Monday, April 14, 2014

Where to Hire Freelance Writers

Successful companies typically use social media, email marketing and newsletters to help people learn about and discover their business. With the power of the internet, it's important to take advantage of the opportunity to get the word out. You are busy running and growing your business and may not have the time to focus on tasks that involve writing. It's likely the perfect time to hire a professional to help out.

Freelance writers can assist with blog posts, marketing, general content and information on your website. Companies will also utilize freelance business writers to do email and letter templates; this not only simplifies things but insures that you will send out professionally written correspondence every time. Your current and potential customers will take notice and look to you for guidance within your industry.

Now that you have discovered the need, where can you look to find someone? It's also important to know what to look for in finding the right fit for your business. Below are some suggestions to help get you started and off and running with your business writing.

The World Wide Web

Where else would you begin a search but on the Internet? Of course that would seem like the first place to start when looking to hire a freelance business writer, after all a lot of what they can do for your company will center around your own website. A Google search will return several hundred spots to check out; as with most things some are more reputable than others, and some free or fee-based. Ask for recommendations from friends or business associates, and if you don't have any, start chipping away at the list or try some more detailed searches. Elance, Guru and Freelance.com are a few to help you get started. These sites make it easy to see how many writers are available in a specific field. Freelancers can post  their skills and budget requirements, making it easy to quickly narrow down the choices to match your business writing needs.

Universities and Colleges

A lot of college students and recent graduates, especially journalism majors, want to practice their skills and have high hopes of having work published. The key to their journalistic futures often lies far outside their college papers. They may also require lower pay than their professional world counterparts which can be a nice bonus for you; they get a few bylines and you get a writer with fresh perspective, win-win. Obviously these students can be found online as well, but check out local universities and job fairs- it might be nice to meet your potential employee face-to-face. Always ask for examples of their writing and consider having a sample test to see how well their writing represents your company.

Hiring freelance writers is an important decision and can make a really big impact on your business; take the time to find the right person. Do you currently use outside writers for your business?

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Ways to Maximize Local SEO

If your small business serves your local community, you may not understand the significance for search engine optimization, or SEO.  But it is crucial - most of today’s consumers search the Internet whether they plan to buy locally or use a service inside their communities.  To make your business rise above other competitors, local SEO is key.  Here are a few ways you can capitalize on your local SEO efforts.

Comprehend the concept of Hummingbird.
Google recently experienced the major update to its algorithm.  A result of the updated algorithm, called Hummingbird, made some changes to the way businesses are ranked during a Google search - now we see an increase of local business at the highest rankings.  When people enter a search term, the top businesses will likely be local.  For example, if a search is performed for a “pizza place”, their results will probably be places in their town.

The change also encourages businesses to update their website to include content with local context.  As opposed to writing paragraphs about jewelry, it’s more beneficial to talk about jewelry and the city where your business is located.  People who live locally and search for a jewelry store will then see your business pop up in the search results.
Photo via localbusinessmarketingsuccess.com

Reflect on mobility.
Many people who search for a business aren’t sitting at home on a desktop computer – they’re on the go using mobile devices.  People will search for a pizza place when they are ready to head to eat.  For your business, this means you want to design your website for mobile and ensure that it or your app are user-friendly.

Contemplate local marketing.
Sites like Foursquare have honed in on the fact that people do research online for local businesses.  Even the popular pinning site, Pinterest, now has a service in place where business content can be put on a map so users can see your location.  If a person looks for shoe stores and sees that you are local to them, they are very likely to look further into making a purchase from your business.

You may not have lots of time to establish a solid presence on each social network, and that’s okay.  Instead, research and find out where your potential customers are spending their time – this increases the likelihood that they will also go to that social network as they look further into making buying decisions.  Customers can’t learn about your business if you don’t have an online presence.

Small businesses that cater predominantly to local consumers often don’t realize that they need an online presence.  However, more and more people continue to own mobile devices and the amount of time they spend using these devices to research prior to making a purchase will only grow.  The ultimate success of your business relies on making its presence known and showing customers why they should make purchases from your business instead of your competitors.

How do you optimize your local search engine optimization to sell more locally?
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Write Product Descriptions that Sell

Behind every good product is a good salesperson – but if you’re selling online, your writer is your sales person.  To sell your products, it’s essential you have a well-written product description.  The description must do far more than simply describe your products – it needs to sell them too.  A professional writer can help you with this daunting task or you can go at it alone.  Here are some simple ways to persuade your web shoppers to take a better look at, and hopefully buy, your products.

Focus on your ideal buyer.
As you write a product description, make sure you do it with the mindset of who will be shopping for what you offer.  When you write for a large crowd of buyers, your description may end up too vague and you basically don’t address anyone.  The best descriptions address your ideal buyer directly and in a personal manner.  As you create a product description, pretend you are asking and answering questions in a conversational manner.  Choose the words your ideal buyer would use and go ahead and use the word “you.”  Also think about the humor your ideal buyer may appreciate.

Persuade with social media proof.
When your prospects aren’t sure which product to purchase, they look for suggestions.  Customers are often swayed to buy the product with the most positive reviews. If you’re trying to establish credibility as a new business or are one who’s been around for years, include a photo of a person any quote – it adds credibility and also makes your company appear more personal and approachable.  Most buyers like to purchasing items that they know are popular so mention or highlight your customer favorites.
Photo via flickr.com

Avoid overused phrases.
When in a pinch, it’s easy to turn to fillers – words that every company uses when they aren’t sure what else to add to a product description. Professional writers can help come up with good descriptive words and may choose to describe each technical detail of the product and its benefit.  For instance, if you make shoes, an excellent description would share that the hand-sewn construction of the shoe provides additional comfort and durability.

Entice sellers with benefits.
As business owners sell their products, naturally they feel excited about the features each product offers.  However, potential buyers want to know what the product does for them specifically.  So instead of saying the soap you sell gets their hands clean, share that the soap has a holiday scent that adds festivity to the holiday season, therefore makes the time more enjoyable.  As you or your writer create a selling description, remember to focus on how the product makes your customers feel happier, healthier or more successful.  How can your products solve or ease your customers’ problems?

On your quest to write compelling product descriptions, make sure you share knowledge about your products.  Explain helpful details and tell stories.  Delight your customers with helpful and fun descriptions.  Your enthusiasm for your products is contagious, so the more excited you are, the more excited your customers will be.
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How to Hire the Right Writer

High quality writing is a mainstay of marketing for every business.  Today’s world of instant communication and other digital platforms means the right writer is essential for business success.  Poor grammar and jargon-stuffed writing is running rampant, and doesn’t do anything for your business. These facts may make you wonder: how does a business owner find the right writer or writing company for his or her business?  Here are some tips to help you hire the “right” writer for your business:

Find a writer who understands what you are all about.
An old, and arguably wise adage for writers is simply “write what you know.” This means whether it’s a chapter book, a biography or content for marketing, a writer should have a basic knowledge of a subject in order to successfully connect with his or her readers.

Think about it - would you go car shopping and make a purchase if the car salesman didn’t impressively know everything about the car you were contemplating? Just the same, find a writer who is a professional – and who also understands your business so they can sell your products and services to your prospects.

Consider a writer who is excited about your business.
A writer who is passionate about what you are doing or selling will naturally convey that excitement and, through the words he or she writes, spread their excitement.  The words your writer chooses can light up your message and powerfully share your pitch.  After all, the reason behind hiring a writer is to essentially sell your products – and excited content makes excited, and paying, customers.

Ask if your writer has editorial skills.
One of the best pieces of advice from successful writers is to write like you speak.  If you need a writer to do blogging, you need to ensure he understands what blogging is all about. Can he or she write in short bursts that are catchy and engaging? Make sure the writer has good editorial skills.  He should know the basics and always check facts and accuracy. If your writer shares something incorrect on your blog, it may blow up -- and the pieces will land in your lap.  
Photo via: flickr.com

Find out if the writer is proactive.
Does your writer take initiative? Yes, you want a writer who can follow your directions. But you also want someone who can give fresh insight and a spin on things.  Relevant ideas and story angles can help your business rank higher in the search engines.  Before hiring a writer, ask him or her, “How would you handle this subject?”

Does the writer have the best attitude for the job?
Like all professions, some writers have better personalities and attitudes to fit one job over another. Some writers aren’t willing to do more than one revision and others resist being heavily edited.  Speak early on about your expectations and come to an agreement on how many revisions are expected.  Communication from the get-go is critical to finding the best writer for your business.

It’s no secret that communication is considered an important skill by so many people – yet some businesses still haven’t gotten on board.  Effective writing should be a company-wide endeavor.  The practice of good, collaborating writing can make the difference between an excellent and a poor business – a essentially a sale or no sale.

How did you find the best writer for your business?
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