions to Ask Your Content Writer Before You Hire Them
Ask for blog post ideas, social media experience and more.
Making sure your content writers are prepared for the job is critical for them to produce quality content for you. Knowing the right questions to ask can help you grow your business. Here are the five questions to ask content writers that will help you (and them!) determine if they are ready for the job.
Are You Comfortable in Your Writing Skills?
This is perhaps the most important question, because if their writing skills aren't up to snuff, your content writer might succeed in driving people away from your site, not to it. While reading previous work will give you great insight into their writing level (they need to know the difference between "there," "they're" and "their," for one thing), also ask questions specific to online writing, such as Can you explain technical content without using meaningless buzzwords?
As a blog post by the Content Marketing Institute put, it all the fancy writing in the world doesn't matter if, "after reading a content-marketing piece, you're utterly clueless about what on earth the brand actually does. Jargon and acronyms should be held in check."
How Do You Define a Credible Source?
Attention to detail is important in all endeavors, including content writing. While blatantly making up facts, figures or sources is an obvious no-no, a content writer should also be cognizant that not every source is as credible as the next. Looking over writing samples, are there links to credible sources (medical journals, direct quotes from experts, respected newspapers like the Wall Street Journal or New York Times, etc.), or are the links from user-contributed sites like Wikipedia where there is little to no oversight? Keep in mind that every word on your site is a reflection of you and your business, whether you wrote it or not.
What Ideas Do You Have For Our Blog?
Probably not the first question that comes to mind, but an important one nonetheless. The old adage goes that if you keep doing the same thing, you're bound to get the same results. There's a reason you're hiring someone else you want a different perspective, a different voice, right? This question can be answered by asking what blogs, books or magazines they read, who would play them in the movie version of their life, or what profession they would choose if they could start all over. You might be surprised by the answers, but what you're really looking for is to be entertained by their responses!
How Comfortable Are You With SEO or Social Media?
Depending on your specific needs, you want to make sure your content writer can get you the results you're looking for. If you need someone with advanced SEO skills, or a social media guru, make sure they have these skills before work is done. If you want your content to go viral, make sure the writer has a large Twitter following and knows how to generate buzz for your site or business. Ask to see successful stats from the writer's previous clients. With Google changing search algorithms often, it's helpful to have a content writer familiar with the Google SEO Initiate. If the writer's still using old ways to build links, this could hurt you instead of help.
Do You Have a Strong Work Ethic?
The best content writer in the world is of no use to you and your business if they never submit their work to you! Some people might worry if a writer has a full-time job in addition to freelance writing gigs, but if the writer is skilled at time management or realistic in what they can and can't accomplish in the amount of time available, a full-time jobshouldn'tbe an issue. Instead, ask about theirprocess in completing jobs. Do they use the entire time available to them, or do they wait until the last few days to complete jobs. Have they ever turned work in late? If they have, did they let the client know ahead of time, or not?
Now that you have a checklist of questions to ask, you can make sure your next content writer knows what is expected of them to help you move your business forward.
Are we missing something? Share your thoughts with us in the comments section below.