You know you need a blog for your online business, but you are not sure what to write, right? Maybe you are not confident in your writing ability, or perhaps you just don’t have time to maintain a blog.
If any of the above ring true you need to hire a content writer. And that means parting with money. You therefore want to be assured the content writer can deliver quality content and will improve SEO page rank.
Readers demand quality and oftentimes they are searching for answers. Therefore your content should be packed with information. A good spread of subjects related to your business will do the job, both for SEO and attracting readership.
So how do you find a writer with this knowledge and ability? You interview them. So ask these questions:
What experience do they have in your industry?
Your content should speak with authority. It needs to show that you are an expert in your chosen field. If you work in a niche, the writer should have a good knowledge base and understanding of your industry and/or products.
What do they know about your brand?
A content writer needs to understand your brand and your company’s core philosophies. If they are acting as your “voice” you need to be assured they are saying the right things.
Does the writer understand SEO?
In terms of search marketing, an understanding of SEO is essential. A surprising number of writers that contribute to online publication and blogs are not aware of Google guidelines.
Keywords are not as important as they used to be, although long-tail are required in the content as they perform better with the latest semantic algorithms.
Therefore, ask the writer to explain what longtail keywords are and how they will improve your search results. You do not want a writers that draws a penalty because they are ignorant of SEO rules.
Search engine algorithms
To determine if your content writer does understand SEO, ask them to explain what Google algorithms relate to. The three most important algorithms are Panda, Penguin and Hummingbird.
Panda identifies websites that have thin content and is low on quality, Penguin identifies low quality sites that produce manipulated back links to third party sites, and Hummingbird understands the overall context of content, thus has changed the way in which we use keywords.
How do you research a target audience?
Your content has to find the right audience, therefore the writer needs to understand who your audience is and most importantly, what they want. Can the writer answer the questions and inspire your audience?
What content do you produce?
The future of keeping a blog is to add a variety of content to keep readers interested. This means ditching the standard 500-word blog posts and mixing it up with image-based content, news shots, quick tips and feature articles of around 2000-words or more.
Are they socially active?
A major part of content marketing is understanding how to generate interest on social media. First of all you should ask whether the content writer also provides this service, and if so what their strategy is.
However, it is advisable for you to run your own social media accounts so you can act decisively, quickly and know the right answers.
Do they understand analytics and metrics?
Your content marketing strategy can be an experimental affair initially, so you need to be able to understand analytical data. It is not always a necessity for content providers to understand these metrics, but if you are relying on them to produce content independently rather than following your instructions, then yes they do.
What’s the difference between copy and content, blogs and articles?
The word content has become confused with copy. Copy is essentially sales material that you find on websites and brochures. Content is an article, blog or newsletter.
There is also a difference in writing an article and a blog. Blogs can be more formal and chatty, whereas articles should be more editorial and state facts rather than ask questions and answer them.
What is your editing process?
Search engines have started to check on the accuracy of grammar and spelling in content. When writers turn out a first draft, spelling and grammar mistakes typically occur.
A good edit of the text should iron out the mistakes, but if they just scan read the edited version, minor mistakes can still go unnoticed. Ideally, you want to hire a content writer that has edit checks conducted by another party.
Maintaining a blog is an essential part of SEO, but can be costly, so you want to be assured the expense will be worth your while. And that means hiring a good writer you can trust to deliver quality results.