Finding knowledgeable writers who are versed in your subject matter, the craft of writing, and search engine optimization is not as simple as it would seem. Schools produce excellent writers, but many lack foundations in marketing or search engine optimization. Copy can completely miss the mark when there’s a lack of marketing finesse. Conversely, salesmen rarely have time to write and might lack spelling, grammar, and punctuation skills. Many writers burn out writing about the same topic over and over again. So where do you find great writers and how much should you pay them?
Hire Content Production Companies
There are several benefits of working with content production companies. You’ll often receive quotes in advance for your projects. You don’t have to waste hours and dollars finding and screening writers. Content creation companies choose skilled writers and edit their work before sending it to you. You don’t have to juggle and manage a variety of writers and their idiosyncrasies. The company makes sure that your project is received on time and without hassles. Content production companies often cost more, but then the savings in your management time and editing can be well worth what seems like a greater expense. Content companies usually charge between $50 – $150 per 500-word article (or an average of 25 cents per word). You’ll find companies that charge as low as 5 cents per word, but often their writers don’t have college educations, content writing experience, or native, English skills.
Find Writers on Social Media
Turn to social media to find excellent writers. You can perform a Twitter search to find writers in your topic area. Type in the hash tag #engineering and you’ll eventually find an engineer who might know a colleague who can write. Place a Facebook ad for writers with an interest in your industry and you’ll soon receive resumes that specifically fit your needs. There are several hash tags that writers use including #writers. You might find decent writers for $15 – $30 per 500-word article this way, but plan to offer several projects before you understand each writer’s intellectual capacity, writing depth, work ethic, need for editing, and pay requirements. You’ll also want to make sure that you secure rights to the work each writer produces for you. Also, use a service like Copyscape, after you receive content, to double-check that it’s all original.
Find Writers at Universities and Community Colleges
Partner with a college internship coordinator to discover budding talent. You’ll find a variety of writers at universities for the price of your time to train them. You’ll need to fill out paperwork and meet with the interns to orient them and to provide feedback. This assumes, of course, that you know something about writing. If you don’t, you might want to hire an editor to review each intern’s articles. Working with college students could eventually lead to a well-trained staff of homegrown writers at each semester’s end.
Introduce Yourself to Writer Groups
You can find writers in your community through your local library, church, or even PTA. Plug in to find the writer who is at home with children, but would like to work part-time. You’ll find many professionals in these places who appreciate stimulating challenges, but need flexibility. Writer groups often meet in libraries to discuss the books and articles they are writing. Some may be willing to take on side projects, too. Plan to pay wages ranging from $10 – $50 per hour, depending on the complexity of your topic and the writer’s ability. You’ll also want to clarify in your contract if revisions are included and the maximum amount of hours you’re willing to pay for each project.
Some companies develop lists of part-time writers and ask them to pitch topics or to write their articles in advance for consideration of purchase. Your top talent won’t have time to waste on these types of activities, so pay fair wages if you need a job done yesterday.
Inquire with SEO Companies about their Content Services
Most SEO companies offer content creation in addition to SEO software, design, or consulting services. If you need an entire website package in a one-stop shop, working with an SEO company is the way to go. They’ll manage the writers and the site navigation for you, as well as link-building, and other needs. Expect to pay $100 – $300 per hour for services with the average 500-word web page billed at 3 hours to write. SEO companies may seem expensive, but then you’re paying for the search engine optimization expertise that reputable, SEO companies offer. We recently profiled some of the best SEO companies in the Midwest.
Place an Ad for Writers
You can always place an ad, looking for writers, in your local paper. There are many online, job sites for copywriters that will bring resumes your way, as well.
Since content was declared “king” by Google via the first Panda update February 23, 2011, the need for web writers has dramatically increased. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, in 2010, the median pay for writers was $55,420 per year or $26.64 per hour.
In 2012, Writers USA 2012 published the results of 371 respondents to a global survey. These readers range from staff writers to documentation specialists to technical writing managers and branch heads. The results indicate significant jumps in pay. The median content-oriented salary in 2012 is $78,614 with salaries ranging from $15,000 to $170,000. These ranges do not include benefits. The overall average hourly wage is $41.
Choose Your Writer
Don’t overlook writing the content yourself. If you can present a solid draft, an editor should be able to groom the typical 500-word blog post in an hour or less and that could save money. Then, again, how much is your time worth? If you have too many plates spinning that only you can spin, then outsource.
If you find skilled writers that you enjoy working with, then keep them and pay them well. If you don’t want to manage the variance of personalities and skills, hire content companies, advertising firms, or SEO firms to complete your projects. A good content writer or company can be your best asset.