How To Hire a Content Marketing Writer
Content marketing is more valued than ever. According to the 2023 report by the Content Marketing Institute, 71% of B2B firms feel like content marketing is even more important now than it was a year ago. Content plays a key role in marketing, SEO, customer service, and sales, which means businesses of all sizes need it to thrive.
The sheer amount of content that a business generates can get overwhelming — regardless of whether you are leading the content team of a small business or an international enterprise. Hiring a marketing content writer, or a team of writers, can help you scale your efforts while maintaining your quality expectations.
If you need to expand your team, either in-house or through contractors, this guide can help. Learn about the process of vetting, hiring, and onboarding content writers who will stay with your team for years.
Identify the Content Needs of Your Business
The first step to hiring a marketing content writer is to understand exactly what tasks they will complete. Content comes in all forms, from social media posts to press releases, and many content writers develop specialties in specific channels. Here are a few questions that can help you craft your job description:
- What types of content will this writer be expected to deliver?
- Will the writer be responsible for ongoing projects or as-needed tasks?
- Which departments will the content writer need access to?
- What does the average weekly or monthly workload look like for them?
Not only will these questions help you better understand your needs, but they will also help you attract relevant candidates. For example, if you just need someone to manage your blog content, you might hire a freelance blog writer. However, if you are looking for someone to work closely with your public relations, social media, and internal communications teams, you might want to hire a full-time, jack-of-all-trades marketer.
What Is a Content Marketing Writer?
One of the biggest mistakes that companies make is not having a clear answer to, “What does a content writer do?” A content writer is a professional who specializes in crafting messages for internal and external audiences with interests related to the company. A few content types that your writer can produce include:
- Short- and long-form blog posts.
- Website content.
- Product descriptions.
- Marketing materials like eBooks and whitepapers.
- Press releases.
- Social media posts.
- Email blasts.
- Newsletter articles and updates.
While writing is the primary role of these professionals, some content marketing writers have additional skills that can streamline your operations. For example, a blog writer might be able to edit, format, and publish articles on WordPress while an email marketing writer can easily navigate MailChimp.
Decide Which Type of Content Marketing Writer You Want to Hire
By asking key questions about the types of content and departments your future writer will work with, you can determine how you want to hire this person or this team of professionals. There are three common ways to hire content writers.
- As a W-2 employee. Working part-time or full-time, this individual dedicates a set number of hours each week to your company.
- As a W-9 contractor. This is an individual who works hourly or by project. Contractors typically do not receive benefits and can work with multiple companies at the same time.
- By partnering with a content agency. An agency will take care of the hiring and managing of writers who will execute your content goals.
Hiring an employee is the most hands-on option. You can ask the individual to attend meetings and become fully immersed in your company culture. However, there are risks: these individuals cost more to hire, they take longer to replace, and you must have consistent work for them to do.
Working with an agency is the most hands-off method. You can save money because you only need to work with them when you have a project to complete and there are always writers available. However, these writers might not be as knowledgeable about your company because they don’t work for you every day.
Additionally, decide whether your employees or contractors will be able to complete their tasks remotely or if they need to report to your office. This will determine the size of your talent pool. Keep in mind that 64% of workers say they would consider quitting their jobs if their employers required them to work in the office full-time.
Evaluate Your Content Budget
The budget you allocate for your content marketing efforts will also determine the types of candidates you work with. There are multiple ways to advertise your content marketing position to attract top talent.
- Salary. Offer a flat annual rate if you want to hire a W-2 employee. The average content writer’s salary is $58,918 annually.
- Per hour. You can offer an hourly rate to your W-2 employees, especially if they work part-time. Some W-9 contractors will also work on an hourly basis and set aside time each month to work with you. The salary listed above is around $30 per hour.
- Per word. Many freelance content professionals accept projects on a per-word basis. Most writers charge between $0.03 – $0.30 per word.
- Per project. You can also offer flat rates for projects if you are working with contractors or agencies. For example, you can offer $100 for a 1,000-word blog post ($0.10 per word).
Your content goals will determine how you recruit your marketing content writer. If you have an endless list of tasks they need to complete each month, you might prefer marketing the position on an hourly or salary basis. It can be hard to keep up with word counts and pay rates for social media posts, meta descriptions, and other small pieces of content.
Develop Your Job Description
Using the information discussed so far, you can develop a comprehensive job description to attract interested and qualified writers to your company. Your candidates need to know what they will be doing, what the pay rate is, and what kind of employee or contractor they will be.
As you write your job listing, consider any additional requirements or skills that your candidate will benefit from having. A great example is a writer who knows how to use WordPress if you use this content management system (CMS). This is particularly important if you have a company in a niche industry that not many people have experience in.
Consider a company that offers personal finance services. The marketing team needs a writer who understands the basics of investing and the different terminology related to money management. They might even prefer to hire someone who has investing experience.
If you add additional requirements for your candidates, you can reach specific writers who have experience in your industry. However, this will also reduce your talent pool and you will likely need to increase your pay expectations to account for the specialized work. This is another benefit of working with an agency — it pre-vets candidates and hires specialized writers so you don’t have to.
Hire Your Favorite Candidates
Once you have an effective job description, you can market your position and start working with candidates. Know that the hiring process for a marketing content writer might be different from the other positions in your company. Here are a few things to consider.
- Ask for writing samples. Instead of a cover letter, request published writing samples or a portfolio from your candidates. This can give you a more effective picture of their skillset.
- Prepare a writing test. While you can set up a job interview or preliminary phone call, these tests can give writers space to prove themselves.
- Avoid analysis paralysis. You don’t need to put your writer through 10 interviews. Instead, let them prove themselves by taking on projects and showing the quality of work they can do for you.
Decision paralysis can also occur if you want to work with a writing agency. You can avoid this stress by asking about termination clauses for clients. This way you can easily walk away from an agency you aren’t happy with.
Prepare the Onboarding Process
Even the most experienced candidates require onboarding and education about your company. Most companies have onboarding processes that last 30 days, but it can take up to 12 months for an employee to fully understand the business. Your onboarding efforts might look different for contractors and agencies, who will focus on the style guide, content expectations, and branding of your organization.
It is worth your time to develop a comprehensive onboarding process for your content marketing writer. If this person leaves the company, you will already have the materials to train their replacement. If your business expands and you can hire more writers, you can reuse these materials to get them up to speed.
Also, as your new writer learns about your company, give feedback on their work. The best way for new hires to learn and improve is to receive clear, detailed, and actionable responses to their work.
Can a content writer become a content marketer?
Content writing can be a great step for someone who wants to become a content marketer and eventually a marketing manager and CMO (Chief Marketing Officer). The writer can learn about the company and expand their skills related to other marketing aspects.
If you are interested in developing your writer into a marketer, and they show interest in this career path, look for additional ways to involve them in your team. They might benefit from attending more strategic meetings and growing their skill set in other channels. This will prepare them to take on more of a big-picture role within your organization.
How do I start content writing in marketing?
There are multiple ways to grow your career if you are interested in helping companies execute their content marketing plans. Consider your experience, availability, and skills as you explore different channels to find marketing work. Here are a few steps you can take.
- Develop writing samples. Publish content on a portfolio website or reach out to your favorite blogs to submit guest posts.
- Reach out to local non-profits. Starting with pro-bono work is a great way to give back to the community while building your resume.
- Apply to content agencies. Many agencies need large teams of writers in order to meet the needs of their clients. Be prepared to complete writing and grammar tests to show your skills.
- Check the job boards. As you grow your experience and portfolio, start applying to content marketing writer jobs. You might land your dream job if you just keep looking.
If you are currently an entry-level writer, consider developing content as a part-time job outside of your normal work hours. You can then transition into full-time work as you grow your experience.
Work With ContentWriters to Reach Your Marketing Goals
Content agencies provide a unique service that benefits both companies and writers. They hire writers from across the country that have different skill levels and expertise, providing long-term opportunities for consistent work. These agencies allow companies to complete short-term projects without navigating the hiring process or scale out long-term projects without going over budget.
At ContentWriters, we are proud to support both our writers and clients to create positive experiences for everyone involved. Learn about the services we offer and reach out to our content team today.
Amanda Dodge is a freelance writer and researcher. She has more than eight years of marketing and copywriting experience and continues to follow trends in real estate, finance, and business. Her background includes a bachelor’s degree in Communications from Florida State University. She lives in St. Petersburg, Florida with her orange cat.