To hire a freelance writer, or not. That is the question.
Nobody likes to part with their hard-earned money, right? After all, you — well, worked hard to earn it. And dear reader, I’m right there with you. I freely admit that I resist spending money unnecessarily, and admittedly, often even when it is necessary.
Some might even call me a — gasp! — penny pincher. Well, if the sandal fits.
But even I know there are times when outsourcing a task is a smart business move, and a decision to hire a freelance writer falls in that category.
You Do It All
Likely when you started your business, you were the chief cook and bottle washer. You did it all, from answering phones and emails, creating content, working on social media networking, and then some. You were new, and you needed to pinch every penny you could.
But through it all, you heard that little voice saying, You have to spend money to make money.
Arrgghhhh!!!! I hate that voice. I know it’s right, but what money, and under what circumstances? When am I a fool being parted with my money and when am I the smartest cookie in the jar?
If only it were easy.
Well, there are ways to make the decision easier and less painful. Nothing is foolproof, of course, but there are indicators that, if you’re paying attention, will give you a clue as to whether it’s time to hire a freelance writer.
Let’s Count The Ways
1. You hate to write.
Right out the gate, this is a huge flag, red, green, purple, or blue. If you hate to write, chances are it’s not your strong suit. Of course, you can put together an email to a colleague or write a message to a friend. You’re nobody’s dummy.
But there’s a big difference between being able to write a few sentences and the ability to write a compelling, well-written blog post or business email that enhances your goals.
Anyone can plunk a few keys on a piano, but it takes a trained pianist to make them sound like the voice of angels.
Writing articulately, in an engaging style, doesn’t come easily to everyone. And by the way, it has nothing whatsoever to do with any level of education or intelligence.
I’ve read many a poorly written marketing message produced by very smart, well-educated people. Somehow the writing thing just never worked for them. They can write, but it’s nothing to write home about if you’ll pardon the pun.
When you hire a freelance writer, you hire a person who possesses an innate ability to string words together eloquently, one after another, as my uncle used to say. It’s the equivalent of the trained pianist versus someone who writes out of necessity. The words don’t just sit there; they sing.
A freelance writer can save you the embarrassment of publishing a clumsily-crafted piece, filled with grammatical if not errors, at least awkward phraseology.
And make no mistake, people are often put off enough by a poorly written sales letter or article to send them looking for someone else with whom to do business. You just cannot afford to leave something that represents you and your brand to chance. The stakes are too high.
2. You lack the requisite writing experience and skill level.
Chances are, as I’ve already said, if you don’t enjoy writing, you probably haven’t honed your writing skills. A professional writer can say the same thing you might say, but they’ll say it so much better.
And there’s more to writing business material than simply being coherent. The visual layout of the piece, an eye-catching and engaging headline, and a knowledge of precisely how to write different types of business materials is what you invest in when you hire a freelance writer or blogger. Writing is, after all, what they do for a living.
And likely if someone has chosen to write for a living, they have a pretty decent command of the English language, keep themselves current with business writing and marketing trends, and know how to produce compelling material for your business.
3. You like to write, and even possess excellent writing skills, but your time is limited.
I know many business owners who tell me they love to write. They enjoy writing blog posts and crafting emails and marketing pieces for their products and services.
What they lack is the time to do the writing. And when time is lacking, the odds are that the blog posting will happen sporadically and inconsistently.
My experience has shown that the task that most often gets pushed completely off the stove, much less the back burner, is writing. Somehow it always ends up in the I’ll-do-it-later pile.
And if you have a website to which you’re hoping to drive readers and engage your audience, an inconsistently written blog can look like an unthriving business. Not exactly the message you want to convey.
One of the reasons people do business with you is because they trust and believe in you. Your up-to-date blog and business material are one of the best ways to build that trust.
4. You have no content strategy.
You might think it’s enough just to write something, anything, no matter what the topic, and you’re good to go.
Not so fast.
There is a method to the madness of writing, whether you realize it or not. Who is your audience? What are their pain points? How can you help them solve their problems?
What keywords apply to your business and how can you use them to increase your SEO (search engine optimization) ranking?
These days, being found by search engines is one of the best ways for your audience to find you and your services. And it takes some time to build up visibility in the search engines. Any old generically written piece is just not enough to do the job adequately.
You need a content creation strategy that builds your brand and engages your audience.
Of course, social media can help put you in front of people, but with ever-changing social media platform algorithms, the ability to keep up can be daunting. It’s like trying to catch a slippery fish with your bare hands.
When you hire a freelance writer, you don’t just get a writer. You get someone who’s well-versed is SEO ranking and engagement and can advise you on how to build your online presence. And these days an online presence is mandatory for any business, online or otherwise. Best to leave it to the pros.
5. You want your business to be profitable.
And we’re back again to when do you part with your money and when do you go the DIY route. For some people, writing their content themselves may be a splendid idea. If you have the expertise, time, skill level, and desire, by all means, put your money elsewhere.
But if you want your business to be ultimately profitable, and you just can’t make the writing thing happen on your own effectively, then one of the best decisions you can make is to hire a freelance writer.
Hiring a professional to handle your content marketing writing can help your business grow, make more sales, increase audience engagement, and lead to more profits — the best example of spending money to make money.
How To Hire A Freelance Writer
So if you’ve now seen the value in why you need to hire a freelance writer, your next question is where to find a skilled writer.
Well, the long answer would make for a separate blog post, which I will write soon. But in the meantime, there are a few things to keep in mind.
You can hire writers, along with other professionals, on such sites as Elance and Fiverr. But be aware, it’s not always easy to find the most highly skilled writers on those sites. Prices vary widely, and it’s not always an accurate reflection of skill level.
And keep in mind, many writers on Elance and similar sites are complete newbies. They start there because they don’t know what else to do — which isn’t necessarily a bad thing.
Everyone, even the best of the best, has to start somewhere. You may find a great writer on Elance and other similar sites, but be prepared to pick and choose and experiment to some degree until you find a good fit.
Search for sites that provide certified, skilled writers. For example, Copyblogger has a link where you’ll find Certified Content Marketers, who’ve successfully passed their stringent certification standards. These writers will not necessary be the least expensive, but you can be confident they’ll be among the best skilled. It’s better to pay for a quality writer than skimp and waste money trying to cut corners.
Find a writer by networking with others in your field. Often, especially if you’ve left the corporate world, you may know people who have connections with skilled professionals. Make inquiries and get testimonials from other professionals you trust. They can be a great resource when looking for the most experienced and qualified freelancers.
Get The Writing Monkey Off Your Back
A decision to hire a freelance writer, as well as any other qualified professional in any field, be it graphic arts, marketing, or what have you, can be one of the best decisions you can make for your business.
Letting skilled professionals handle tasks you either aren’t proficient at yourself or don’t have the time to accomplish frees you up to put your time and efforts where they’re best spent — doing what only you are uniquely positioned to do.
Once you’ve hired your freelance writer, give the relationship time to evolve. Like anything, it takes some time to work toward a smooth working relationship and to become familiar with working styles.
But once you get past the initial get-familiar stage, content creation for your business will begin to hum along like a very well-oiled machine.
Hiring a freelance writer will save you time. It will help keep you sane.
It will help increase your profits and build your audience.
Letting someone else handle your writing tasks gives you time to do other things, business related or otherwise.
And I ask you, can you think of a better investment to make in your business?