How to Hire a Writer for Your Marketing Team
A Content Writer is an essential piece of any marketing team. Hiring a writer can significantly impact your company’s SEO and its brand image, and the quality of a piece of writing can make or break a potential sale.
Whether it’s writing for online distribution like blogging or social media, writing copy for good old-fashioned print materials, or more likely both, you need someone who can get your message out effectively and with your company’s branding in tow. But finding a writer for your marketing team (and more importantly the right writer) is easier said than done.
Below are tips to help you with recruiting a writer for your team and ultimately put your brand on top.
What to Include in Your Job Ad to Attract the Right Writing Talent
Before you can hire the perfect writer, you need to know what will make that person the perfect fit. That begins with clarifying the competencies and skills you’re seeking. For writers, that can include specifications like:
- Proven copyediting ability and knowledge of AP style.
- Impeccable English language and grammar proficiency.
- Basic understanding of SEO concepts and best practices.
- Ability to work independently and in a team environment.
- High attention to detail and deadlines; commitment to see projects through to completion.
- Experience with content management systems.
To ensure that your candidates have the kind of style and tone you’re looking for, ask for writing samples to be included with their application. That way, when you’re considering who to interview, you’ll have extra information that a resume or cover letter can’t convey.
You’ll want to include their core responsibilities in the job ad as well. That will ultimately be up to you to decide, but a good starting point could be:
- Write polished copy for online and print materials.
- Ideate, develop, and edit well-researched content including but not limited to: eBooks, reports, blog articles, social media posts, webinar presentations, press releases, messaging documents, infographics, sales collateral, marketing emails, display ads, product descriptions, and webpages.
- Research and stay abreast of industry trends; contribute ideas for timely, relevant content for B2B and B2C audiences as well as internal stakeholders.
- Follow an editorial calendar and meet deadlines.
You may also want to consider making the position remote, either full-time or on a hybrid basis. Many writers don’t necessarily need to come into the office every day to perform their core duties, and the option to work from home could be an excellent incentive for a prospective candidate.
How to Conduct an Interview for a Writer
Once you’ve narrowed down your candidates to your select few, you’re ready for the interviewing process. Working from the same list of questions for each interview is the best way to ensure you get the pertinent information you need on your candidates. You can certainly deviate from the questions as needed, but having a solid foundation makes interviews go much smoother. Try these questions for interviewing a writer:
- How do you prioritize projects?
- Do you prefer to work independently or with others?
- How do you incorporate feedback into your work?
- How do you capture a client’s voice?
- What’s your experience with content management systems/web publishing software?
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Should You Conduct Writing Tests?
While writing samples are great for weeding out potential candidates, they may not give a complete picture of how someone will perform under pressure. For writers especially, poor performance under tight deadlines could lead to sub-par or error-filled content. A writing test can show the quality of work that person can give in a real-world situation, which is invaluable in the hiring process.
A timed writing test with defined criteria should be given before any hiring decisions are made. It should be a good representation of the type of content they’ll be writing for you, like a sample blog post, and you should include in the criteria any specific skills you’re looking for, like using keyword strategies and backlinking. Two hours is a good time limit to ensure they really feel the pressure.
Other types of jobs and skill tests can be useful as well, but a timed writing test is best for finding the right writer.
Where and How to Search For Writing Talent
Your first instinct may be to post your job ad on your website or the major online job boards. While that’s not technically wrong, you will most likely find you’ll get a lot of unqualified or even irrelevant applications. The smarter way to post your job when recruiting a writer is to post on industry-specific job boards.
iHire’s Marketing community is a great place to start to search for the perfect writer for your team. Posting in the right community means you’ll attract candidates that are more likely to be qualified, which leads to less time to find the right hire.
July 16, 2021