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How to get content written when you don’t have a content team.

Olivia Craig

May 8th, 2018

Tips for ways to hire writers, run contest or outreach to get content written for you. 

Let’s face it. High-quality content created in house is a luxury many small businesses simply can’t afford or even justify. Strategic storytelling designed to reach your ideal audience, on the perfect platform, at ‘just the right’ time – no doubt you’re well aware of the important role well-written content such as blogs, social media updates, email campaigns, website landing pages and beyond play in business. According to a study done by the Content Marketing Institute, content marketing generates over three times as many leads as outbound marketing and rakes in conversion rates six times higher than other methods. Creating and promoting quality content takes consistent strategy, skill and effort, not to mention quite a bit of time. What if your business doesn’t have a designated content team, or even an in-house writer? Can you still capitalize on kick-ass content? Absolutely.

Before we can fully emerge ourselves in the world of ‘outsourcing’, let’s first talk about key qualities you should look for in a content writer. We’ve broken down a list of awesome attributes that can make (or break) your content marketing efforts:

    • Tone – depending on the variety of content you are hoping to outsource, your content writer’s ability to master the ‘tone’ of your brand is crucial
    • Scannability – again, content type varies here but some of the best writers are able to effortlessly work in subheadings, shorter paragraphs, and intelligent use of bolds or bullets to make your copy easily readable
    • Traffic Generators – you aren’t hiring a writer to simply crank words out, a quality content writer will have a solid understanding of the role their storytelling should play in your brand – and buyers – journey
    • Problem Solvers – often, people read content to find solutions to their problems, and your content writer should be more than able to provide such answers in clear, appealing terms

Now that we’ve discussed some key traits to consider when looking to outsource your content, let’s explore some sites that will help you find such wordsmiths.

1. Fiverr

With a slogan like: “Bring your idea, we’ll handle the rest”, Fiverr – a global online marketplace offering digital services starting at $5 per job (hence the name) – enables you to browse through freelancers offering services and even post a request for your specific content needs. Signing up for Fiverr is free and must before you are able to buy or sell any services. Once registered, you’re ready to find a writer to help you bring your content dreams to life, but first, let’s review a few key terms that will come in handy:

Gig: A service offering on Fiverr, for example: “I will write your quality blog for x amount”

Seller: The freelancer (and a registered user who offers ‘Gigs’ on Fiverr)

Buyer: The employer (you, a registered user who is purchasing ‘Gigs’ on Fiverr)

Explore Fiverr’s built-out Digital Marketing tab where you can find services such as Social Media Marketing, Email Marketing, and Content Marketing or search directly in the bar above. You’ll be able to shift through bundles like Articles & Blog Posts, Creative Writing, Business Copywriting, Content Marketing – and explore gigs for, you guessed it, as inexpensive as $5 (and ranging upwards to $200). Word to the wise: avoid the $5 gigs – it’s safe to assume such a low cost will not get you real, high quality copywriting work. We recommend looking for writers who clearly specialize in the services provided and value their time spent and work! Once a ‘gig’ catches your eye, you’ll be able to explore the offered packages and writer profile to better determine if this would be a good match for you, and your business.

Keep in mind that while Fiverr sellers (freelancers) can amass great star ratings (on a scale of 1 to 5) that doesn’t always mean they’re qualified writers. It’s important to dig in a bit and explore their profiles – read the description of the services they provide, paying close attention to profile and gig descriptions to best measure the level of competency. You can also explore each writer’s client reviews to see how other buyers (employers) have faired using their services!

2. Upwork

The largest freelance platform in the world, Odesk and Elance merged in to become this massive leader in hiring freelancers. You can use Upwork to find a wide range of writers, with filters focused on skill requirements that will help you narrow down your candidates until you’ve found what – or who – you’re looking for. Upwork lets you specify for any scope of work – short-term tasks, recurring projects, or even full-time contract work.

To begin, you’ll post a job detailing your project and the specific skills required to knock the job out of the park! From there, Upwork analyzes your needs with their search functionality and data science to highlight the ‘best’ freelancers for the job based on their skills. You’ll receive a shortlist of likely candidates directly. If you’d rather shop around, you can browse profiles to compare client ratings, portfolios, and job success scores.

Upwork charges freelancers a service fee depending on the total amount they’ve billed with a client. As a client, there is no charge to sign up for Upwork or even get quotes from freelancers, however there is a 2.75% payment processing fee that will be included in your agreed upon cost with the freelancer you hire.

Speaking of free, unlike Fiverr, Upwork offers their own ‘service options’ – Upwork Pro and Upwork Enterprise that will cost you but range in capabilities like consolidated invoicing, talent search assistance, and even custom reporting.

Upwork Pro: Benefits of Upwork Pro include saved time – Upwork Pro will review all submitted proposals from potential freelancers that are responding to your job and will only connect you with highly qualified professionals. Work with Pro freelancers who set their own pricing, depending on their expertise. Writers in this category typically range from $20 to $100 per hour. Charges an additional 10% client fee on invoices & a one-time $500 job search fee.

Upwork Enterprise: With Upwork Enterprise, the process of contracting talent, tracking work, and even paying freelancers is streamlined through a single platform, making communication with your internal team and freelance team even easier. You’ll have access to Upwork’s top independent contractors.

3. LinkedIn ProFinder

With over 50,000 highly skilled, experienced service providers and freelancers, LinkedIn ProFinder makes it fairly easy to browse, check out previous clients, read recommendations, and request quotes.

To get started, describe your project by answering a few simple questions – detailing what type of copywriting project you’re looking to hire for, about how many pages, scope of work, desired turn around time, and how you’d like to work with the pro. Do you want to meet in person? Are you comfortable with virtual interactions? Once you’ve given LinkedIn ProFinder enough information you’ll begin to receive offers from their curated list of copywriters.  

LinkedIn ProFinder aims to deliver five responses within 24 business hours of your request. You’ll review the proposals and reply directly to each pro through LinkedIn Messaging.

A few last tips to consider

  • Consider the factors that go into a copywriter’s pricing – don’t expect a blog that cost you $5 to knock your socks off (or generate incredible leads)
  • The longer the content, the more you will pay – a hefty-word count blog post that called for research will cost you so take that into consideration. If you’re hungry for length but shy on hours (or budget) provide the writer with as much research as possible, so that you’re only paying for pure writing time
  • Many copywriters offer packages or bundles at a cheaper rate than hourly or per project, so if you find someone you love working with consider hiring them in this format to save yourself a bit of time, money and energy

We know that outsourcing your content can seem daunting, but by following our call outs we’re confident you’ll be well on your way to finding the wordsmith of your dreams. Don’t forget that quality content is an investment in your business, one that frees you (or your team) up to work on the things you do best in your business.