How to hire a Web content writer

September 1, 2012
The success of your media website depends on finding the best content writer for the job. It takes a special combination of talent for your content writer, sometimes called a content producer, to have the most impact on your website and your media company. While no two sites are the same, meeting the basic skill requirements will help your website reach the largest audience possible.

1. Choose a Content Writer with Internet Experience

Writing for the web is different than other forms of media content writing. From writing compelling headlines to making sure articles are informative and easy to scan, your content writer’s performance will greatly impact your web traffic. The goal is to have your users spend time clicking through your internal content, rather than reading one item before leaving your site. Good grammar, punctuation and spelling are must-have skills.

2. Make Sure a Writer Understands SEO

SEO, or search engine optimization, helps people find your articles when they type words or phrases into a search engine. A good content writer will need to research which keywords and phrases should be included in an article so that it comes up on a search results page. The goal is to have your article show up on the first page of results when a person searches for information.

3. Allow a Content Writer to See Your Website Statistics

By having access to website statistics, your content writer will be better able to judge her performance. It will be easy to tell which articles are getting the most page views and which ones may need to be reworked, either through a better headline or improved SEO, to deliver more traffic. A variety of web analytics tools can help you and your content writer dissect statistics to see what your audience wants to read.

4. Share Your Business Goals with Your Content Writer

The more information you share with your content writer about your business model, the easier it will be for her to achieve success for you. Do you want to simply generate the highest amount of traffic on your free site, or do you eventually want to transition into paid or freemium content? Having answers to these questions will help your writer position content accordingly. This is especially true for media companies with a traditional platform — a newspaper, magazine or broadcast property — in addition to a web presence.

5. Get Your Content Writer to Appreciate Your Brand

On the web, content writing and brand building aren’t separate job functions. Your content writer must understand that her articles are as important to building your brand as a logo or company slogan. The New York Times and the New York Post have separate brand identities, which must come through in web writing. Seeing the demographic makeup of your audience will help your writer tailor content, rather than producing articles so broad that they don’t reach anyone.

6. Set Social Networking Guidelines for Your Writer

A content writer also needs guidelines on how social networking will benefit your web traffic. Producing articles that people will comment about will boost your traffic. Your writer should spot trending topics on social networks when deciding which articles to pursue for your site. A good writer won’t isolate herself, but instead take advantage of the interactivity on the web.

Finding an excellent web content writer isn’t easy. But the time you take in evaluating a candidate’s computer, marketing and business skills will pay off for your website each time a user clicks a well-written article.

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