5 Tips for Choosing a Technical Content Writer for Your Marketing Team
Have you ever received any content from a writer and realized you just want to give up? It can frustrate you and turn the most straightforward project into something that takes hours or days.
Our list of tips can help you avoid the delays that are caused by writers who don’t meet your needs.
If you are one of the many technical writing companies out there, it’s worth investing time in the pre-hiring and hiring process to ensure you keep your loyal customer base with you. Content includes text about your industry, graphics design, brand image, and other tools that help you promote sales. It’s important for content to encourage active participation and also be able to teach and direct in whatever way is going to help you fulfill your call to action.
Writers hired on a contract basis can make your life easier. But finding contract writers might be unknown territory for some people. It’s essential to take your time and make sure you hire the right person. After all, the reputation of your business is on the line, and you want to make sure the content you are putting online represents your business in the best way possible.
Early on in the hiring process is the best time to make sure you are getting quality content. You might even consider a trial writing period or request a sample of writing that is related to tech. Just because a person is a good writer doesn’t necessarily mean they are a good tech writer.
Writing can generate new business for your company. Technical writers can add profits, and you’re your content authority. This is why it’s so important to be careful during the selection process.
Below are five tips to help you find the ideal technical content writer:
1. Look for someone who knows your industry and, ideally, your niche within the industry
Once you’ve narrowed your search to a few writers in general, you’ll want to dig deeper. Check out their portfolios and their previous work. Take the time to browse through their writing and see if their style, voice, and perspectives match you and your business.
For technical writing companies, you’ll want to find a competent, experienced writer whose previous work is usually in technology and computers. An expert in engineering and mechanical work might be familiar with some of your subject matter, but this doesn’t mean they are a suitable writer for your target audience. Look for someone who has experience and a deep interest in your field.
It can be tough narrowing down your choices when you are looking for a writer who can sell and who can speak intelligently about your subject matter. If you must choose a writer that is an expert in either, opt for the one who is familiar with your subject matter. It’s easier to add the sales message into content later than it is to revamp a piece that was written poorly because the writer was unfamiliar with the subject matter. A good writer that knows tech can create a piece that with just a few tweaks could make a great sales piece.
2. Turn to communities where you can find experienced writers
The best starting point for finding a technical content writer is to look for communities of freelance writers. Some of these communities contain respected and hard-working writers.
Websites like Essaymama and Help.Plagtracker can be a smart choice for finding writers familiar with your subject matter. Each of them provides access to skilled and qualified writer services for a reasonable cost.
These communities give you access to writers of varying skill levels with a variety of different schedules. Keep in mind, it won’t be worth spending a great deal of money on a writer who doesn’t first show you that they are able to meet your demands and write about the subject matter you need. Writing communities make it easy and convenient to narrow down your choice of potential writers.
3. Look for someone who can relate to your target audience
Before officially hiring someone, especially for larger projects, ask writers to share their technical writing samples and other related content.
It’s also a good idea to check a writer’s reviews from previous clients or ask for referrals from people who have worked with the writer in the past. Not every writer can provide this, but those that do offer an additional layer of credibility.
Some of the most popular forums for hiring freelance content writers include:
Each of these sites makes it possible to see a writer’s previous work and to read what previous clients had to say about their experience working with that particular writer.
If you find a writer who seems like they might be a good fit, reach out to them directly to discuss the project further. You can do this through the website you’ve found them listed on. You want your content to be created by someone who is familiar with your subject matter and has a passion for tech writing because this makes for quality content.
Writers with a passion for tech can connect with their audience and even gain access to new readers and fans. You want your writers to be able to convey information that is accurate and knowledgeable, but who can also connect with readers and offer a human touch to the writing especially since tech writing can be dry and detail-oriented.
It’s okay to be clear with potential writers about your expectations for the content they produce. Doing so can avoid a lot of long-term problems with projects. If a writer isn’t a good fit, you shouldn’t feel bad about letting that person move on to another project with another client.
4. How will you pay for them?
If any writers are based outside of your home country, how will you pay them?
Do they have a legal entity set up in their country? Are you affiliated with a payment application they can accept? Does the forum in which you found them offer payment services. For instance, Upwork requires you to handle all payments via their system.
It’s also important to make sure you can afford to pay writers for their work. If you are paying a writer directly who lives outside of the country in which your business is located, you might need to do some research concerning the conversion of currency, but many applications will handle the conversions for you.
Having a contract before work begins protects both you and the content writer. When signing any contract, both parties must have an understanding of work ethics, requirements, liabilities, and budgets. Specific issues with contracts can vary from state to state and country to country. You might consider having a lawyer review your standard contract for working with freelance writers to make sure it addresses all of the critical issues.
It’s also important to establish that the relationship is on a per project on a freelance basis. You are not hiring an employee, and if you were, you’d have a greater obligation to the writer and they to you.
One final note about working with freelance content writers and writers you find on websites for contract work: Language is imperative. You need to be clear that you’re willing to accept work in a writer’s native language or you’d prefer it to be written in the specific language you have in mind.
There are instances when you can pay less for writing that is in the writer’s native tongue, but you’ll likely have a great deal of editing to do. In the long-run, it might cost you more than had you hired a writer who is completely fluent in the language of your choice. In some cases, it might take some trial and error to find the perfect writer who fits your budget and your expectations.
5. Interview for culture fit
It is vital that you be honest with each potential writing candidate. Setting clear expectations and ensuring the writer understands your expectations can avoid serious problems as projects get underway.
Be clear about what you want in each project. Is it a new software blog post? Are you looking for sales funnel writing? Do you want static content or news events? Are you looking for a writer who is a ‘jack of all trades?
It’s also a good idea to establish how much freedom writers have when it comes to content. Will they be working from a pre-determined editorial calendar or will they have the freedom to choose their own topics? Is there a particular format you need to be followed or do you not care if the content is formatted the same as long as it is well-written and engaging?
Experienced writers can help you make these decisions if you aren’t sure when you begin your project. However, if you want a writer who is also responsible for an editorial calendar and other responsibilities, you can expect to pay more.
Our tips can serve as a constant guide during the hiring process.