How do you find a content writer who gets results? After all, great content can help you get 6X higher conversion rates compared to companies that don’t use content marketing.
But as you might know by now, finding a content writer isn’t always that easy. You need someone who not only knows how to write, but also understands your business, sales, and marketing.
Want to learn more about how to find content writers online to help you grow your business with your content? Read on!
ChaptersChapter 1: Why do you need a content writer?
- What content marketing is and how to create highly profitable content.
- What skills your content writer should possess and how to decide if you should work with an industry expert or not.
- How to find the best content writers and what to look for.
- How to create successful projects and processes.
Why do you need a content writer?
What can a content writer do for your business?
Well, your business needs clients. And the cheaper those clients come, the more profitable your business will be.
That’s why content marketing is so powerful. You see, content marketing can help you get results like 3X more leads compared with traditional marketing strategies (according to Content Marketing Institute).
What is content marketing?
Need a quick crash course on what content marketing is? Content marketing means that you use content to get qualified leads to your business. With your content, you can also warm up those leads so that they know, like, and trust your business and respond better to your sales message.
Plus, content marketing is a GREAT way to quickly build your brand and become the “go-to” expert in your niche.
Your content can take the form of:
- Blog posts.
- Case studies.
- Social media content.
- And more.
You can (should!) create content for all stages of the buyer’s journey.
So when potential buyers are searching for solutions to their problems on Google or engaging on LinkedIn, your company pops up and they enter your sales cycle.
For example, one of my clients appears in top search results for search terms like “meeting action items” and “meeting management.” Their product is a meeting app.
In fact, they get 20,000-30,000 monthly visitors who search for similar search terms.
When their audience lands on their website, the first thing they read is highly informative content.
Think they’re one step closer to testing out their app?
How can you use your content in the most profitable way?
The great thing about evergreen content is that you can use it time and time again. If your content is optimized for search, you drive traffic (leads) from search results.
You can then use that content in your social media channels, drive ad traffic, create audio content, emails, webinars, and slide decks. You can use it at different stages of your sales process. And so forth.
The thing is:
Your profitability increases for every client you drive organically from one piece of evergreen content. For example, as your traffic grows from Google, so will the number of leads you drive automatically, without any extra effort or cost to you.
This does require that you have a converting sales funnel in place. So, a funnel that takes your content reader, converts this person into a lead, and ultimately, into a customer.
What is expert content?
By now, you know what your content marketing funnel looks like and what type of content you should create.
But there’s one more thing we need to look at:
What topics should your content be about?
This depends on your customers’ buyer’s journey.
What do they search for at all the different stages? What are their objections? What are their dreams?
When you know this, you can create powerful content that positions you as an expert.
For example, if you sell a consultancy service, your content should be about topics like buying consultancy services in your industry, questions your buyers tend to have about the type of services you sell, and expert pieces on industry issues.
To make this more concrete, if your consultancy is a marketing automation consultancy, some topics you might want to talk about are:
- How do you find a marketing automation expert?
- What is marketing automation?
- What are the best marketing automation tools?
When you grow your traffic and leads, you will ultimately position yourself as THE expert in your industry.
But to do all that, you need a content writer. That’s what we’ll look at next.
What should you look for in a content writer?
If you’ve ever tried to find a great content writer, you know it’s not always THAT simple.
After all, a good content writer has t-shaped skills. They should:
- Know how to write for the web.
- Know how to tell a story.
- Be source-critical.
- Understand how to sell.
- Understand how to drive traffic to your content (aka. understand SEO).
So, basically, your content writer should be a marketer, salesperson, writer, and journalist all in one.
Usually, these types of skills come from a varied background. I myself started out as a lawyer (which gave me a ton of these skills) before becoming a self-taught marketer. As a freelancer, I have to know how to sell, so, in short, that’s how you get a mash of various skills.
B2B vs B2C content writers
As a B2B business, you’ll want to work with a content writer who has experience in working with B2B content. Why? Because the B2B and B2C sales cycles are so different.
So, your content writer should understand when whitepapers, case studies, blog posts, or emails are used and how they should be positioned to attract your buyer (who isn’t necessarily the owner of your client company).
B2C sales, on the other hand, have short sales cycles and are usually directed to the primary buyer. Often, the cost or investment isn’t significant and so it’s easier to get people to say yes.
Do you need a content writer who is a subject-matter expert?
The next question is… Do you need a content writer who is an expert in your industry?
The answer? It depends.
You see, in an ideal world, you’ll find someone who is the top expert in whatever it is you’re selling.
And there are various B2B writing niches, like:
The most important thing is:
Your content writer must know how to write and sell.
Industry experts don’t always have those skills.
Of course, if you run a specialized business like a law firm or a health company, you’ll want someone who is familiar with law or health.
But for most B2B businesses, there are other ways to educate your content writer.
For example, I’ve worked in a ton of industries I had no clue about when I started working with my clients. Process automation, sustainability consulting, data solutions… You name it.
Yes, it definitely takes me a bit of time to get familiar with the niche and truly understand these topics. But what I and my clients tend to do is to set up interviews with in-house experts. I’ll interview them for an hour or so and then write a blog post about it.
This way, my clients don’t have to deal with the ‘curse of knowledge’ where an expert gets too tangled up in their expertise and has a hard time explaining things to a layman.
Plus, in most cases, great content doesn’t focus that much on technical features. Instead, you are selling a solution to your customers so your content writer doesn’t necessarily need to have a lot of technical knowledge.
(That’s not to say this applies to all cases. For example, if you’re a business in the health industry and you need to communicate health content, I would recommend that you a) either work with a health content writer or b) work with a more generalist writer who gets the support from an in-house expert.)
What type of content writer should you work with?
As you know by now, your content marketing strategy should include different types of content.
B2B writers have different specializations. These include:
- B2B technical writers.
- B2B sales writers.
- B2B content marketing writers.
- B2B social media writers.
If you want to find article writers, you should work with people who have proven experience in blog writing.
For example, I’m a B2B content marketing writer. My specialty is to build a lead funnel that takes people from Google to your content to your sales funnel.
But I also write whitepapers, case studies, and social media content.
What I don’t write are B2B sales copy and technical manuals. For these content types, you’ll want to work with people who live and breathe direct sales copy or the technical aspects of your business.
Where to find content writers
Now you know what you should be looking for in a freelance content writer. But where do you find good content writers? After all, to find freelance content writers (at least the right ones!), you need to know where to look.
As a content writer myself, these are my best tips for where people like me (aka. content writers who get results) hang out:
The first way to find professional content writers is to read blog posts on different websites. For example, many freelance writers write guest posts for websites like Entrepreneur, Forbes, and more. Alternatively, you can check out industry websites. Or read blog posts on personal sites, like the one you’re reading right now.
Another way to find a content writer is on platforms like Upwork. In that case, you’ll want to look at their history on the platform and reviews. I’ve connected with several great clients on Upwork who have found my profile after posting a job or searching for freelancers.
You could use job ads on sites like Indeed to see what type of response you get. Just remember: This might require you to weed through quite a few applications.
Referrals, events, and cold pitches
And finally, you can ask people in your network to refer freelance writers, meet content writers at industry events, and respond to cold pitches. I’ve connected with clients in all these different ways.
What to look for when hiring a content writer
You might think that the most important thing to look for in a content writer is their writing skills. And yes, absolutely. Your content writer should know how to write (…no surprise there).
But while someone might know how to write, they don’t necessarily know what to write to attract the right leads or how to position your text to get people to take action.
That’s why you should look at results.
What types of results has the content writer gotten? Are they successfully driving leads and sales to other clients? Do they have testimonials and case studies?
How to work with content writers
Before you start working with a content writer, you’ll want to know HOW to work with them to achieve the best results. After all, if you don’t have a plan or a goal, you’ll likely not see much of a return on investment.
Here’s a mini-guide based on my own years of experience of working with different types of clients and teams.
What types of results can you expect?
This is a big one because too many companies are investing in content marketing and not getting the results they expect.
Here’s the deal:
Content marketing is a way to build a very profitable lead funnel. After all, organic traffic doesn’t come with ad costs.
But, it also takes time to build up. While you can set up an ad campaign, test it, and start seeing results quickly (if you know how to use ads), organic traffic takes way longer to build.
You need a certain amount of traffic to start seeing conversions.
On average, 3% of site visitors will convert into leads (though usually, you will convert better than this, from what I’ve seen, 7-8% tends to be a good benchmark). And 1% of your email list will convert into sales (obviously this depends on the type of service or product you sell).
Also, how fast you see results depends on how much other work you’ve done so far. Do you already have great search engine traffic? A well-converting sales funnel?
Awesome- that means you will start seeing results much faster.
If not, it’ll take longer to build up that traffic and convert it into sales.
Expect it to take at least 3-4 months to start seeing enough traffic to your site (again, this can take more or less time depending on what work you’ve done so far, your industry, competition, and budget).
How to create a successful project
Over the years, I’ve identified a few things that will make or break a project.
Often, I see the same patterns when working with clients.
Here are the top mistakes I see businesses make that keep them from getting results and how to avoid them.
#1: Not having a sales process in place.
This is by far the TOP mistake. Often, a client will come to me and ask me to do SEO work. They know they want traffic and leads, but their goals are vague and they don’t have a proven sales process for their online traffic.
So, I’ll start driving traffic to their site, but that traffic won’t do much without a way to convert it.
The solution? If you want to start driving leads with your content, you need to simultaneously focus on creating a converting sales funnel.
This means: A way to convert web traffic into phone calls, subscribers, trials, and ultimately, customers.
#2: They don’t know their customers.
If you don’t know how your customers are talking about their problem and your product, what their objections are, and the benefits of your product or service, it’ll be hard to drive the right customers.
That said, I can usually get an idea of what type of content we need to create by talking to my clients, even if they don’t know the exact answers.
But in general, you’ll get MUCH better results if you know this before you start using content in your marketing.
#3: They only invest in parts of the process.
As we’ve seen, content marketing takes time to build up. Without investing properly in ALL parts of the process, you won’t get that great results.
Now, I certainly don’t mean that you can’t get any results if you don’t invest in case studies, blog posts, whitepapers, and social media posts all at once.
Nope, but you will need to invest in the thing that drives your leads (for example, blog posts) and the thing that converts your leads (your sales funnel).
You can definitely start lean. So you might do one blog post a month, some other SEO work, some social media work, and build your conversion funnel. Once that’s profitable, you move on to case studies, whitepapers, and more.
How to set up well-functioning processes
Content marketing is a process in itself. If you’re working with someone externally, you’ll want to have systems set up for that. The process I describe here below is based on the processes I set up for my clients.
Monthly calls and/or reports
By setting up monthly calls (or biweekly, if necessary) with your content writer, you can quickly get to the bottom of any bottlenecks, give feedback, and discuss your project. Plus, with some type of monthly reports or KPI tracking, you get an understanding of how your content marketing efforts are progressing.
A system for assigning tasks and delivering projects
Another way to work with your content writer is to set up a task list in a tool like Trello or Monday. Here, you have an overview of the tasks for a specific month and how those tasks are progressing.
Your content writer should also have a standard way of delivering work.
For example, do you share Google Docs folders?
And what are the milestones or monthly deadlines for your different tasks?
What’s a good rate?
Finally, what should your content cost?
As with most things in life, you get what you pay for. A lower-paid content writer doesn’t have that much experience, let alone sales or marketing experience.
When I first started out, I (naturally) asked for less than I do today. That’s because I wouldn’t have been able to get my clients the same results I can deliver today.
On the other hand, if you need someone who is highly technical AND is a good content writer, you’re definitely looking at a rate that’s on the higher end of the spectrum.
Plus, if I think of my own pricing, I’ll price a one-off project higher than a monthly commitment. After all, content writing rates need to include some type of buffer for educating and consulting clients and this type of work will eventually level off if I’m working with a client on a long-term basis.
That’s why there’s no straight answer. I would roughly sort content rates in these different categories:
$0.1-$0.2/word – lower-paid content writers who likely don’t have a ton of experience.
$0.3-$0.5/word – the middle of the spectrum. These content writers are experienced, but possibly not highly technical.
$0.6-$1.0/word – very experienced content writers with technical skills.
$1.0/word-up – extremely experienced content writers with highly technical skills.
This data by ClearVoice shows that rates can go anywhere from $0.01/word to $1 and above.
What types of content will your content writer work on?
Finally, a successful project requires you to understand what type of content you need. Here are some guidelines on different types of content and their ideal length.
Blog posts / articles
If you’re producing SEO articles (driving traffic from Google to your website), your articles should be at least 1,500 words long, but longer articles (2,000+ words) tend to do best in search. Not because there’s a “magic” number but simply because a value-packed post tends to be a more high-quality post.
(Note that this depends on your specific niche, the content you’re producing, your keywords, and so on. Always consult your content writer first!)
Emails / newsletters
There’s no perfect email length. Short OR long — it all depends on your audience and the goal of your email. For example, sales emails tend to be longer than newsletters or engagement emails.
Social media posts
The length and type of social media posts depend on your social media channels. For example, Twitter posts will be shorter than most LinkedIn or Facebook posts. And on LinkedIn or Facebook, the length depends on the type of post you’re publishing. Is it a post where you tell a story and engage your audience? If yes, it’s likely a bit longer than a short news update.
Whitepapers, ebooks, and case studies
Whitepapers and ebooks are long-form content types. These tend to be 1,500-5,000 words long, but they could be even longer. Case studies, on the other hand, are around 900-1,500 words long.
Want to get started?
There you have it. Now you know how to find a content writer. What it comes down to is finding a writer with T-shaped skills who gets your business (and is easy to work with).
In the end, the right content will help you create a more profitable and scalable business.