This week I thought I’d offer 7 FAQs I’m often asked when it comes to content writing.
Small businesses are dubious about hiring freelance writers because they see it as an unnecessary expense and something they can do themselves.
I’ve listed some of the questions I’m often asked.
Hopefully, they will give you some things to think about should you consider working with a content writer.
They’ll also help you appreciate the real benefits of hiring a content writer, whether it’s a one-off or long term project.
Writing good quality content for business is challenging
As a small business owner, there is a never-ending list of tasks to complete.
Sales and marketing, website updates, blog writing, case studies, podcasts, product/service descriptions and social media updates.
Businesses need a lot more than blog posts and web pages.
Content writing is needed in practically every area of a business’ operation.
A content writer can help a small business and can be invaluable for the content marketing element.
Writing for a professional audience that effectively markets your products and services is hard work.
There is a myriad of details to work out and a content writer is versatile enough to interpret your ideas into engaging original content in the right tone and format for the type of content that is needed.
Are you expensive?
Ask yourself this, can you write it? Do you have the time to do it? Can you afford to keep putting it off?
Why not outsource it to an expert whom a/ makes a living from writing b/ works to increase your business exposure while delivering good quality content.
When you win a significant enquiry that converts your return on investment makes the spend on a content writer invaluable.
How does the process work?
When you engage me as a writer, I agree on the process including dates, timelines and drafts.
Assuming all of the groundwork is complete with the client briefing template and keywords agreed, I start work.
I provide a test piece based on what the final bit of content will be when finished.
I like to gauge feedback from the client that I’ve got the tone and the pitch right.
Once that’s agreed, I’m off and complete the first draft, on submission, the client and I have a follow-up call.
Invariably, some changes, or maybe a paragraph, need re-working, in which case amendments are made and forwarded for agreement.
Nine out of ten times, the final draft is agreed. The client is involved during the whole process while offering valuable input, a pertinent quote, or a changed word.
What if I don’t like what you’ve written
Then either I’ve got it wrong, or you’ve not been specific about your requirement.
With the client briefing template and an informal chat/interview plus a pre-draft of the text, this is unlikely to happen.
It’s important to note that content writers don’t always get it right the first time.
I compare content writing to when I worked in recruitment. I interviewed my candidates to understand what they wanted.
As a technical recruiter, I had to be sure candidates had the qualifications.
I also needed to understand what the client was looking for in an applicant. I succeeded because I did the leg work first.
My clients were happy because they got the right person for the job.
My candidates were delighted because they got the engineering job of their dreams with a great tech company.
I adopt the same approach to content writing.
How do you take the information I give you and make it work
I take scribbled notes, voice memos, articles, other websites you like, your ideas and then transform them into the content.
But it’s essential at the outset to understand what you want, so I interview the client informally to get inside their head and understand their business.
This helps in writing the content. It also lets me gauge your personality.
Are you serious and business-like, or are you fun-loving and informal?
I start the process with a client briefing template, and the onus is on the client to provide me with as much background information as possible so that we get the best results.
How can you help me with SEO
Content writers should have a good understanding of how SEO works.
This includes keywords and key phrases and UX (user-friendly) content.
We will ask you what keywords people use to search for your products and services, and this might involve the writer having to do further keyword research to find out what keywords your competitors rank.
We also determine the buyer intent because content revolves around answering questions people have about your product and service.
I like to understand your mission statement, what your business stands for, its values, and how this is reflected across your business collateral.
Then I formulate a list of keywords and key phrases that your audience is likely to search for. I then have a starting point to create content that includes some of the key terms.
The purpose of any content is search intent; what’s the point of the blog, web page, article? If you don’t know what it’s for, the writer won’t have a clue either.
Keeping it simple and easy to read and understand is the cornerstone of good content.
Do I need a content writer or a copywriter?
There’s a fundamental difference between the two, and it makes sense to understand the differences, especially when you are considering working with one or the other.
A content writer is focused on the content and writes to inform, educate and entertain the reader.
They are familiar with online marketing and SEO and how to make content work for your business.
They can write for channels, notably websites, blogs, social and email.
The priority is to write with your customer in mind, so they want to know your buyer persona, demographic and profile.
For example, it’s no good them writing a brilliant piece sounding hip and on point for an audience that’s elderly; the reader won’t understand what you are trying to convey.
At the outset of any project, the content writer should work with you to understand your primary objectives.
A copywriter is in the art of using their writing skills to persuade. Copywriting is about using words and language to sell to readers, convince them to take action; it could be buying the product, downloading a document or signing up for information.
Both require good writing and English skills.
There is overlap between the two disciplines, the latter being more specific to business and consumer, where a content writer may well be writing for all.
Hiring a freelance writer to work consistently or on one off projects adds real value to your business creating long term returns for your business by increasing lead enquiries, brand exposure and content strategy.