What Your Web Content Writer Should Have

On October 5, 2010, wrote:

Establishing – or enhancing – the presence of your business online will require a lot of text. Let’s see: website copy (with multiple pages), product and service descriptions, blog entries, tweets, Facebook wall posts, E-mail newsletters, pay-per-click ads, etc.

So who’s going to do all that writing?

Hire a web content writer. That’s the simplest solution, right? It’s also one of the most efficient. You hire the writer for a specific content creation project, maybe even an outsourced writer from offshore. It’s cost-effective, and you’re also able to free up a lot of time for yourself – time that you can spend focusing on running and growing your business, as opposed to playing the role of a copywriter or communication agency.

Before you handpick a writer, though, you have to make sure that he or she is your best candidate. An interview may even be necessary. The most important thing, of course, is that the writer has what it takes to help you succeed on the web today.

Here’s a checklist of what your web content writer should have:

The Writing Chops

Obviously, you’ll want a writer who didn’t miss class when the teacher taught grammar and spelling. Sloppy writing leads to disengaged, or even frustrated, readers, which then leads to disinterest with your business or brand. A writer who has polished his skills, on the other hand, will help you improve your reputation and build trust with your readers. It reflects, above all, your professionalism.

The Technical Know-How

Writing for the web is certainly different from writing for traditional media, like newspapers and TV. That’s because you have to factor in things like search engine optimization, link and meta strategies, web analytics, keyword research, and a bunch of other technical stuff – with the aim of attracting not only individuals and prospective customers, but also search engine robots and social networks. So hire a content writer who not only can string words, phrases, and sentences together – but also string these up in a way that’s optimized for the web.

The Talk

It’s essential to have a writer who understands your business and your industry – or at least the lingo of it. If your writer can adapt to the language used by you, your employees, your partners and colleagues, and your competitors, then he or she would be better able to connect with your audience.

A Sense of Humor

There’s something like 240 billion websites out there. It’s no guarantee, but when you show a good sense of humor, there’s a better chance that you can stand out amidst the noise, the clutter. Engaging or amusing writing will also help sustain your readership and your social media networks, because goodness knows how much boring, lackluster, and boiler plate content is being published online every single day.

A Nose for Research

Your web content writer should appreciate the importance of research, and thus sees this as essential to any form of good writing. He or she believes that, while writers are entitled to their own opinion, no one should be entitled to their own facts. Look for writers who have the sense to ask Google, call and cite sources, use numbers, list references, and check and double-check facts.

Time

Web content writing may not always be a full-time job, but given the requirements of any business, it’s surely an assignment that ought to keep any man busy. So hire a writer who has the time to write, blog, tweet, edit, and research. If he or she is working on multiple projects at a time, then you’ve got to ask for a commitment that enough time will be dedicated to your project.

A Website and Portfolio

Your web content writer, ideally, will have his or her own website and professional portfolio. These should showcase not only personal career highlights, but also examples of the writer’s work. No examples, no job. In the process of selecting a writer for your Internet marketing needs, you have to check out your candidates’ credentials: does the writing style fit your needs? Does the work exhibit a good grasp on content creation for the web? Is the tone of voice appropriate for your business and industry? A professional website or a portfolio should give you the answers to these questions.


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