Want to hire the best content writer? Here’s a list of the top 30 content writers, the skills you must look for, and how to hire them!
What is a content writer? A content writer is a person who writes articles, and blogs on any specified topic on websites or any other social media platforms. The objective of professional content writing is to attract an audience of a particular genre or niche through quality articles.
You can hire content writers on a full-time, part-time, contract basis, or remote mode of employment. But while hiring a content writer, you must be conversant with the pre-requisites, qualities to be checked, and the places to find content writers.
In this article, we will discuss extensively the qualifications, skills, and qualities to be verified along with the interview questions to be asked to the content writers.
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Market for content writer
Freelance content writing is always in demand due to the need for quality and attractive content in the digital world of marketing. Be it social media, website or any blog, creative content writers hit the market luring potential customers.
Surveys conducted by SemRush proved that 40% of the businesses outsource their content writing services to either freelance contentwriters or companies providing content writting services. The key drivers for the increase in demand for content writers can be attributed to,
- Optimizing content for ranking high in the search engines
- Writing quality and informative content
- Attracting organic traffic through the usage of keywords and other SEO mandates
The US Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) predicts a 10% growth in job of social media and website content writers. The freelance content writers may experience a slower growth of 3% compared to the full time employed writers. Companies are now focusing on hiring a content writer for full time due to the increase in demand.
But few others are stressing on the fact that hiring content writers as a freelancer or in remote mode, save the cost and assists in mining the worldwide talent. Determining the mode of employment is dependent on the niche or genre being handled by the content writers for hire.
Things to note while hiring content writer
For hiring a content writer, it is good to educate yourself of the pre-requisites and things to consider before finalizing the candidates.
- Prepare the social media or web content writer job description to reflect the expectations from the job role
- Ensure the candidate possesses the zeal and passion for creative content writing through considerable research and analysis
- Check the social media channels and other blog forums to verify the credibility of the candidate
- Check the domain or industrial experience of the text-writers beyond their writing skills
- Validate whether the content writer understands the basic criteria for attracting the readers and the target audience
- Awareness of the hiring rates for content writers across various regions in the world is equally important to negotiate the salary
- Asking for work samples from the candidate is something you must consider while verifying the past experience
- If you are in a dilemma to hire freelance content writers, you may opt for securing a contract with a content writing services company instead
- Understanding the relevance of SEO in content writing is a key criteria you must never forget to check while hiring a content writer
Qualifications of best content writer
The educational qualifications to be verified and validated while hiring a content writer is enlisted below for your assistance and knowledge.
- Bachelor’s Degree in Journalism, English, Communication or related field
- Experience of working with major domain and hosting platforms like WordPress, Weebly etc.
- Master’s Degree in Journalism, English, Communication or a related field is an added boon and helpful in attaining higher roles and salary
The best colleges and universities offering degrees related to content writing are illustrated below.
- Northwestern University located at Evanston in Illinois. The tuition fees are almost USD 27K per year
- The University of Southern California at Los Angeles, CA. The students need to pay an amount of USD 36K per annum
- University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia. The annual fees of the university is USD 26K approximately per year
- Stanford University in California. The yearly tuition fees are almost USD 17K.
- The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. The tuition fees are USD 11K per annum
- Wake Forest University in Winston-Salem in North Carolina. The annual fees are almost USD 27K.
- Cornell University at Ithaca in New York. The net annual fees are USD 29K
- The University of Georgia at Athens. Students are expected to pay a fee of USD 16K approximately per annum
- The University of Florida in Gainesville. The fee structure is less about USD 11K per year.
- Washington and Lee University in Lexington, Virginia. The tuition fees are almost USD 22K in a year
Skills and qualities to look for in content writers
Hiring a content writer proficient in writing, researching, and introducing the right quality content for the target audience, is what you desire. Let us understand the technical and soft skills and qualities that you need to check while recruiting content writers.
- The candidate must be able to write the content in alignment with the company’s service or brand to fit into the culture and domain
- Research and analysis skills are vital aspects to verify in content writers, since it is a driving factor for an enriched content
- Understanding the importance of SEO and the various SEO optimization techniques is vital in content writing to drive traffic and search engine visibility
- Planning and organizing the daily activities with proper time management and ensuring to meet the deadlines is crucial for a content writer and needs to be checked mandatorily
- When you hire a content writer, beyond the writing skills, you need to check whether they are open to edit repeatedly to remove errors and redundancy
- Awareness of the latest trends related to the company’s domain is important to state facts, and figures embedded in the content
- The content writer for hire, must be capable to engage the audience with his or her writing abilities ensuring the audience is focused on the topic
- Communication skills are a vital aspect of content writing. The content writers need to interact with your clients, team members, supervisors, peers, and other internal stakeholders on a continual basis.
- The freelance content writers mainly work in remote locations at their homes or co-working space. They must be capable to handle the majority of their work independently.
- Check whether the candidates are able to interact comfortably and easily leveraging the audio and video conferencing tools.
Certifications to look for in content writers
Freelance content writers with additional certifications in their pockets are good to be recruited in your organization. The reason being acquiring focused knowledge is helpful in content writing. The external learning courses and certifications are curated for specific topics. The authentic and reliable certifications to be checked while hiring a content writer is highlighted below,
- Content Strategy for Professionals Specialization offered by the North-Western University in the US
- Search Engine Optimization Specialization offered by the University of California
- Inbound Marketing Certification, Content Marketing certification, Email marketing certification from HubSpot
- Certification from Content Marketing Institute or CMI. To obtain the certificate, the candidate needs to attend 8 core classes and 50 elective classes
- Certified Content Marketer from Copyblogger
- Udemy, America’s leading online course provider, offers several courses related to content writing. Some are paid, and some are free. The courses can be attended and at the end they provide certifications and accreditations on completion of the curriculum.
- Courses on copywriting, and web content writing are offered by the American Writers & Artists Inc. or AWAI. They also conduct assessments after the completion of each course and grant the relevant certification
Content writer rate per hour
A question that might be popping up in your mind is “What is a content writer hourly rate?” Unless you fix the rates, you won’t be able to offer the salary to the selected candidates as well as negotiate with them.
In the US, the average hourly rate of a content writer is almost USD 29.29. The lowest 10% of the skilled content writers earn less than the average about USD 14.57 in an hour. Whereas the highest 10% is recorded to earn USD 72.72 per hour. The rates vary mainly on the skills, educational qualifications, and years of experience.
Fact: If you desire to hire experienced content writers, willing to offer higher rates, mention the expectations at par with the rates in the content writing job description.
In the UK, the average hourly rate is USD 26.70 and in Australia, it is USD 23.94 per hour. The average hourly rate is fairly low in Canada, being USD 18.79. In India and other Asian countries, the hourly charges are lower than the other regions in the world. The average hourly rate is USD 7 with the same skill set, educational qualification, and knowledge base.
Places to find best content writer
We will now deliberate into the places to target while hiring a content writer. The list below will be a good guide for you.
- Upwork – One of the largest job boards to hire content writer from the millions of freelancers and professionals registering their profile on this website.
- unremot.com – Enables you to gain access into a global workforce for hiring a content writer within minutes of search, collaborating through video calls, messaging, and chats.
- Indeed – The popular job website containing profiles of a massive pool of top content writers.
- AngelList – Recommended job board specifically to hire content writer freelance. They support a huge talent pool for recruiting companies to sort and search for the best profile.
- Fiverr – If you need freelance content writer services, Fiverr is the right place for you to hire them.
- ProBlogger – Another popular job board for companies to search for a talented resource pool of freelance content writers.
- Craigslist – Great place to hire content writers for various positions in your company
- Facebook – If you are looking for the best social media platform for hiring content writing freelance professionals, Facebook is the perfect place for you.
- Linkedin – One of the biggest professional networking websites connecting companies and interested candidates, ideal for hiring a content writer.
- ContentWriters – The company Contentwriters com review has been quite impressive. Hence you are looking for content writing services from a reputed firm, you can go for this option.
Steps involved in hiring best content writer
As recruiting companies, it is essential to be aware of the steps for hiring content writer professionals. In this section, we will discuss elaborately the key steps to be followed to hire professional content writers.
- Decide on the job expectations from the freelance website content writers and the roles to be performed by them. It will help you to determine the salary ranges, mode of employment, and write out the website content writer job description.
- List out the top 10 to 20 Interview Questions to ask while hiring high quality content writers, focusing on both technical and soft skills.
- Post the freelance web content writer job opportunities in prominent job boards and social media platforms. You can even search for registered profiles to hire content writers online.
- Shortlist the potential and best content writers after scrutinizing the experience level, educational qualifications, roles performed, skills, and qualities.
- Arrange an interview session with the shortlisted web content writers to validate and verify the information mentioned in the resume and another skill set. You can either conduct an in-person discussion or arrange for video calls.
- Finalize and float the offer letters to the selected candidates after agreement on the hourly rates or salary.
Top 10 interview questions for a content writer
Asking the right questions to the candidates and verifying the credibility with your preferred content writer description of duties are mandatory for recruiting companies. Here are the top 10 interview questions for hiring a content writer.
1. What the key components of a good content?
Rationale: To check whether the candidate has the right acumen for quality content and embedding the essential factors into the content for better engagement.
Expected Answer: The candidate must mention search engine ranking, traffic, plagiarism-free content, keyword usage, and originality in the answer for you to consider for the role.
2. Do you know how to perform target audience analysis?
Rationale: Analyzing the target audience and understanding their requirements is one of the key success criteria in content writing. Without readers, the content has a minimal market value.
Expected Answer: If the candidate mentions collaborating with the market analyst teams and sales teams of the company for visualizing the target audience, then you can tick mark the candidate.
3. What steps do you follow to create a quality content?
Rationale: Helps to understand the experience knowledge level of the candidate on handling content topics and strategy followed.
Expected Answer: Specifying objectives, identifying the audience, understanding the brand or product of the company, inculcating ideas, and penning down the content is the expected answer.
4. What is your strategy in setting the correct tone for your content?
Rationale: Verifies the past experience of the candidate, credibility, and writing skills
Expected Answer: The person for hiring as a content writer website or social media specialist must be aware of aligning the content with the brand, audience, and the channel of communication.
5. What are the key elements for SEO that needs focus in content writing?
Rationale: To ensure the candidate is aware of SEO key concepts, and how to embed them into the content for better reach and traffic.
Expected Answer: If the candidate is able to articulate the key elements of SEO like keywords, metadata, link building, quality content etc. you can consider the person.
6. What trainings or learning courses have you undergone to increase your competency level?
Rationale: The question helps to verify the continuous learning abilities of the candidates and the zeal to be aware of the latest trends.
Expected Answer: If the candidate mentions about obtaining related certifications over and above the learning courses, you can rest assured of the knowledge level.
7. Name the content management systems you are familiar with
Rationale: Proves the experience level and awareness of the candidate of working in various content management systems
Expected Answer: You can expect a reply of the following CMS systems like WordPress, Weebly, Magento etc.
8. What are the techniques you follow to analyze the effectiveness of the content?
Rationale: Ensures the candidate is capable of analyzing the performance of the content and work on the improvements suggested
Expected Answer: Analyzing the ranking in the search engine results, the organic traffic, the engagement and call to action are the expected answers.
9. Do you know how to promote your content?
Rationale: The question will help you to check how the candidate can handle content promotion to increase the traffic and reach.
Expected Answer: Ensure the candidate mentions the social media platforms for content sharing, spreading the messages in various blog forums and asking acquaintances for a read.
10. What is proofreading?
Rationale: This guides you to understand if the content writer has ever done proofreading in his or her past experience and can be considered for such activities.
Expected Answer: The candidate must mention tools like Grammarly, spell checks, paragraph formations, sentence length etc., for correctness.
Top 10 tools to use while hiring content writer
By now, you have gathered sufficient information on, “How to hire content writers?” The next step is to understand the tools to be leveraged to find freelance content writers. Illustrated below are top 10 tools to use while hiring a content writer,
- Job Boards – You can post your freelance content writer job requirements in numerous job boards or websites like Indeed.com, unremot.com, Upwork, Flex Jobs, etc.
- Assessment tools – Conduct Aptitude to judge the candidate’s basic IQ level, personality and behavioral characteristics. Tools used are mainly Pymetrics, HackerRank etc.
- Artificial Intelligence and Chatbots – Trending digital tools to shortlist candidates, analyze the submitted information and enable virtual chat or messaging. Typical tools used are Zoom.ai, Textio, Ideal etc.
- Social Media Platforms – Linkedin, Facebook, Twitter, Reddit etc are powerful social media platforms to find and hire someone to write website content.
- Tracking system for applications – Use a tracking system or portal to track the applications received from candidates, screening out candidates and other processes.
- Recruitment Portal or Tools – Leverage recruitment tools or portals like Yello, SmashFly, Avature etc for constant communication and collaboration with the website content writer to be hired.
- Audio and Video Conferencing Tools – Utilize audio and video conferencing tools and software like Zoom, GoogleMeet, Microsoft Teams etc to conduct interviews when you hire a content writer.
- Tools to aid advertisements – Mentioning the right content and phrases for advertising your company’s job roles in different job boards and social media platforms is vital. Tools like Textio assist in creating the right content for job advertisements.
- Onboarding tools – Once a person is recruited, onboarding process is initiated for induction into the company’s payroll and culture. Usage of tools like Click Boarding, Applicantstack, BambooHr etc. are effective in smooth execution of the activities.
- Background Check Tools – The tools are super-efficient in verifying the profile by checking criminal records, past experience, educational qualifications etc. For example GoodHire, Intelifi, Sterling etc.
Dos and donts while hiring content writer
Last but not the least, let us discuss on the Dos and donts for hiring a top freelancer or content writer for your company.
List of Dos,
- Check on the content writing skills with SEO optimization knowledge
- Verify the soft skills of the free lance writers for hire
- State concisely and clearly the job expectations to the candidate
- Recruit a person with excellent verbal and written communication skills
- Hire candidates who are backed by good references and strong credibility
- State the vision and objective of your company to the candidate
- Verify the prior roles and experience of the candidates
- Conduct a thorough background check for security verification
- Video or in person interview must be the norm for selecting candidates
- The resume details must be validated by asking the appropriate questions
List of Donts,
- Never offer incompatible hourly rates to the selected web content writer
- Avoid compromising on quality while interviewing text writers
- Do not recruit a candidate who fails to provide the relevant supporting documents
- Do not hire a person who is not aware of keyword usage
- Never recruit a person without a credible prior work experience
- Never miss out asking questions related to SEO while interviewing a freelance website content writer
- You must not wrongly state the job role and description as it may lead to dissatisfaction in future
- Health and insurance benefits must never be stated incorrectly
- Salary negotiation must not be avoided as you may lose out on talents
- Never be rude or unprofessional while interviewing candidates.
How do I hire a content writer?
To hire a content writer, first and foremost you must fix the job description. Next you must list down the questions to be asked. Third is to post the job opportunities or look through available profiles in the various job boards. Last is to initiate the recruiting process with the selected candidates.
How much do freelance writers charge per hour?
The hourly rates of freelance writers in the US are near to USD 30 and that in the UK is a bit low about USD 24. In Australia and Canada the rates vary between USD 18 and USD 24. India and other Asian countries offer fairly low hourly rates between USD 7 and USD 10.