October 6, 2021
By Angel Rizo
Read Time :
8 min

Key Questions to Ask When Hiring Expert Content Writing Services

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Reading Time: 8 minutes

Expert content writing services have been a lifeline for many entrepreneurs. Delegating these tasks to third parties allows them to focus on the key aspects of their business. But it’s not just small businesses that hire these types of suppliers. Marketing managers, social media managers and SEO companies also commonly outsource these tasks.

Hiring content writing services can be more a cost-effective and efficient alternative to having an in-house team. Nevertheless, before choosing a supplier, you should clearly define your needs and establish the guidelines for a win-win relationship. 

In this post, we'll cover:

5 things to consider when outsourcing content writing

Selecting an external collaborator can be just as delicate a process as hiring a permanent employee, if not more. This also applies equally to hiring a content writing services company or a freelance writer. The collaborators you choose should be able to work side by side with your team, even if they are in different locations. This may mean less contact, but you will still need to delegate key tasks for your business. That is why it is important to be confident of their suitability before you begin to assign projects. Here are 5 things to consider when outsourcing content writing:

1. Skills
2. Experience
3. Enthusiasm
4. Affinity
5. Working conditions

1. Skills

The best way to assess a content writer’s skill level is to review their previous work. Don’t hesitate to ask for samples of their work and, if possible, ask for an example relevant to your industry or a related category. Pay special attention to the fluency of the text, grammar and spelling. It is useful to compare various pieces of writing to allow you to reflect on the ability to adapt to different tones and content.

2. Experience

Tackling certain topics can be difficult, even for skilled copywriters. Being aware of the extent of a copywriter’s experience. This can help you decide if they are the right fit for your project. While we may all have multiple interests, it may seem, at first glance, difficult for a tech writer to work in sports publishing.

On the other hand, research to see if this individual has collaborated on projects similar to yours. Publishing for social media is not greatly related to writing technical manuals or landing pages. It’s true that there is always a first time, but, if you are willing to give it a chance, you will have to take the risk. Don’t forget that your brand image, time and money are at stake.

3. Enthusiasm

The content writer will be responsible for giving voice to your project. Enthusiasm and commitment should be reflected in the work. It is important that your employees are passionate about what they do and are proud to be involved in the project. A piece with informative, accurate content but lacking voice will not make a lasting impression on or evoke any kind of response from your audience. In marketing, emotion and curiosity are crucial elements. A person committed to their work always gives the best of themselves and is not satisfied with merely fulfilling tasks. This is the energy you need your team to reflect.

Content writing may seem like a subjective assessment, but certain details will allow you to be able to perceive the writer’s interest. Pay attention to their questions. These reveal their level of knowledge of the industry and their inclination towards the subject. They may be curious to know more than the essential requirements and will want to delve into the motivations and expectations of the project.

4. Affinity

As human beings, we are vulnerable to emotions; they can work for or against us. Teams consisting of like-minded or complementary people tend to be more productive. They establish a better understanding among themselves and develop a more positive working environment. This results in relationships based on trust, collaboration and respect that can make a difference in any initiative.

5. Working conditions

Obviously, working conditions need to be defined. In addition to agreeing on rates that fit your budget, pay attention to delivery times and availability. It is also important to outline corrections policies and project scope and to determine the ability to take on special projects.

Clarify all the details, as the fine print in contracts can affect your project. Cheap content writing services may include very high additional costs for proofreading or editing or for the fulfilment of tasks on very tight schedules. The service may also set deadlines that are too long. On the other hand, make sure that the payment methods are acceptable. Some companies require upfront payments or have billing restrictions. Also, be sure you understand the tax and administrative implications if you hire suppliers from another country.

What should you ask a content writing service provider?

To help you expand on these areas, we have put together a list of essential questions to ask yourself when hiring expert content writing services. Be sure to adapt them to the characteristics of your project and your own language. There is no precise order, but they can serve as a guide so that you do not overlook any important points.

On skills and experience

Knowing how to write is not sufficient for creating effective. Without a doubt, knowledge of grammar and spelling is important, even indispensable. But your collaborator will need other skills as well. When interviewing a potential collaborator, cover the following topics to gain a sense of their skills and experience:

Portfolio

Most likely, you have had a chance to review some examples of the candidate’s content writing examples. While facts can speak louder than words, you can also ask directly about their previous experience. Pose questions such as:

• What kind of work have you done before?
• How do you define your writing style?
• Would you be able to adapt to different voices and write for different audiences?

References

Even if you have reviewed some samples of their work, it is always advisable to get a first-hand look at the experiences of other clients. Check online reviews or ask for the contact information of a person or company they have worked with in the past.

This should not be a problem, as it serves the same purpose as the usual job references. With just one question, you can find out everything you need to know. Often, it is enough to inquire about the willingness to work again with that supplier or the reasons for ending the contractual relationship.

Style and preferences

One of the advantages of quality content writing services is their versatility. They usually have more than one writer on their team, so you are almost certain to find a suitable professional. However, it never hurts to ask about preferences. It is obvious that when a topic is close to our hearts, it is easier to write about it and generate new ideas.

Some writers specialize in certain topics or types of writing. Make sure your supplier is familiar with projects similar to yours. However, keep in mind that industry or category does not have to be a constraint. Even if the content writers are not experts in the field, they can conduct excellent research and achieve effective results.

It is more important to observe the writing styles. Look for examples that show a tone similar to what you are looking for, even if the subject matter is different. A good writer will find a way to create interesting and readable stories on any subject.

Quality of the content

The quality of content is not limited to the correctness of the text. For content marketing to be effective, it needs to be engaging and responsive to customer objectives. Look at the work samples you are given and evaluate them from the point of view of an ordinary reader. Are they attractive? Is the title inviting?

It is also useful to inquire about the KPIs used to measure the effectiveness of that text. Find out what the objective was, how their performance was measured and what the results were. In addition to reviewing the performance information, you can assess whether the writer is familiar with content marketing metrics.

SEO knowledge

Content marketing and SEO are intrinsically related. Ideally, you should hire expert content writing services to optimize your texts. You can create a verification template and set up a ranking among the companies or writers you evaluate. The following questions will help you create your own checklist format:

• Are keywords used? Is the density correct? Are the keywords included naturally or do they feel forced?
• Does the text provide value and answer a question from the audience?
• Does the article structure include headings and subheadings with the keyword and its variations?
• Is the length of the text and the distribution of sentences and paragraphs appropriate?
• Does the piece have images? Are they optimized?
• Are there meta titles, meta descriptions and tags?
• Are internal or external links used?

On enthusiasm

This is probably one of the most difficult aspects to evaluate. You can draw some conclusions by analyzing the interest shown during the interview and their willingness to respond to your requests. For example, it is a good sign when a prospective collaborator has taken the time gather information about your project.

Additionally, it is advisable to encourage your prospective contributor to share ideas for future content. Even if you have already defined the issues to be addressed, this question will allow you to see how they would approach the project.

Rather than assessing originality, analyze their vision and understanding of the topic and how it relates to your goals. On the other hand, it never hurts for the writer to demonstrate their creativity. This is particularly true of a writing opportunity for a blog as it will require the constant generation of new content. Their ideas can enrich your strategy and bring new perspectives.

On affinity

Direct conversation with the supplier is an initial step to test compatibility. Questions about working methodology can also guide you to operational affinities or differences. Another aspect to consider is whether they are familiar with your company or product. Are they aware of your products and services? Have they been a buyer or consumer? Do they know who your competitors are?

You can even ask specifically what their motivation or interest in the project is. Any reliable provider should be able to present reasons other than making money.

On working conditions and methodology

Multiple issues need to be clarified here. Do not underestimate their importance. A misunderstanding in any of these points can jeopardize the project. The best content writing service will be the one that can effectively respond to your needs and work style. In other words, not the cheapest, not the most expensive and not the most specialized. The best service will demonstrate an ability to adapt to the particular characteristics of your company or project.

Inputs and prior research

Research can satisfactorily make up for a poor command of a subject. Even when you hire an experienced content writing service, the writer will most likely need to dig deep into the subject matter. In this sense, the problem is not access to information, but the ability to filter it and identify relevant sources. Ask the writer how do they research topics, what sources do they consult and how do they contrast or verify the data.

Text editing and correction policy

Remember that the provider you hire will be responsible for your brand voice. Make sure you apply quality checks to the content systematically. Freelance writers often do not provide editing services. In this case, you will have to take care of it yourself or delegate it to a competent third party. It should also be determined whether the charge includes corrections and, if so, what amount of time is required for this. Ask about their editing and proofreading process and what it involves. Take appropriate action, and avoid skipping these steps.

Response time

Verify that the response times fit your needs and schedule. Even if you can take on more extended work deadlines at this point, be strict about meeting your deadlines. In addition to being a sign of professionalism and respect, this serves as a warning sign to prevent future mishaps. This is a point you can probe when you contact their previous clients to learn about their experience.

Working hours

When you outsource a content writing service, you may work with providers from all over the world. In this case, it is important that you consider time zone differences because it might be difficult to coincide. On the other hand, you should find out how much time your collaborator will dedicate to this work. Many freelance writers combine these activities with a permanent job.

Also, remember that, as there is no exclusive contract, your projects may coincide with those of other clients. Make your requests early and set clear expectations from the beginning to avoid delays. Be sure to let your provider know if you need them to be available on weekends or during off hours.

Are you ready to hire content writing services?

Content writing is one of the cornerstones of successful content marketing execution. Look for the best allies and provide them with the resources and support they may need. It is advisable to have a style guide which outlines the basic guidelines for your communications. Generally, these guides are used as a checklist for your requirements regarding tone, style, language, use of localism and writing standards. This will help you maintain brand consistency when outsourcing content writing services.

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