Category Archives: Business Development

What to consider when hiring the right content writer for your business?

How to hire the right content writer
How to hire the right content writer

The short answer will be, he or she should be able to write well, convincingly, and just the way you want him or her to write.

The long answer is that you need to take certain facts into consideration before settling for a particular content writer.

Of course, you’re not just going to hire anyone. You will visit a few websites. You may also scour through freelance websites where many content writers have created their profiles. Some people prefer to hire from LinkedIn. That’s your choice.

Whoever can write, is not always a content writer you can rely on. As mentioned above, there are multiple factors. You also need to remember what’s your requirement.

Why do you need a content writer?

Do you need a general content writer whose services you can use for writing blog posts, social media updates, email campaigns or website content?

Here are a few things to keep in mind when hiring the right content writer for your business.

Carefully analyze your requirement

This will definitely have an impact on the performance of your content writer. What are you looking a content writer for?

There are writers, and there are content writers. A person who is a good writer should be able to write for any requirement. At the cost of bragging, I can give my own example. I write content for all sorts of writing requirements. Even if a client needs a copywriter and not a content writer, I can fit the bill. This is because of two factors:

  1. I have written content for many years now (almost 2 decades) and I have lots of experience writing for different businesses and for different requirements.
  2. I’m a writer first, and then a content writer. It means I’m good at expressing myself. Provided I know what is to be said, I can say it well through writing.

Therefore, clients hire my content writing services for all sorts of needs, but this may not be applicable to the content writers you are evaluating.

Hence, analyze your content writing requirement carefully. If you’re not sure, don’t try to cast a wide net. Look at your immediate requirement.

Do you want someone to revamp your website content alright your website content from scratch?

Do you need a blogger?

Do you need an email writer?

There are some clients who unknowingly are looking for a stenographer who will simply write what they want him or her to write, and yet, they want to work with a content writer.

Whatever are your requirements, look for a content writer accordingly.

Do you need a content writer or a copywriter?

There is a fine distinction between a content writer and a copywriter. A content writer is supposed to inform and educate your visitors. A copywriter is supposed to sell.

Both are important. A content writer brings traffic to your website and a copywriter converts the traffic to paying customers and clients.

Many clients commit the mistake of mixing them up. They think that just because someone can write, he or she can also write to generate sales.

No, it is not as simple. There is a reason why copywriters charge so much money. They have the ability to turn casual visitors into paying customers and clients.

Hence, when you’re looking for a content writer, make sure that you’re looking for a content writer, and not a copywriter, and if you’re looking for a copywriter, make sure that your content writer can wear that hat too.

Ask for writing samples

Every professional content writer should be able to show you some writing samples. They can be websites. They can be blog posts. Anything that gives you a sense of how the content writer writes.

You will need to pay close attention to how the content writer writes for your industry. If you are in tech industry, you must be looking for someone who can comfortably write about technology. If you’re in the fashion industry, then the content writer should be able to comfortably write about haute couture. For a food related website, the content writer should be able to write about, of course, food.

What if the content writer is good but does not have samples related to your business or industry?

Again, I will give you my own example. Sometimes I don’t have the appropriate samples. I offer to write a few hundred words for the client and if he or she likes what I have written, we go ahead and decide to work on the project.

You will need a content writer who can write for the web. Sentences should be crisp and clear. The writing style should be convincing. The writer must know how to use your keywords strategically. He or she must be able to pack the maximum punch in as few words as possible.

Look for consistency and commitment

Although, on the Internet it is quite easy to find content writers who may fit the bill, looking for new content writers repeatedly can be a hassle. It adversely affects your content quality. Hence, when you are hiring a content writer, make sure he or she can commit for at least a few months.

How can you know that you can depend on a content writer?

There is no scientific formula for it. Use your own judgement. In my case, you can see that I have a website to offer my content writing and copywriting services. This at least tells you that I’m serious about my business and I’m constantly putting an effort to promote my work and get new assignments.

You can also check social media timelines of a content writer, preferably LinkedIn. Is he or she active over there? Most of the serious content writers consistently post on the social media accounts they maintain.

Even if you find your content writer on freelancing websites, the ratings should be able to tell you if he or she is consistent. If he or she has worked on many assignments, you can safely assume that he or she will be able to commit.

What about the charges? The content writing rates?

Although rates matter, if your decision to hire a content writer depends on paying a few dollars more or paying a few dollars less, then the writer is not important.

Set a budget in advance. This is not a government tender where you need to hire a content writer who charges the least. Remember that you are building an asset – the content for your website or blog. It’s the quality that matters. When you are building a home or an office, do you go for a talented contractor or who charges the least no matter how lousy his work is?

Again, I’m not telling you to spend more than you can. Set a budget and then scale your content writing requirement accordingly.

Hire a content writer in a manner that it is a mutually beneficial partnership. Just as you need to grow your business with the help of the content being written by your content writer, a content writer needs to grow financially and intellectually while working on your project. Keep that in mind.

Do I sometimes refuse to work with certain content writing clients?

Is it fine to turn away certain content writing clients?
Is it fine to turn away certain content writing clients?

Just now came across this interesting post on Copyblogger – Is It Time to Say Goodbye to Your Current Client? – that says that it isn’t always prudent to cling to a client, especially when he or she is creating a toxic environment.

How do I decide whether I want to work with a client or not? To be frank, it is often difficult to let go of a client with whom I have been working for a few months. There was some initial spark and that’s why we could survive beyond the initial documents.

It’s like a messy relationship – you feel committed, and you feel that it would be a failure on your part if you let things fall apart easily. Besides, it is difficult to see a source of money going away – one bird in your hand is better than two birds in the bush.

The post on Copyblogger rightly says that if you are providing a service like content writing or copywriting, you are constantly improving. Which means that a year ago if you were accepting clients matching your expertise back then, right now you need to accept clients that match your expertise now.

This is also important because if you’re still working with clients who hired you last year based on your expertise back then, they are still going to treat you like a less experienced content writer. Even if they grudgingly admit that you’re much better than you were last year, it will be difficult to make them pay you more.

According to the author, here are some reasons why you should stop working with a particular client:

  • He or she doesn’t respect your time.
  • He or she doesn’t recognise the extra effort you are putting to give your best.
  • He or she is paying far less than what you deserve.

Coming back to my own question: do I sometimes refuse to work with certain clients?

Yes, I definitely do, just as some clients decide not to work with me.

I like to work on projects where my work is appreciated not for the heck of satisfying my ego, but where I really contribute. Even if I contribute and my client does not realize that I’m contributing, this is not a good situation to be in, and I politely bow out.

As far as I can control, I never sully my relationships with people, because you never know the situation on the other side. I remember there was a client last year who talked very gruffly when I presented a counterargument. I was wary of moving forward but we were amid the Covid-19 pandemic, and I was taking many decisions that I wouldn’t take in normal times. I continued communicating with him and stuck to my argument. I told him that I would take full advance before committing. He paid double the amount I was asking for, giving me double the work we had initially talked about.

I have an hourly target. Whether I’m charging an hourly rate, per document, or per word, by the end of the project, I must reach my hourly target. If I exceed my hourly target, well and good, but if I don’t, it no longer remains an attractive proposition for me, and I refuse to work. I don’t hide this fact. I let it be known to the client that although I’m interested in the project, remuneration -wise, it is not feasible for me. Some understand, some don’t.

I normally don’t send out follow-up emails

With the exception of a few messages that I get from LinkedIn, most of the messages come from my website.

People who are looking for a content writer or a copywriter land on my website, go to my contact form, submit it, I receive it, and then I respond.

When I send a reply, I assume that they need my services. Sometimes I briefly describe what they need, hoping that as we interact more, they will be able to share more information with me. I even send them sample links.

In many cases the client doesn’t get back. The reasons can be myriad. Maybe she doesn’t like my reply. Maybe she gets busy. Maybe she had contacted multiple content writers and copywriters and someone else responded and there was no need for her to get back to me.

Until a few years ago I used to send a follow-up email after 3-4 days. I would ask, “I hope you received my reply – just making sure. In case you’re looking for more information, do let me know, I will be happy to provide it…” and so on.

Then I stopped.

Initially it was because I got busy. I started getting enough assignments and unless someone’s name appeared in front of me (in the form of an unread message), I wouldn’t reach out.

Sure, when I am already working on an assignment and when I send the first draft and when the client does not respond, I do a follow-up, but that’s because I already know that the client is interested in my work, and she may have not got a chance to look at my document.

Gmail (Google Workspace) has this feature that highlights older messages if it feels I should have followed up but I haven’t.

In such cases, I go with the flow. If I feel I should write back to the prospective client, I do, otherwise I don’t bother.

As I have written above, initially it was because I was busy. Then my attitude towards my clients changed.

Almost all the clients with whom I end up working seek me out. I’m not saying I don’t value all my clients, but the clients who really want my services, follow-up. If I don’t respond for a couple of days, there is an email from them, or a message on WhatsApp or Telegram.

This works well for me as well as my clients. I prefer to work with clients who pursue me rather than me pursuing them.

The clients who don’t respond once I send them a reply either don’t need my services, or the initial offer that I have made isn’t acceptable to them. In both the conditions, I should neither waste my own time, nor theirs.

Although I’m quite better than many content writers and copywriters, I don’t delude myself into believing that I am among the best. I’m not arrogant about my abilities.

Nonetheless, there are some clients who benefit a lot from writing, and once they start getting the written text from me, they stick with me. There is a client who claims that his business picked up only when I wrote his website content.

I want to work with SUCH clients.

I remember that client pursued me for weeks. I was busy in disability activism as well as my current assignments those days. Eventually I wrote for his website.

The clients who really need my services get back to me. The clients who don’t, I don’t bother with them. And the clients who think I should pursue them multiple times before they give me their work, well, they’re not the right fit for me.

I don’t compete on pricing for my content writing services

Content writing – competing on the basis of rates

Content writing – competing on the basis of rates

I get lots of work from abroad. In fact, in the initial years, there was no work from India. Back then people didn’t understand the value of quality content in India. Many didn’t even have a website.

People in the USA and other Western countries on the other hand appreciated good writing. They started having websites in the early 2000’s.

They also understood the importance of content vis-à-vis Google search engine rankings earlier than people in India. It was also a time when outsourcing was at its peak as one of the most preferred ways of cutting costs.

Although, at my end, I never tried to charge less but who am I kidding? Most of the people in the West outsource their work to someone from India assuming that they are going to pay less.

Even when I was charging less (doing it, but not accepting it), even those rates were a lot for Indian clients. Hence, when I started getting assignments in India, I charged a lot less compared to what I was charging my clients from abroad.

This began to trouble my conscience. The foundation of my business was built through the support of people who believed in me – even if it was for the sake of saving money – and now I was charging more from them and less from people who still didn’t understand the value of good content and were simply being arm-twisted into working with a better content writer, by Google.

Clients from India can be lousy. One shouldn’t take it personally because that’s how they are. Our sociocultural environment makes us mistrust even our neighbours. They want to pay the minimum possible rate and they want to extract the maximum possible from you, short of killing you.

The only benefit is that once they understand that there is no escape from hiring a good content writer, they appreciate your talent and somehow manage to pay what you’re asking for. Besides, once you have made a name for yourself, there are so many clients that you can conveniently pick and choose.

Coming back to different rates for clients from abroad and clients from India: even that phase passed, and I gradually started increasing my rates to what I was more comfortable with, even with my Indian clients.

My conscience stopped troubling me. Even when I was charging them rates clients from India would never agree to, they were paying me less than they would have had to pay a native writer.

These days my rates are more or less the same. I’m comfortable with my rates. I don’t compete based on my rates. If a client calls me and tells me that there is a certain content writing agency or there is a certain content writer who is charging a lot less than what I am quoting, I tell them, “Well, congratulations! You have already found the content writer of your choice. Go to him/her.”

Even from my clients from abroad, after doing some reading on the web, I have realized that sometimes I charge slightly more than their native writers. I’m fine with that. I’m charging for the value I deliver, not for the fact that I am a content writer from India. Instead of attracting clients who are more interested in saving costs by hiring a content writer from India, my objective is to attract clients who are just looking for a better content writer.

Why Will the COVID-19 Crisis Boost Digital Marketing in the Future?

Digital marketing is more relevant during Covid-19

Digital marketing is more relevant during Covid-19

The field of digital marketing has been evolving for more than a decade now, and its importance is exponentially growing. With all the changes in the use of our devices, technological advances have provided us with more opportunities, along with constant access to the World Wide Web.

And with the outbreak of a global pandemic, people are spending even more time online. Most of the countries are in a lockdown state, with restrictions on travel and general movement, but people still need both products and services. The impact of the current situation will be a long-term one, and it will affect every aspect of the world market.

The new reality

For the time being, virtual reality is the only one where we can actually connect. For this reason, it is essential for brands to continue with the online presence and show people that we’re all in this together.

Many businesses are having a hard time coping with the loss of profits, and are wondering if they’re going to survive. And we are all aware that many people have lost their jobs and financial stability.

The times are quite unfortunate, but no one could have predicted these circumstances. The only way for a business to survive is to adapt to rapid changes, stay visible and relevant, and understand the consequences for when everything gets back to normal.

Staying relevant

It has never been so important to remind people of your products and services. Trying to anticipate the needs of the consumers is a leading idea in marketing in general, but at this point, you have a better perspective than usual.

And you can even get the best out of this awful situation and earn more trust among your customers, by increasing the loyalty levels. You know that everyone is spending more time online, so you need to be present as well.

There are several aspects of your visibility, starting with social media.

This period can be an opportunity to work on your digital marketing improvement, as its importance is going to continue growing afterwards.

Providing relevant content and staying on top of the crisis will make your brand more humane, and you ought to show empathy while raising your brand awareness.

Share the latest updates and helpful advice, ask for feedback and try to entertain people.

You can attract a new audience and possibly convert them into customers.

In terms of branding, this can turn out to be a great phase in which your business can evolve. It is highly recommended to use this time to invest in PPC and SEO services, as those are becoming the new and modern “traditional” ways of marketing.

Experts all over the world have been saying this for a while now, but now, living only in the virtual world, deprived of human contact, it is becoming clear as a day.

Consumer intentions and habits

Digital marketing and peoples expectations during Covid-19

Digital marketing and peoples expectations during Covid-19

People are adapting to the changes quite rapidly, and their expectations change in accordance.

You need to follow and respond to those because billboards are huge, but the reality is that most people will walk by them staring at the screen of their smartphones.

The importance of e-commerce is also exponentially growing, therefore the need for better online promotion.

It is all connected, and every trend will influence the next one. But, since we’re not talking about fashion, the trends will not come back, but only continue to change.

Your ranking on the search engines is likely to determine the future of your brand’s image and reputation.

Most people will search for the product or service they need before they purchase, so they need to be able to learn about your brand. It is simply not enough to have a website, because, without the proper promotion, the traffic on it will most likely be on a low level. Furthermore, not every one of those visits will end up with a conversion of users into buyers.

The future has arrived, and you shouldn’t leave a head start to your competitors, by staying in the past.

Conduct research of your competition and you will most likely find out they are all investing in paid advertisements and optimization of search engines. The smartest move would be heavily investing in the promotion now and preparing something valuable to offer. Since there is a movement restriction, the best advice is to focus on the local area and include it in your targeted keywords.

Emotional component

When you are there for someone in the hardest of times, people tend not to forget it. They will appreciate a supporting video message from a company’s CEO for example and every other way you can try to engage them.

We are all isolating and staying home, surrounded by the devastating news which are shaping our minds and heavily influencing our emotional stability.

Having the emotional component in the equation can help you trigger the positive ones and create a more stable connection with consumers, further increasing the levels of loyalty.

No one can say for sure how much longer this is going to last, but one thing is sure – the world will not be the same afterwards. Once the habit is formed, it is not so easy to break out of it.

This doesn’t mean people will continue to shop in bulk, but rather there will be many changes in our lifestyle that have happened on a subconscious level.

Accept the fact the virtual reality is becoming more and more intertwined with real life, and as soon as you adapt to it, you will see the results and higher profits.

You can even convert the most loyal consumers of other brands, by appealing to their emotions. Brands that have developed a strategy for promoting the offer of deliveries will be more respected and attract new buyers, for example.

Conclusion

In the world of entrepreneurship, flexibility has always been the key.

Marketers need to focus on the expectations and habits of consumers, in order to find the right approach.

The Internet has changed the very essence of life, and people will most likely continue to shop online, and those numbers are predicted to only grow over time.

One-click purchases, and deliveries are some of the features people are grateful for in the new age.

The time is only going forward, so don’t let yourself be stuck in the past.