Content is everywhere. Just look around — it’s in your favorite book, on the screen in front of you, in the music you’re listening to, in the epigram you got with your coffee this morning. And if you run a business, content is everywhere on your platforms, in your banners, on your packaging. So, as I said, content is everywhere. It is there because someone created it first.
Now, I wasn’t really going to write a blog on this topic, but I constantly get irritated when I see poor content writer choices. My explanation for this is that some organizations and businesses struggle to understand what would make a genuinely productive and profitable hire. And yes, I have a lot to say on the matter.
Here are the key traits to look for in a professional content writer that can really move your business forward.
Look for a writer with a strong, confident writing voice
Of course, marketing, strategy, and persuasion techniques can be taught, mastered even, but voice, on the other hand, cannot. It is something that needs time to develop, and it comes from an intelligent, creative, and conscientious person. In other words,
It comes from character.
Look for a writer whose work is convincing, smart, interesting, funny, perceptive, and you actually enjoy reading.
Hire a content writer with a solid grasp of spelling, grammar, and flow
It’s or its, that is (often) the question.
We covered the creative part, but let’s not forget the technical one. Yes, pretty, smart words are amazing, but if they lack context, spelling, and mundane issues that make the difference between sounding confident and silly — you are wasting your money.
Get a writer on board who can find an intriguing angle… to even the most boring of topics
Pick the most boring topic you can think of. Artificial turf, drywall repair, physics, it doesn’t matter. You will know you are dealing with the right content writer straight up. If old news is presented in an enticing new package that is both competent and creative, you hold on to that writer!
Look for a professional who understands the elements of content that sell
Everyone can put down words that sound good, are backed by knowledge, and have a certain level of creativity. But a skilled writer knows how to navigate a stranger down the path of curiosity and transform them into a delighted customer.
You need someone who knows what type of content works for what kind of audience and purpose. What works for landing pages, what needs to go in a blog, and what is best left for an email marketing campaign.
A skilled writer lives and breathes content writing strategy.
Which brings me to my next point…
Hire a writer who can articulate why they are using a specific content strategy
You need more than all of the above, you need
The icing on top of your cake.
The person responsible for writing your content must be able to explain precisely why they adopted a particular strategy in their video script, blog post, or white paper. They will be able to tell you, and you will need to take the time and listen.
It’s pointless to hire a writer you will second-guess every piece of content they produce for you. You need to give your writer space and let them defend it with explanations (when necessary).
And lastly, a professional content writer is committed to quality and ongoing education
I can tell you what you don’t need. A pennies-a-word kind of person who lacks the desire to commit and learn more about you, your topic, and your business.
From search algorithms and trending social media trends to the types of headlines that perform well these days — professional copywriters need to stay plugged in to the changes in our profession.
Where do you find these amazing superhuman content writers?
Okay, full disclosure here. I may have cheated when I wrote this article. I tried to stay impartial, given that I am a pro writer myself, but after a while of staring at a blank document, I simply took the common traits of all the writers in the 411 Writers team. There were others, such as occasional insomnia and the deep understanding that food is life, but that would make for an awfully long blog.
To end it on a positive note, skilled copywriters are not as rare as unicorns. The right one for you is out there somewhere!