How to Hire a Content Writer (An In-Depth Guide for Scrappy Founders)

You’ve heard it before — 70% of businesses fail within 10 years.

Creating, managing, and scaling a profitable business is not easy.

But why do so many businesses bail? And how can we keep ourselves in that 30% group?

We can stop working so much. 🤯

Or at least, stop working on the things we can delegate to others.

Because even if you’ve got the skills already (you might have learned how to be a content writer at some point), one of the best things you can do for your business is to learn, instead, how to hire a content writer.

Entrepreneurs, you shouldn’t be writing your own content.

If you’re an agency owner, business creator, or passion-fueled entrepreneur of any sort…

It’s just not sustainable, practical, or realistic.

Because more success doesn’t come from more work…

…more success comes from smart choices, systems, and a repeatable content marketing strategy.

But how do you find an AMAZING writer? It’s all in today’s blog on how to hire a content writer.

So, let’s not waste another moment! 💥

This comprehensive guide includes the best tips I’ve found for founders like you learning how to hire a content writer for your website and beyond. Want a quick summary? Download all nine traits in this free guide.

free guide to hiring a content writer

How to Hire a Content Writer in 9 Steps

1. Get Your Own (Contract) Writer & Skip the Employees

Nope, you shouldn’t be the only one writing content for your brand.

The first thing you want to do to hire a content writer is to hire a freelancer vs. building a team of employees.

One of the keys to my success that I share in my business coaching system is to build your sustainable brand using contractors that you manage. This will all be part of your own business system you execute to help automate processes while freeing you up to make the big decisions your business needs, like executing your big content marketing ideas.

And instead of hiring a team of employee writers, hire a freelancer. The overhead is much more reasonable, and you get to pay per project – making it a breeze to stay within your profit margins and predict costs.

Plus, this is getting simpler and simpler to do by the minute. Freelance writers are flooding the online job market. In fact, a 2021 study found that 41.8% of the American workforce remains remote.

how many workers are still remote

Source: Upwork

Finding gold-star contractors is becoming increasingly more streamlined to do, and there are even content writing agencies out there that will manage a writer for you. ⭐ If you feel they meet the criteria you’re looking for, then by all means, save yourself some hassle and hire the agency!

Personally, I’m a big fan of telling entrepreneurs to work directly with a content writer if you can. Here’s why:

  1. It’s simpler: You’ll be so much more agile when you can connect brains directly with your content writer. Plus, you can manage that writer within your team/system that you have set up and use whatever software you choose (check out the free payroll system I use at the end of this list!).
  2. It saves time + money: You’ll need to handle the job posting, interview, management, and payment of your writer yourself. But with the right system, this can take less time than working with a third party and having to go through several people with your feedback and ideas.
  3. The quality output is higher: Content generally ends up turning out way better than with a third party involved, as well.
  4. Added flexibility: Working directly with a writing contractor can give you more flexibility when business tasks need to change or rearrange quickly. You can jump in and plan your strategy, redirecting your content writer as needed.

But… There are a lot of content writers out there.

So, let’s review how to hire the right content writer by covering what your job listing should include.

If you want the benefits of a personal content writer without having to worry about hiring them, training them, or setting up systems to manage them, you need our new Done-For-You Content Creation Engine. We’ll construct your brand’s personal content engine that will create content for you on autopilot for the life of your business. Talk to us today to get started.

content engine

2. Nail Your Job Listing

You have a lot of options when it comes to content writers, and the talent pool is growing by the day (the content marketing industry is set to be worth $600 billion by 2024).

It’s not the site I post job listings on, but just as an example — there are literally thousands and thousands of content writers on Upwork alone.

content writers on upwork

That said, you want the right content writers coming to you.

You shouldn’t be sorting through all of these options to find the perfect writer. Remember, a sustainable business owner spends their time on big-impact tasks like managing their strategy/team, writing books to build their brand, etc.

This is why your content writer job listing is key – when executed right, I’ve found a way to get an avalanche of fantastic content writers applying for my freelance positions. ⛷️

The trick with your job posting is to position it in a way that attracts a smart, talented content writer that’s in the sweet spot of looking for hassle-free remote work and will accept a reasonable rate that’s well within your profit margin.

Offering consistent work and committing to not micromanaging your writer is worth a lot to a contractor who may normally be used to having to hunt down client after client. There’s a huge pool of talented contractors with digital marketing skills willing to complete projects with you for an extremely reasonable rate. In fact, a quick search for “content writer” on Fiverr brings up 25K+ results:

content writers on fiverr

Once you’ve learned how to hire a content writer and you’re officially ready to post your job listing, cut through all the clutter and make sure to follow these rules when drafting your content writer job description:

  1. Be direct + transparent: The copy must be thorough, upfront, and crystal clear 🔮 on everything your content writer will and won’t do. This way, you’ll both know exactly what to expect from one another.
  2. Be authentic: Reading your job listing is likely the first time your content writer will be learning about the position they’re considering. Start the relationship off by being personal and being yourself so you can start building trust right away. If they don’t connect with you, it’s better to find out now. You may never be in the same room as this person, but you’ll still be building a relationship together.
  3. Sell your vision: You’re an expert in your field and you’ve got exciting things planned for your brand, so share them. Tell writers about who they will be working with – position yourself as a dependable boss and talk about your successes and your long-term goals, too.

Curious what this looks like? Here’s an example content writer job listing for my brand:

job listing for hiring a content writer

🔥 TIP: If you’re asking yourself, “How do I hire a GOOD content writer?” …You can easily pull great writers in with strategic pay positioning. If you’re an expert, trade the time you invest to mentor and guide them, that you would otherwise charge for, as a value-add. Win, win!

3. Create a Leadership Mindset

This tip could easily be at the top of this list because it’s that important.

If you don’t have this part down already, it’s time to build your self-worth up to where it deserves to be.

This is much easier said than done and involves some deep introspection, but you’ll need to adopt a fresh state of mind right before you hire your first writer.

Getting yourself to a mindset of a high achiever will take a lot of effort, but you CAN get there with consistency and the right habits. Check out how I do it in my video below:

This is super important because before you decide on your content writer and start working with a contractor directly, you’ve got to make sure you’re stepping into a boss mindset. This is key for managing your business with efficiency and confidence. 🔑

4. Look for These Nine Writer Traits

Now that you’ve mastered your boss mindset, it’s time to pick your content writer. You’ll likely get a lot of applications with writing samples from excited applicants, but your job as a business owner is to be picky and only hire the 1% — the crème de la crème of content writers looking for immediate and consistent contract work.

Let’s take a peek at exactly what to look for to find the perfect content writer for your exact needs, based on what I’ve learned from hiring and managing hundreds of content writers since 2011. Get all nine in this free guide.

  1. Grit: I translate this as the aptitude to work from home. Meaning, can your writer manage their own schedule and get your content written even if they have five kids at home? Can they be trusted with a deadline?
  2. Relevant expertise: Real, verified expertise in your topic area. Let’s say marketing, finance, or law is your topic — you’ll need a writer that has real-world experience, otherwise content will suffer.
  3. Research skills: Look for the ability to sleuth Google like a boss and get their content way beyond superficial and unhelpful.
  4. No essay-writing habits: Make sure they can write for an online audience, a skill applicants with marketing degrees sometimes lack.

cover

Remember, content writing from home isn’t for the faint of heart, and you should never have to babysit your contractor. Make sure you’re up to speed on the common online writing mistakes to look out for so you can know what to check for in the writing samples you receive. ✍️

If at any point you’re struggling to narrow down who to hire as your content writer, make sure to pay special attention to the next tip.

5. Hire People You Love

Before I sold my content writing business in the fall of 2021, I spent years managing hundreds of different people. I learned a lot about finding good talent that I’m carrying with me into my sustainable business and coaching.

And get this – almost every time I’ve hired a content writer that’s a true rock star, I’ve noticed a pattern.

It’s this:

I’ve loved them since the beginning. 🧑‍🤝‍🧑

I could tell from their application that I liked them on a personal level.

So, make sure that you actually like the people you’re placing in your contractor roles. You’ll be managing them, coaching them, and answering their questions – so you’ll want to enjoy doing so.

Trust your gut on this one and if you feel a connection with one contractor over another, lean into that instinct.

Need content help — including hiring the right person? We’re accepting new clients to our incredible Done-For-You service, where we set up a 100% human content engine that will create amazing content for you (just like this blog!) on autopilot, every day for the rest of your business’ life.

content engine

6. Build Trust Through Authenticity

You can, and should, be friendly and warm without being unprofessional.

Because if 86% of your future customers consider brand authenticity an important factor in deciding whether or not to support you…

…building trust with your contractors should be just as important.

So be authentic. Be relatable. Be genuinely yourself in your job postings, and your communications with your content writer.

7. Treat Your Content Writer Like Gold

Make sure to treat your content writer like a BFF. Because your writer is the person that will lend their creativity and power to you and propel your brand forward.

Being reactive, overly critical, or generally treating your writer like crap absolutely hurts you in the long run – you’ll only alienate them and make them unhappy and unwilling to invest the full power of their creative abilities in your projects. 😵

Not treating your content writer well is a sure-fire way to see massive turnover in this role.

8. Consider Hiring an Editor

When it comes to talented contractors hungry for consistent work with an impactful brand, there are even more roles to consider filling in addition to hiring a content writer.

Another central theme within The Content Transformation System, enrolling now, is exactly how to tap into this content trend in 2022 and use it to power your own content-based online business. In fact, more and more people are becoming contractors – 50% of Gen Z workers in the US freelanced in 2020!

freelancer population graph

Even the best content writer will miss something here and there. And expecting a writer to upload and schedule their own pieces to publish on your site can pull their attention away from their true skill – content writing.

And that’s where an editor comes in. 🤓

Just like you’ve learned how simple hiring a content writer can be, you should also consider hiring an editor.

Someone who can jump into your shared software that contains the draft from your content writer, make sure it’s perfect, and then upload and schedule it via the backend of your website.

And it doesn’t stop with hiring content writers and editors! Many additional roles can be filled by contractors (like an editing pro who can help you produce high-quality YouTube videos that make money, a CPA, customer support, and more).

This, my friends, is the magic of business automation that leads to sustainability. ✨

And speaking of sustainability and simplicity, let’s look at how to hire a content writer and manage payroll for them.

9. Use a Simple Payroll System

You don’t need to pay for an expensive payroll management system to effectively track projects and pay your contractors.

Google Docs works perfectly.

In a 2020 report, Google Suite was accessed by 2 billion users per month. It’s a ROBUST platform that offers tons of free and low-cost features. Make it your best friend when you’re hiring content writers.

There are some other great content marketing tools out there, both free and paid. But remember – the name of the game is simplicity.

There are plenty of highly successful entrepreneurs who use free web apps for tracking contractor projects and payroll. Heck, I’ve used them since 2011 with the advice of a mentor who used them even before that.

It’s true, I exclusively use Google Sheets to manage and automate my entire payroll strategy.

automation

And you can use this same method for literally any role you fill through contract work. It really can be as simple as that when it comes to payroll with your content writer.

How to Hire a Content Writer (Without Creating MORE Work for Yourself)

The purpose of hiring a content writer should be to help take tasks off your plate.

But without a strategy and a plan, finding, managing, and keeping up with your content writer will create more work for yourself. You need a system.

I’ve been doing this for 10 years… and in year nine I learned the “secret” to finding amazing contractors. Now, I’m using that secret sauce in an incredible new service we’re offering, the Done-For-You Content Creation Engine.

We’ll take care of your content from hiring a writer, training them on how to write for your brand, and implementing systems to manage their work. We’ll even set up a content calendar and topics for you based on research.

If you need a content writer but are struggling with how to put that in motion in your business, this is the service and system you need.

Talk to us today to start setting up your content engine.

content engine

About Julia McCoy

Julia McCoy is an entrepreneur, 6x author, and a leading strategist around creating exceptional content and brand presence that lasts online. At 19 years old, in 2011, she used her last $75 to build a 7-figure agency, Express Writers, which she grew to $5M and sold ten years later. In the 2020s, she's devoted to running The Content Hacker, where she teaches creative entrepreneurs the strategy, skills, and systems they need to build a self-sustaining business, so they are finally freed up to create lasting legacy and generational impact.