How to Hire Content Writers: Building Your Blogging Team

A dairy with a pen and a laptop for Content Writers.

Learning how to hire content writers is a necessary skill when developing your business. Maybe you have your own startup and you’re looking to use content marketing to build your outbound strategies. Maybe you are the head of content in a global corporation and need to expand your team to increase capacity. Whatever the reason, learning how to pick the right person for the job can be the make or break of your content.

That sounds somewhat dramatic, but it’s true. This person, the writer, is going to be the voice of your company. They’re going to putting words onto the page that your audience will naturally assume are the voice of the business. Getting the tone, the style, and the actual content right for your readership is incredibly important.

How to Hire Writers for Any Niche

You’d be forgiven for thinking that each niche would have its own way of hiring writers. Thankfully, the majority of hires, regardless of niche, share a similar hiring process. The first key step in any hiring process is to be crystal clear on what you’re hiring them for. Don’t be fooled into thinking that hiring one writer will suffice for all of your work. A writer who can happily spin a story in your company voice won’t necessarily be able to compile an academic report for stakeholders.

Once you’ve clearly determined what you want the writer to do, import this into a more detailed document that will make up a content writer job description. The job description needs to include all of the core details that anyone applying for a job would need to know but if you really want your advert to stand out, personalize it.

Make it appeal to your dream candidate by focusing on what their skills are. If you’re hiring a blog content writer, list the skills they would likely have. Sales copywriters would be a completely different list.

What to Look for in a Content Writer

Skill Level

You’ll likely ascertain the writer’s skill level by looking through their portfolio and judging their work for yourself. If, however, you want to check for things like grammatical accuracy, spelling, etc, then you could try a third-party tool. Hemingway, Grammarly, and Read-Able are all great content checkers that will highlight errors. Simply get the writer to submit a test piece and see how they score. Most writers will be using tools like this anyway, if they’re not then you should question their viability.

Portfolio

This is a core part of the hiring process, and you’ll most likely refer to it throughout every step of it. Their portfolio should grab your attention, stand out from the crowd and be diverse within the niche you’re working in. The portfolio will show you their writing style, their variation of tone, and how in-depth their research goes. Most writers will share their latest work, if you’d like to see previous work just ask, sometimes it is interesting to see how their writing has improved over the years.

Cost

Be clear and upfront about the cost from the start. Many writers will share a rate with you, but if you’d like genuine applications from the moment you post your position then do include a rate you’d expect to pay or a salary. In the content writing world, good writers cost more and are harder to come by, poor writers are ten a penny and can be remarkably cheap.

Ask yourself if you’d prefer to receive a near-completed product that you can post on your website with minimal edits for a higher cost or whether you’d be happy making hours of changes to a piece for a lower cost. It comes down to how valuable your own time is.

Enthusiasm

When you start receiving applications and interviewing candidates a simple check to see if they’re enthusiastic about your actual position should be a natural part of your process. Ask them questions about your company in specific and see if they’ve done their research. It’s impossible to measure but you’ll get a feel.

Questions to Ask When Interviewing a Content Writer

  • How do you vary your writing for the audience?
  • What methods do you employ to ensure your writing is optimized for SEO?
  • How do your experience, education, and previous roles qualify you for this role?
  • What’s your favorite topic to write about?
  • What’s your typical research process?
  • Why do you like writing?
  • How do you determine the purpose of your writing?
  • What do you find challenging about writing?
  • What is your experience writing sales copy, such as for a landing page?
  • What does your writing process look like?
  • Do you miss deadlines ever?

Why You Should Use Writer Assessment Tests

Most content writing jobs will receive tens, sometimes even hundreds of applicants. Separating the genuinely good from the average/poor is a task in itself. This is where writer assessment tests can make all of the difference. Platforms such as Workello enable you to effectively screen writers so that even before the interview process, you know that you’re talking to the best writers who applied.

The assessment tests also give you confidence that the person you’re interviewing is a genuinely good writer, and not simply good at interviews or that they submitted a false portfolio (often with a plan to outsource the writing). You save time, save money and ensure that you get the best quality writers. There’s not much not to love about writer assessment tests.

Key Takeaways

Hiring a content writer is an important step in your business development. Take the time to get it right and your business can reap serious rewards. Remember that not all writers are built the same, you need to find the person behind the keyboard that is the right fit for your organization.

  • Make sure you understand exactly what the writer is going to be writing for you before starting the hiring process.
  • Using writer assessment tools will save you in the future.
  • Personalize your questions to the role during the interview process.
About Carson Derrow

My name is Carson Derrow I'm an entrepreneur, professional blogger, and marketer from Arkansas. I've been writing for startups and small businesses since 2012. I share the latest business news, tools, resources, and marketing tips to help startups and small businesses to grow their business.