Finding the right freelancer for your project
Scrolling through some freelancer platforms tonight, I noticed a disturbing and ongoing trend of clients who want freelancers to create specialized content for their websites for a few pennies a word. Going hand in hand with this trend is the number of websites with generic, or even worse, poorly-written and grammatically incorrect content.
As a consumer, I can assure you that nothing will make me bounce from a site faster than poorly written content if I land on your page looking for a product or a service. Maybe I am jaded because I am a content writer, so I took an impromptu poll among colleagues, friends, and family. All agree that any website has mere moments to make an impression.
Grammar or spelling errors or overly generic content scream that this business isn’t serious about their reputation. If they are not going willing to put their best effort into their digital presence, then you automatically question the value of their goods or services.
You Get What You Pay For
Freelance and agency content writers are responsible for a large portion of the content you find online. Those sleek, sophisticated websites that invite you to “come in and stay awhile” probably either handle their content in-house or they pay talented freelancers to produce unique, high-quality content.
The type of content you find on these sites is genuinely engaging, helpful, and well-written. The secret is that this isn’t what you get for less than ten cents per word.
At rock-bottom prices, you are more likely to get regurgitated or blatantly plagiarised content, or content that is so boring and generic that no one will take the time to read it. Whatever the result, it has the potential to do more harm than good for your site.
In whatever niche, excellent content writing requires writers at the top of their game, familiar with SEO, and willing to put in the time and research it takes to write engagingly about everything from wastewater management to corporate law.
These writers follow all the latest SEO trends and take the time to learn your brand and your voice to create landing pages and blogs that invite visitors to stay awhile. The writers, at this level, bring conversions, which is the primary focus of web content.
There are plenty of talented writers who can do this so well that they make it seem effortless, but their expertise is not cheap. Now, you may get lucky and find a new and talented writer willing to work for low rates to establish themselves in the field. More likely, you will find an inexpensive writer who will produce inferior content.
When you receive this content, you have a few options. You can invest your time in editing and rewriting the content to match the message and impression you want to give in your digital space, which can take so much time that you would have saved money by simply writing the content yourself in the first place.
If the content is utterly unusable, you may be left with little option but to trash it and move on. However, it is likely that you will still have to pay because most contracts require you to pay unless you can prove that the content does not meet an “industry standard” in an industry that has no objective standard. Again, you are out of money with little to show whatever you spent.
The third option is accepting that it is a lesson learned and moving on to a freelancer with terrific samples, great reviews, and a price that meets the market standard. The cost of their writing is more, but the quality of the product your receive meets a much higher standard. Not only would you have saved money by hiring the more expensive freelancer, but you now have content that will help drive conversions on your site.
The Value of a Skilled Content Writer
Depending on what products or services you sell, just a couple of more conversions will often cost-justify your investment in better content. Aside from conversions, your site’s improved SEO and overall value make it easier for more potential clients to find you. Even novices in digital marketing understand that the more eyes there are on your site, the more conversions you will have.
Quality content should perform well on your social media sites, ramping up your social media marketing, and driving traffic to your site. Many experienced content writers will include handling your social media accounts as part of their writing project.
It is also true that pricey does not always equal quality. An experienced content writer will have a portfolio of prior writing to show you. You will also want to find a writer that takes the time to understand your needs, the intended audience, and the purpose of the content you want for your site.
Prices vary wildly depending on the depth of content, whether it is a one-time project or a long-term project where you will be providing the writer with a steady income stream. Some writers command rates as high as a dollar per word, or more.
However, most content writers with experience and skill fall somewhere between ten to fifty cents per word. Other writers will give you a project price instead of a per word rate, so ask about that possibility if that makes you more comfortable.
Thought content is king when it comes to digital marketing, but quality content is what genuinely makes a difference in the perceived authority and value of your site. It is also crucial that you do not underestimate the value of a healthy working relationship with your content writer. There is more than a pricepoint in finding the right writer for your project or website.
Warning Signs You Have not Found the Right Freelancer
Finding a freelancer who works well with you or your team is vital, so it is always a good idea to start with a small project. A short blog post or a series of social media snippets will give you a chance to assess how well the freelancer understands the overall tone you want to achieve. Even problems on the first project can tell you plenty about the freelancers worth ethic and personal style.
Warning signs that you should keep looking for a better fit include:
- Missing project deadlines — We all understand that life happens, but if your freelancer routinely misses deadlines, then it is a red flag that shouldn’t be ignored.
- Failing to understand your brand message — It doesn’t matter how talented the writer is if they cannot convey the brand message you want. Some writers are incredibly gifted with words but have a difficult time grasping the needs of the client.
- Poorly written samples — A freelancer only has the testimony of other clients and examples of their work to sell themselves to new clients. If they do not take the time to produce quality samples of their writing, then it is possible that what you are seeing is their best work. If it falls short of your expectations, it is safe to say you probably are not a good match.
- Long turn-around times — In today’s climate, good freelancers are in demand. A freelancer should be commended for giving you an honest estimate of how long a project will take. However, if you need the work sooner, it is better to keep looking for a freelancer with more bandwidth to take on your project sooner.
- Lack of a policy for edits or rewrites — Savvy freelancers know that it isn’t wise to give clients carte blanche authority over the number of revisions and rewrites. That said, a freelancer good at their job should always offer one or two edits to ensure the client is getting the product and quality they need.
Remember, in digital marketing; you only get one chance to make a good impression. It makes little sense to invest in a great website with high-end graphics, aesthetic appeal, and an easy to use design, only to have the effect marred by bland or poorly written content.
Dena Standley is a freelance writer with extensive experience in artificial intelligence, the legal field, and SEO practices that drive conversions. Visit https://medium.com/@denastandley for blog articles or her webpage at https://writesolutionspro.com/