Hiring a Freelance Copywriter: The Ultimate Step-by-Step Guide
So, you are looking to grow your small business? That’s great news! Internet marketing is a logical option for sharing who you are and what you do but nowadays pay-per-click (PPC) advertising can be costly, sometimes prohibitively so.
There are some straightforward methods available to increase your Return on Investment (ROI) measures on PPC ads, but, in addition to high fees, these mostly require dedicated attention and a long-term window for turnaround.
Fortunately, there is a low-cost alternative that not only establishes but strengthens your business visibility and, by association, you overall brand. You should consider content marketing.
Content marketing is one of the most practical and beneficial marketing strategies used today. It involves the creation and sharing of online content in an effort to garner (direct or indirect) interest in your overall brand.
That being said, in order to achieve quantifiable marketing results and increase traffic flow to your site, you will require fresh, up-to-date content. Seems simple, right? Not always. But it certainly can be with the right copywriter on your side. But how can you go about finding one? Hiring a full-time copywriter for your small business might not be practical or financially feasible. Outsourcing your content marketing workload to a specialized freelance writer is the perfect solution—and, finding a company that specializes in freelance content creation has never been easier.
1) Pick your platform
There are plenty of companies out there offering freelance copywriting services for small businesses. As always, it is best to research the options specific to you and your industry—if, however, time is not on your side and you need to resuscitate your brand sooner rather than later, you can still find a platform that promises quality and a quick turnaround.
Here are some of the best options available for content creation:
If you are looking to outsource superior copywriters for your start-up or small business, then ContentFly is the platform for you. Unlike other companies, ContentFly uses unique algorithms to match you with the ideal writer for your specific content request. No second-guessing! The writer who is assigned to your project not only knows their stuff but wants to work on your particular job and brings industry-specific expertise.
The freelancers on ContentFly—described as an Uber-like network of talent—rely heavily on a ratings system in order to grow: writers accrue ratings for each project, and those who dip below a four-star standing are removed from the pool. It’s that simple. You are all but guaranteed quality work from professionals who thrive to stay at the top of their game.
ContentFly charges a simple, flat monthly fee for clients, not to mention a comprehensive 14-day free trial, which includes content revisions (if necessary), research and royalty-free images.
Crowd Content is another tool for those looking to use freelancers—this one boasting of a worldwide pool of writers and specialists from various fields, including social media, blogging and website content creation.
Their cost structure is focused more on per-word, with rates ranging from 2.2 cents/word for entry level talent, up to 12 cents/word for writers deemed “experts.” Unlike other sites, Crowd Content actually offers lower rates for low quality work—a perfect, cost-effective option for those businesses that are perhaps just starting off with a limited budget and a smaller audience.
UpWork is certainly a popular option, having garnered praise in various international publications. UpWork offers top-tier freelance talent from across a vast spectrum of industries—from content writers to graphic designers to web developers, even chartered accountants.
Clients sign up for a free account and, after answering a few comprehensive questions about their personal and business expectations, they post a job. UpWork then searches their database of talent and provides the client with a shortlist of freelancers based on corresponding skillset and experience.
UpWork allows their clients to pay freelancers directly—by the hour, or at a fixed rate for entire projects. They even have a licensed escrow service which releases funds once pre-set milestones are met.
2) Put it in Writing
Once you have decided on an outsourcing company, your next step will involve communicating your content needs.
Copywriters love receiving briefs—and the better the brief, the better your content. Be as informative as possible. Adding a word count and a hard deadline is a no-brainer. However, in order to get the most out of your copywriter, you’ll need to delve a little deeper. Include key information, where applicable: your target audience, the tone of the work, even the language: is your content going to be read by a primarily US-based audience? Then you might want to consider the Chicago Style over other formats like Harvard Style (popular in the UK and Australia).
Seriously—if you think that you might be sharing too much information, don’t worry!
A great example of a brief for your freelance writer includes the structured points below:
- Topic — What is the subject of your content? (For example: “How to Create a Web Page in Five Simple Steps”, etc.)
- Description — What would you like written? (For example: is there a specific structure your writer should follow? What is the one value you hope to impart to your readers?)
- Audience — Who will be reading your content? (For example: who do you want to read this? Computer programming students? Readers unfamiliar with technology?)
- Format — Where will your content ultimately live? (For example: social media, web landing page, print, etc.) Tone — How would you like the writer to deliver your message? (For example: friendly, instructional, formal, casual, etc.)
- Tense — How should the content be written? (For example: in the first, second or third-person?)
- Spelling — English (UK / Canadian or US), etc.
- Examples — Is there an existing article you would like the writer to reference? (Including a URL to the specific piece you would like the writer to emulate would be helpful)
- Research Links — Can you include any useful research links that the writer can source?
- SEO (Search Engine Optimization) — Should the writer include any keywords, meta-descriptions, etc.
- Overview of your business — This will help the writer develop a better understanding of what you need and how they can deliver
- Additional comments — Include anything extra that you feel will help the writer make your content stand out
Don’t feel overwhelmed! If any pertinent information is missing from your brief, your copywriter will be sure to follow up (services like ContentFly encourage their freelancers to ask plenty of questions!)
3) Keep it Going
You have now found your source for freelance copywriters, and you have put together your very first content marketing brief. Now it is just a matter of focusing on turning that content output into deliverable results.
When updating content strategies for your business, it is important to keep one eye looking forward, with the other every so often glancing back. What methods have worked for you in the past? Which have resulted in high numbers of engagement and click-throughs? Now, take elements of those findings and incorporate them into a completely new strategy. For example, if you have found that audiences respond well to your “How To…” blogposts, it might be a good idea to add them to your site with greater regularity: turn a once bi-weekly feature into a three-times-a-week staple. This simple solution to increasing traffic can be made even simpler with a freelance copywriter.
Still need some inspiration? Here are some valuable tips on how to build an effective content marketing strategy.
Ultimately, the common denominator to best marketing your business and brand is content frequency: in this day and age, if you want to be on top, you need to stay on top—of everything. Delivering content—unique, quality content—into the universe before competitors beat you to it, is the best method for achieving strong ROIs. Hiring a freelance copywriter to assist with content marketing strategy is your ticket to greater engagement and all-round small business success.