How to interview a freelance writer
A great content marketing strategy starts with finding a great writer
Content marketing plays a vital role in generating revenue and creating brand awareness. It's a powerful channel for brands to connect with their targeted audience, and helps push brands to the top of search engine results, getting them in front of more customers.
But what if your company can't afford an in-house content writer? Or, what if you have an in-house content team but you want to scale your production? You might want to enlist the aid of some freelance content writers.
Finding the right freelance writer can make a huge difference to your content marketing efforts. But finding the right writer means asking the right questions.
Different types of freelance content writers
Before we dive into the interview process, let's have a look at some of the types of content you might need a freelance writer for. Every writer has a few areas they have a mastery of, so they bring unique skills and experiences to different types of content. The writer you choose depends on how well their skills match with your content needs.
They are experts in turning complex topics into simple and engaging conversations. This requires knowledge of SEO and use of keywords to give the content a better chance at ranking in search engine results
Copywriters are masters of short form content. They might write marketing copy for your product descriptions, ad copy for your online advertising or calls to action for your website.
They are natural storytellers, and serve as good brand ambassadors. They're often employed by brands for writing press releases or customer stories that portray the brand in a positive manner.
They have the amazing ability to convert highly technical information into easily understandable writing for their audience. Technical writers are great at producing how-to and troubleshooting guides for your product or service.
Highly skilled writers who are able to switch their writing tone to take on the voice of another person. A ghostwriter is a good choice if you want content to appear under your name and reflect your personality, but need some help communicating your message.
No multimedia agency can survive without a scriptwriter. They have the ability to put visual concepts into words, and communicate them in such a way that a videographer can execute them.
Qualities to look for in a freelance content writer
There are a lot of highly skilled freelance content writers out there. They may have different areas of expertise, but they share some important qualities:
- Impeccable command of grammar and spelling
- An exceptional ability to research
- Ability to meet tight deadlines
- Ability to adapt a variety of writing tones and compose in a variety of structures on a variety of subjects
- A creative mindset to generate new and unique ideas for different kinds of content
Questions to ask a freelance writer
Before we dive into the interview questions you should ask a freelance writing candidate, we want to bring up an important point. Make sure you thoroughly examine a freelance writing candidate's portfolio. Look at their past work to get an idea of their tone, the topics they've written about in the past and their command of language. A writer's portfolio is the best tool for evaluating their abilities.
You should also pay attention to their reviews from past clients. Reviews will give you insight about how reliable they are, whether they deliver work in a timely manner and whether their work met their clients' expectations. If a freelance writer's portfolio is a window into their abilities, their reviews are a window into their work ethic.
Once you've narrowed down your candidates using their reviews and portfolios, you should find the writer who best fits your project by asking these questions:
- What type of content do you usually create?
- What types of clients have you worked for in the past?
- Do you have a particular niche you specialize in?
- How do you differentiate between good content and bad content? How can you tell if the content you produce is performing well?
- What elevates a piece of content from good to great?
- How do you create content that converts into sales?
- How do you create content that people connect with and want to share?
- How do you conduct research on the target audience?
- This is our brand and this is what we do. Now, what kind of content do you think would best serve our brand?
- How quickly do you usually turn around work?
- Do you offer unlimited revisions?
- What information do you need from me before you get started?
Content marketing offers one of the highest returns on investment of any marketing channel. But, a successful content marketing strategy needs excellent content. The gap between good content and great content is even greater than the gap between good and bad content. And only great content will produce a result.
For great content, you need a great freelance writer who understands your brand, understands your goals and can produce content that stands out among a sea of competing voices. Asking the right questions puts you one step closer to finding that writer.