how to hire a content writer

how to hire a content writer

This article will hopefully benefit anyone trying to hire a full time content writer as I’ve been in your shoes several times.

Let’s get straight to it with pros & cons.

“Possible” pros of having a full time content writer:

  • Having a writer on staff is cheaper than hiring a (good) content writer.
  • Your writer will get to know the intricacies of your business.
  • You will have better control of the content being produced.

Cons of having a full time content writer:

  • Everyone thinks they’re a writer. I have been through thousands of resumes of lawyers, people with English degrees and people with degrees in creative writing. Some people are authors, journalists, or “SEO copywriting experts”. So, writers are a dime a dozen, right? Wrong. Finding someone who understands search and can write for the web charges accordingly for their services or is self employed. I completely agree that there are a lot, possibly even most writers who write significantly better than myself, however, is that content seen? Does it display in search where people can find it? There is a science and an art to making this happen.
  • They’re slow. A business I was recently consulting with did hire a full time writer at around $20/hr. The writer was producing 4  articles each week. After taxes, payroll, and unemployment insurance and what not you’re looking at $250/article and all the BS that comes along with having another human on your payroll. If you outsource this you can simply fire anyone who isn’t getting you business. On the other hand, if the articles are excellent, 2,00 word resources, then $250 isn’t bad at all.

Actually hiring a content writer

  • Determine if they will work remotely or in house. I am a firm believer in the fixed and growth mindsets. People with a fixed mindset are difficult to motivate. I would even argue that you can not motivate people; they’re either motivated and interesting in improving every day or they’re not. Anyways, remote workers may work out great or they may find it difficult to concentrate in their home environment. Some workplaces may require collaboration of projects- in other cases people can simply sit at home with their feet up whipping out epic content for 8 hours at a time.
  • Determine what type of content you need and what the content should achieve. Do you need 15 minute articles like this one? Or do you need in depth, well researched content? Keep in mind most people are going to spend about 10 seconds reading your content.
  • Write a job description. Of course, you will need to write up a job description. My personal goal here is to discourage as many people as possible from applying. Again, I point to the fact that there are millions of people who think they are great writers. The last time I was hiring writers I had people new the US applying who are still learning English. No matter how clear you are you can expect 99% of the people who apply will be completely incompetent.
  • Post the job. Writers are looking for jobs online. You can go to Craiglist or Monster or any number of “writer job boards”. I’m not making any recommendations here but if you Google that phrase you’ll see plenty of job boards online.
  • Interview. If you are a business owner you know how the rest of the process goes down. Even if you have the best judgement in the world or the greatest HR team, you will conduct interviews, hire the best person you can find, and when they don’t work out, you will fire them and start over. Or maybe you’ll get lucky the first time around.
  • Experience. Experience varies drastically in this field. I have found attorneys who can not write legal content and people with bachelor’s degrees in English who couldn’t write a sentence in under 5 minutes to save their life. I’ve also found people washing dishes who can write content about practically anything. Use your own discretion here and find someone who can use a tone which represents your brand as accurately as possible.

Don’t hire a content writer

If you’re on the fence about hiring a content writer feel free to email me with any questions you may have. I’m always up for a quick chat and have been marketing content since 1993. We also produce content for clients worldwide and produce everywhere from 3 – 70 articles per month for existing clients.

Maybe you do not need a content writer. Maybe you need 5. Who knows. If you have any tips on how you hire your writers please feel free to let us know below.


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