Welcome to 2017, the year when simply having a website does almost nothing for your business. In today’s fast-paced world, you need content on a regular basis. And you decide to hire a content writing firm.

After all, you can’t be expected to handle content on top of everything else you have to do on a daily basis. The simple fact that you decided to outsource content writing is a great step forward, but, sadly, not the only one you have to take.

You don’t want someone to just fill some webpages with meaning less words. You want someone who can write ROI-oriented content. And, in order to get that, you need to know how to outsource your content writing.

Did you know marketers who make blogging a priority are 13x more likely to get a positive ROI? That’s right, content writing can be a powerful marketing tool.

But only if you hire the right SEO copywriters.

I’ve met my fair share of potential clients who thought they could cut corners by using PPC ads. Let’s get one things straight from the start: I have nothing against PPC ads; they can be very valuable tools, as well, when used properly. But the simple fact that you spend money on Facebook ads or Google AdWords doesn’t mean that you don’t need to hire a content writing firm.

Quite the contrary, in fact.

According to the Search Engine Journal, 70%-80% of users ignore paid ads and move directly to organic results.

Why, you ask?

It’s quite simple: in the era of inbound sales, people have started to become wary of ads. And they perceive organic results as “honest” results.

If you stop to think about it, they are. It means that, instead of paying $100 to have Google serve your ad, you spent time looking for the best SEO writers to hire and coming up with subjects that both search engines and potential customers care about. In other words: you’re a business worth buying from.

But I digress.

If you’ve already decided that it’s best to work with professional writing services instead of DIY-ing your content, let’s see how we can get you the biggest bang for your buck.

7 Questions to Ask before You Hire a Content Writing Firm

Don’t just pay for copywriting services. Pay for excellent copywriting services. Ask these questions first:

  1. How Do You Start a Project with a New Client?

What you’re looking for here is “listening”, “researching”, “collecting information” or something along these lines. What you are not looking for is a content writing firm saying they’re so good they can jump straight into the first paragraph and have the article delivered within an hour.

This means they’re NOT good.

Of course, there’s an exception: if you only hire a content writing firm to implement a detailed strategy that you already have. This means that you already know exactly what you want to write about and that you have your keywords researched and ready to be built into text.

Whenever we onboard a new client at Idunn, we send them a brief. We want to know as much as possible about their pain points, their strengths, their shortcomings, their competitors and, of course, their expectations.

When you offer website content writing services, you’re not just offering words. You’re offering a marketing tool that should be designed to sell.

But how can you sell without a plan?

For us, the brief is crucial in mapping out the content strategy. If such a strategy already exists, we use the brief to find the best way to adhere to it and meet its goals.

Afterwards, we move on to keyword research, topic research and, finally, the actual writing. Being a professional content writing means more than doing the actual writing.

  1. Do You Have a Portfolio?

Whether you hire a content writing firm or a freelance content writing, you should always take a look at their style before making your final decision. Yes, this applies even if the content writing firm or freelancer doesn’t have experience in your exact niche.

When you ask for samples, be sure to ask for links. You want to see the content in its “natural” environment and maybe even perform some research on how the website they write for performs.

Most importantly, ask for more than one website. You need to make sure that they can adjust styles to match each company’s voice.

For instance, a big part of our content writing projects are technology related. We produce content for cloud computing companies, SaaS ones, hosting ones, and so on. But we also work with beauty clinics.

As you can imagine, the target audiences for the two industries are very different. How could we use the exact tone of voice and lingo?

  1. How Do You Optimize for Search Engines?

The answer you’re looking for here should include some tools. At Idunn, we use Moz Explorer, Google AdWords Planner, BuzzSumo and a bunch of other tools to get a sense of the keywords we should use and the topics we should explore in-depth.

That’s because we don’t want to write average blog posts no one wants to read. And, in order to stay relevant, you need to use more than one tool.

Before you hire a content writing firm, make sure they mention at least two such tools. You need to compare and contrast results and one tool is never enough for that.

  1. What Industries Are You Experienced in?

You don’t necessarily need to hire a content writing firm that has a background in your exact field. But you do need to hire one that is extremely versatile.

When we’re hiring content writers for Idunn, this is one of the first questions we ask. We need to know that the freelance content writers we are about to enter into a contract with can tackle various topics easily.

Research is a big part of a professional content writer’s job. They often need to write on topics they are not familiar with at all. But for a seasoned professional this shouldn’t be a problem.

Bottom line: hire a content writing firm if they worked for at least three very different industries. You should insist that they have experience in your field only if it’s a highly technical or specialized one. Otherwise, versatility and research skills are all you need.

  1. What Types of Content Do You Specialize in?

Articles? That’s it? Never hire a content writing firm that can do nothing else but articles.

You want to work with someone who understands the importance of a complete content marketing strategy, not just bits and pieces of it. And, even if you’re currently only looking for articles, your needs may change soon.

In a recent survey, 82% of respondents said that white papers were the main driver in convincing them to make a purchase. Thus, you need to hire a content writing firm that can write those high-converting white papers you need or will need.

Plus, the world of web content is constantly changing. Articles are great, sure, but so is video and so are infographics. You can repurpose your content, but you will also need to get more than one type of content written from scratch.

  1. Who Will Be My Primary Point of Contact?

At Idunn, most of our clients prefer discussing with an account manager. But there are also those who want to have direct contact with the writer. This typically happens with newer clients or clients who used to handle content in house and, after hiring Idunn as their content writing firm, they need to make sure that their expectations will be met.

We allow this type of flexibility because we understand that passing the torch on can be stressful. We also know that every client is unique, with unique needs and we do our best to accommodate everyone.

But not everyone does.

Some content writing firms have very strict rules and you may never get to actually talk with the writer who handles your account. Which can be perfectly fine if this is what you are looking for.

As in any relationship, it’s important that both parties make compromises. But you should never hire a content writing firm that doesn’t offer the type of communication you want. Their job is to make things easier for you, not harder.

  1. Can You Handle Emergencies and Short Deadlines?

You may never need a white paper completed within two days or an article in one hour. But it’s wise to hire a content writing firm that could pull it off.

Why, you ask?

Because this is how you make sure that said content writing firm has enough resources and writers to care for your account properly. While you may not put a rush order in, you need them to stick to their deadlines.

And this rarely happens when the writers are stretched thin. After all, they can only spend so many nights writing.

 

Want to hire a content writing firm that’s always on time and focused on your ROI? You’ve got it! Fill in the form below and we’ll take it from there!

 

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