Content is king. Most business owners know that these days. If you want to get found on Google or the other search engines, it’s important to invest in quality content for your website.
Here’s the problem: you’re busy, your team is busy, and writing meaningful content isn’t high on the todo list. To address this issue, business owners have been known to hire freelance writers. However, finding a good writer isn’t always easy. In today’s world of blogs, self-published books, and social media, practically everyone claims to be a freelance writer.
In this post, we’ll explore three budget-friendly ways to hire freelance writers:
1) Upwork.com (formerly oDesk)
2) Upwork plus Google+ cross promotion
3) HitTail (you’ll love this one)
Option 1: DIY Recruiting on Upwork
There are over 350,000 writers on Upwork. Add in Freelancer, Guru.com, and others, and you probably have access to nearly a million writers.
If you go this route, the problem quickly becomes knowing how to begin the recruiting process. Here’s a brief overview of what to do:
- Create your free Upwork client account
- Post your job, make it sound interesting, and keep it private (initially)
- Use Upwork filters to narrow the search to 100 or less (look for 5 stars, 100+ hours billed, last activity within 1 month)
- Invite 20 or so people to interview
- Hire at least two or three to a test project (fixed price project might be best)
- Run the content through Copyscape before using it (just to ensure original content and avoid plagiarism issues)
Option 2: Cross-Promotion on Google+
If you offer a niche product or service, it can be challenging to find freelance writers that are experts in your field. Although Upwork is useful in finding writers in general, you sometimes need to do a more targeted search. At this point in time, freelance marketplaces typically do not offer the ability to drill down into specialty areas.
For the sake of discussion, let’s imagine your company offers a unique software application that appeals specifically to automotive repair centers (random, I know). To write meaningful content, you probably want to have someone that knows the basics about what an automotive repair center does.
Your natural inclination might be to go on a LinkedIn group and promote your Upwork job posting. Not so fast – as LinkedIn has been known to slap your hand for that if you’re trying to hire people without using their Job Posting service (which isn’t free).
Enter Google+ into the equation. As with many Google products, Google+ seems to be much more collaborative and networking-friendly, even for promoting your job postings. Once you’ve created your free account, you might consider drafting a post to share with groups of freelance writers (see below for some group ideas).
We’re looking for a top freelance writer who has some experience with writing for automotive repair centers. Please view our job posting on Upwork (insert link here).
Without spamming groups (read each community’s rules first), you might consider doing this on several Google+ boards, including:
- Freelance Writers Network (570+ members)
- Freelance Writers (2,799+ members)
- Freelance Writers on Google+ (95+ members)
Option 3: Send it to HitTail
Some content doesn’t need to be that in-depth. I find this to be particularly true for local SEO purposes. In most regional markets, consistently building original content that is geared toward an organic keyword strategy usually gets the job done. Most local businesses aren’t selling complicated products or services. Therefore, the simple act of creating content within that market is enough to move the needle and attract more organic visitors.
Several of my clients use HitTail. In a nutshell, HitTail offers two amazing services:
1) Keyword Analysis & Scoring – I originally found HitTail because I was trying to solve the “(not provided)” issue that many marketers face in Google Analytics. HitTail piggybacks onto your Google Webmaster Tools account, displays all of your search terms, and then ranks them in order (5 stars best, 1 star worst) to help you quickly understand what keyword you should be targeting in your content generation activities. I’ve deployed this for many Keener Marketing Solutions clients, and we’ve really seen value from this HitTail feature. Here’s a screenshot of my account and current “suggestions” for my blog:
2) On-Demand Content Generation (For $19 Per Article) – Yes, I know $19 seems scary cheap. I was a little skeptical myself. However, HitTail guarantees your satisfaction – money-back guaranteed.
I have several local SEO clients who have started using this service and have had excellent results. Just to be safe, I run everything through my Copyscape account to ensure original content. Everything has been original and pretty decent quality.
As I alluded to above, I think this option works best if you’re a local company that is wanting to build out a ton of content on a tight budget and timeline. HitTail articles are guaranteed within 2 to 3 business days, which is very reasonable. For $250 per month, you can have over a dozen original articles to post on your blog or website. However, I probably would not recommend this option for companies that offer a multi-faceted software application that needs a more integrated, technical approach.