My days are filled with meeting people and learning about what kind of marketing content they need. The meetings are interesting and I learn a lot about different coaches and what they offer. Then I start talking about the brand promise and communications goals and I notice a look of pure terror cross my potential client’s face.
At first this baffled me because, frankly, I don’t think I’m a particularly frightening person. Then I realized it’s not me, but rather the notion of hiring a writer or content strategist that has them quaking in their shoes. I don’t blame them. Paying for something when you aren’t really sure what you’re buying is scary.
Unless they’ve worked in a corporate communications department, most coaches don’t know what they should do to ensure they hire the right person.
Hiring a writer who is the right fit for your business really isn’t complicated or scary. The following five tips will help you choose the writer that is right for you.
- Know what you want to accomplish with this project and share that with the writer. Do you want to increase your sales, describe your services in a way that’s easy to understand, or simply (finally) launch your website?
- Before you meet with the writer, make a list of everyone the writer will need to interview for the project (if applicable), how much research they’ll need to do, and what your deadline is. That will help frame the scoping conversation, and help the writer determine if he/she is the right fit for the project. It will also help the writer give you a more accurate estimate.
- Look at the writer’s portfolio. Even if they’ve never done exactly the type of project you need, you’ll get a sense of their style and approach by looking at samples. These days, most writers have samples on their website, so you can see if you like their writing before you ever even pick up the phone.
- Get a proposal that clearly states what the costs include. This is important for you and the writer. The detailed proposal will not only set expectations for the project, you’ll know right away if you’re on the same page about the project scope. And, with a proposal in hand, there shouldn’t be any unexpected surprises at the end of the project.
- Map out a detailed schedule with concrete deliverables at the beginning of the project. This will help the writer—and everyone in your company—stay on track.
A final few thoughts on hiring a writer. You have probably noticed there is a huge range of pricing. In my experience, if the price is too good to be true, then you’ll end up spending more time and (in the end) money than if you hire an experienced writer who charges more. The most important thing is your connection. If you like the person, chances are you’ll work together well. That has been true for my 30-year writing career. Also, give the writer some time to get to know you. It can take a few projects before the nail your style (unless you know the person and they know you). Be patient.