We don’t want to come off like jerks.
But we know that there are scores of content writers out there, and there are even more writers eager to dabble in content creation for clients.
The world of copy and content writing is flourishing. In Edmonton and Alberta, we’ve grown into a community of vibrant professionals with differing skill sets and specializations.
But this is also a caveat. Being a great writing company doesn’t make us the best choice for all companies, and this can be said of every other copy or content writer out there.
We have those days when we talk to prospective clients who simply didn’t get what they were hoping for in their past content writer, or worse, they don’t get any results from their online marketing efforts. They are disappointed, nervous and out of some money.
We all know that content is the central component of any successful online presence, so we decided to create a list of tips to help you make an educated decision when considering a content provider.
1. Content Marketing is Still Marketing: Watch for Whiz-bangs.
You’ve likely seen Death of a Salesman, TV’s Madmen or other shows that reveals dark characters pulling the wool over the eyes of audiences and clients. Marketing can be seen as a dark art, and sometimes specialized service providers make the error of trying to razzle and dazzle buyers and clients with whiz-bang terminology. Don’t fall for it. Overuse of flashy words and phrases at best turns your website into adjective soup that doesn’t help your search ranking and at worst costs you more money for pay-per-click marketing.
2. Marketers First or Writers First: Know the Difference.
Many content writers assert that the key to good marketing content is to understand the Internet tools people are using to connect with each other, which might include web, blog, or social media marketing. We agree with this point, but it’s also important to know who is using which of these tools. Why should you pay anyone to beef up your company’s Facebook page if your best clients are on LinkedIn and Twitter. You’ll be trying to connect with people that may not even be there.
One other thing to watch for: Many journalists are veering to digital content marketing, and their skills in story craft is very useful. But watch out. Content has a specific need to be useful, and it requires a unique set of tools and strategies to be profitable. Revealing story is only one component of that, so beware of journalists who lack internet marketing experience.
3. Business Knowledge and Passion
This is hard to say, but many great writers are just that, writers. Content specialists need to be more than writers. They need to understand search, research and strategy to know how people find you and who those people are. They need to know how to build audience, attract the right attention and persuade people to act. They do not need to know your industry specifically, but knowing your people and what compels them to buy will make the difference between success and failure.
4. Clients, Followers and Proofs
One of the advantages of content is that it ends up online. You will forever be able to find it… somewhere. Use this to your advantage. Search their blogs, websites and social media accounts. Look through their client lists and testimonials and if they don’t have any, walk away. Also scour the followers and fans on social media. If there are marketing VPs on their LinkedIn account and you are a marketing VP, your needs will likely be better understood than someone with a network of solopreneurs—or vice versa. Don’t make this the big decision, though. Ask for their list of clients first, then snoop.
Searching for a solid content writer/content strategist can be daunting, but the risks of doing it incorrectly can be costly. Follow your possible provider’s posts and social media to get a feel for them, and use the list above to get a sense of their knowledge and skill. Your content and your strategy will be what you hoped for, and you will save on time and cost as you move toward your goals.