A professional content author has a strong, confident writing voice.
A strong, confident writing voice is essential. Can learn Strategy, marketing, and persuasion techniques (that’s what we’re here for). On the other hand, voice develops over time and must come from a creative, intelligent, and sensitive person. Can develop solid writing voice over time (learn how here), but without a lot of passion and commitment, your writer will never get that far. Talent can’t hurt, either.
Try to find the writer whose work is interesting, funny, intelligent, wise, and compelling. Search for someone whose writing you enjoy reading.
A professional content writer has a solid knowledge of spelling, grammar, and language usage
If you don’t have the resources to add an editor to your team, your writer needs to have a solid understanding of spelling, grammar, and all the mundane things that make us look foolish when we get it wrong.
Your editorial candidates should get excited when someone uses “it’s” for “its.” Every writer makes the occasional typo, but it should be rare for a professional.
A professional content writer finds the exciting angle
Well-written content is essential, but if it’s not packaged intriguingly, it’s unlikely to be read or shared. Good content writers are capable and creative. They think about your topic in exciting ways. (Mostly because professional writers think about their topics all the time. Professional risk. Probably why we’re such weirdos.) A professional knows how to deliver what the audience needs helpfully and package it in unusual hooks and angles that grab attention and spark curiosity.
A professional content writer understands the elements of content that sells
Many writers can write an engaging sentence. But a content professional also knows how content can take potential customers on the journey from stranger to intriguing prospect to a delighted customer.
A professional content writer is committed to quality and ongoing education
If the content is essential to your business, you need a professional, not an interested amateur. And one of the hallmarks of a professional is their commitment. A commitment to getting better over time, to staying abreast of developments in the field, and to a lifetime of learning.
Raw writing talent is essential, and an understanding of Strategy is essential. But you also want to find someone who takes the profession seriously as a career and is constantly sharpening and refining their skills. Professional writers need to stay on top of what’s changing in our profession, from search algorithms to social platforms to what types of headlines are doing well these days. A severe content professional also takes the initiative to become an authority on his writing topics. He interviews experts (some of whom may also work at your company), conducts independent research, studies trade journals, and talks to customers.
You can find this level of commitment with a freelancer who specializes in your industry, or you can build a long-term relationship with a strong content generalist who will take the time to develop that extensive knowledge of your business. You don’t want a freelancer who works for pennies a word on one of the cheap freelance websites. They can’t dig into your topic as profoundly as a true professional. They know what content works well in blog posts and is better suited for landing pages or emails. A professional content writer lives and breathes Strategy. This brings me to my next point.
Professional content writing services are convenient
Of the options listed here, hiring a professional content writing service is probably the most convenient because the agency takes on so many tasks that would otherwise fall to you. However, the convenience comes at a price: you have to give up some control you would otherwise have over the project. You can make up for this by providing detailed instructions when ordering content and keeping communication open with your project manager. Another potential drawback to working with a content creation service is that some require a monthly membership fee or retainer to access managed services. These can amount to thousands of dollars. However, this practice is not universal in the industry.
If you already have a connection with one or more professional content writers, you don’t necessarily have to sacrifice it to work with a content writing service. You can turn to an agency if your preferred writer isn’t available or if you have an assignment that’s too large for even a handful of writers to complete promptly. Self-service ordering is available for such situations.
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