(Second of a series on finding, hiring and working with writing services for your business. The first was: Finding writing services to help with your marketing.)
Hiring your ‘best-fit’ writing service
1) First, request “clips.” That’s an old-fashioned word that comes from the days when journalists would provide published articles they had written clipped from the newspaper as samples of their work when applying for a job. For your purposes, you want to see links to blog posts the writer or writing service has published. Blog writing is different from other kinds of writing. In addition to research, business writing and storytelling skills, it requires a knowledge of SEO copywriting principles.
2) Make sure applicants demonstrate an ability to write in the “voice” of the blog owner if you are asking the writing service to be a ghostwriter for you. This means you may need to give the applicant a trial run by paying him to write a post or two to see how well he can pick up your style. This is also a way to find out if the applicant can meet deadlines — another very important consideration that you can’t judge from clips.
3) Establish how much editorial control you plan to maintain over your blog. If you are looking for writing services to whom you can virtually hand over your content creation, you will require a much higher trust level — and therefore a more professional service. On the other hand, if you are someone who needs to have a greater level of personal control over your content, and you know that you will require the writer to make numerous edits, you’ll want to make sure that the writer you hire is comfortable being edited.
4) Just because someone can write, doesn’t mean they can communicate. It’s essential that you “connect” with the person or writing service you are considering. If you are meeting face-to-face, does the writer or business owner look you in the eyes? If you are meeting over the phone, can you hear genuine enthusiasm in her voice? Does she seem genuinely interested in your business? Does she offer suggestions before you hire her?
5) Have the right stuff means having the right attitude. A great writing service will demonstrate dedication to its clients by being flexible — within reason. For example, if you have a deadline project that you need the writer to help you with that is going to require weekend work, a great service will help you out — as long as it isn’t expected on a routine basis. Don’t take advantage of your writer if you want to keep them.
6) A writer needs to be mature, self-confident and ethical. Writing is hard work. You need to be sure that the writer you hire doesn’t take short cuts by skimping on research when that is required or by stealing other people’s work. Not only is your reputation at stake, but you can be sued if someone’s copyright is violated.
This is one of the key hires you will make to advance your business, so it is important to get it correct. Hiring a great writing service to help you with your content creation not only will make your life much simpler, it will reward you with business leads from inbound marketing. This means the right writing service more than pays for itself.
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