Is a blog or some other type of content marketing a key part of your online business plan? Not everyone is a writer, but fortunately there are a multitude of those that are waiting online, fingers poised to start churning out great content that connects with your audience. But before you dive right in to hire the first so-called writer you come across, let’s have a look at some tips for outsourcing your content the right way.

Online Writer

Source: flickr.com/photos/yourdon

1. Hire a Professional

Yes, I realize this sounds like an obvious point, but not every person who takes a couple bucks for an article is a true professional. Problems abound for business owners that amateurs.

You can hire writers churning out 500 word pieces for $5 each, you can hire writers that charge $100 – $200, and you can hire writers at every price point in between. Do you think there might be a difference between the results you might get?

A writer who treats the business like a real business will spend time researching and crafting your content. They’ll also be concerned about their reputation online and therefore have more to lose.

How do you find these writers? Not as easily said than done, but a good start is to Google their business online. Check out their website and reviews in places like Elance or other sources where they pick up work.

If they have any type of credibility on the web, there should be testimonials on their website – if not, watch out. LinkedIn is another good place to dig up some info. How about looking in the phonebook and finding a true business owner with money to advertise?

Or, perhaps the best way to go about it is to get a recommendation from someone rather than relying on a random person you discover on the web.

2. Offer Guidance

Remember that writers may be pros at penning content but that doesn’t make them mind readers. Give them some good direction – top corporations hiring writers usually offer a creative brief that goes into the company’s branding, tone of voice, customer demographics, and the details of the campaign at hand.

Much, much better than just telling them you want five blog articles about real estate.

On top of this, don’t expect them to get it exactly right the first time. Make sure to read the stuff they write and offer feedback and direction. If there’s something you’re not thrilled with, tell them and explain why. If you want writing delivered in a certain format, let them know.

Some positive feedback is always welcome as well, but don’t be afraid to tell them exactly how you want your content; otherwise, they cannot adapt to you as a new customer.

3. Look for Experts that Write

I recommend hiring writers that have experience creating work for clients rather than just some college student with nothing better to do – as the former will know how to treat a respected client – but it’s best to seek out specialists too.

Smart writers focus on certain niches they already know about because they can speak more intelligently about these topics with less research. Also, experts in many niches sometimes realize there’s a lot more money in writing about them than sitting behind a desk someday; these are the minds you want on your team.

4. Check for Plagiarism

No matter who your writer is, it’s always best to make sure no plagiarism is going on. Sure, we all want to trust each other, but remember that it’s you who loses credibility if a worker pulls one over on you. My two favorite ways to check this are running the article through Copyscape and/or Googling particular unique sentences in quotes to see if they come up somewhere else.

5. Ask Your Writer for Ideas

There’s a misconception that most writers are just IM’ers who can’t hack it at what they really want to do, which may be true in some of the cheaper markets, but a lot of writers are true professionals who enjoy what they’re doing and have a lot of experience creating content.

Considering that it’s very possible for a content writer to make $100 or more per hour writing, it makes perfect sense to touch bases with them on what you’re trying to accomplish and ask if they have ideas to contribute (just don’t expect consulting-type services if you’re paying bottom-dollar rates).

Writers are creative people who often know the ins and outs of communicating online. Talk to them.

6. Treat a Pro Like a Pro

It’s also worth mentioning that if you find a professional, treat them like a professional. They are not your word slave. If you want added services, pay for them. If you want rush orders, pay for them. And always remember that how you treat people will often directly affect how they treat your project.

Any tips or warnings about working with online writers? Tell us about your experiences.