As a web developer, your forte is focused on the user experience and visually pleasing page elements. But, what about the information that the user comes there to get? What about the content? That’s where a professional content writer comes in, and here are 6 key things to look for when hiring a content writer.
Punctuality should be a given when dealing with any professional. You wouldn’t continue working with a brand or individual that was perpetually late, would you?
For content writers, punctuality begins with responding to your initial contact and runs all the way through the final content delivery. A pro content writer should be prompt in each aspect of their business, otherwise, it makes for a late website launch. No one likes a late website launch.
This is another huge DUH. If you were hiring a graphic designer, you wouldn’t give a second thought to a new designer without a portfolio. A content writer needs to present their best and most recent work in a portfolio, too.
Make sure each prospective content writer has a portfolio that is clearly and beautifully presented, and that their writing style meets your needs. Some content writers are adept at transforming their writing style to meet a customer’s unique style and need, which is a huge bonus.
Basic communication should always reflect the quality of work, meaning that a good content writer will carry a solid caliber of writing through to emails and texts.
Pay attention to how a prospective writer communicates with you in short bursts. If they cut corners and use acronyms and slang, you might want to consider looking elsewhere.
Grasp of Brand Voice
Because content writing is different than copywriting, a good content writer should have a solid grasp of how to recognize and use a brand voice.
Each brand should have a unique voice and tone that they use in all communications. A content writer should be able to interpret and weave your voice into their words for a cohesive message.
A basic understanding of analytics and how content affects analytics is another very simple thing that every professional that works with the web should have. A content writer is no different.
A good content writer must know how to navigate analytics, and how to determine if their content is functioning the way it was intended to. For instance, new content should be evaluated after a time to determine what effect it has on bounce rate, new organic visitors, retention rates, and goal conversions.
Keywords are a huge part of every content writer’s job. Because proper keyword research makes a big difference in how web content performs, a pro content writer should have good keyword research skills.
Whether you’re looking to hire a freelancer or an entire agency, try to keep these 6 key elements in mind when hiring a professional content writer.
Learn How to Write Like A Pro Every Time With These 5 Links
Writing well can get the best of even the most skilled writer. Especially when it comes to writing concise and relevant content for your website, blog or any other application. Here are our 5 favorite resources to help you learn how to write like a pro every time.
The headline of any piece of writing is arguably the most important, and getting it right is a bit of a chore. Fortunately, CoSchedule has a pretty slick little tool to help you craft the perfect headline with balanced emotional and powerful language.
This is a web-based browser plugin that not only live-screens your text in most applications, it also has an available feature which allows you to either write directly in a Grammarly document, or copy/paste your text in.
Grammarly helps you edit basic grammar mistakes, including commas. It is a real jerk about the Oxford Comma though, so don’t be surprised if you see tons of red your first time using the app. While the basic web plugin is free, they do offer a premium paid feature that helps catch more advanced mistakes.
We’ve only just been introduced to this wonder of modern technology, and it’s pretty sweet. Albeit a little confusing at first, but pretty sweet nonetheless.
One warning: it catches just about everything, so don’t feel discouraged after the first round of edits.
Simply copy and paste your text into the editing window and click Analyze. After a few seconds, this craziness will pop up…
If you click on the sections with a red number in the left-hand column, the app will show you exactly what the issue is and what sentence it was found in. Be aware that some slang and modern terms are not being considered. For example it hates the word “plugin”.
Ensuring Web Readability
Writing for web applications like websites and blogs requires a certain amount of readability.
(That’s just a nice way to say your writing should be simple and easy to scan.) In terms of web content and blogging, the best choice is to keep your copy between an 8th-grade and 12th-grade reading level. That allows anyone to be able to scan it quickly without losing any context.
The Hemingway App is great for determining how difficult to read your content is. Simply copy and paste your content right into the web-based app and let it automatically review it for you. The app highlights words and/or sentences in color-coded sections to let you know what is too complex.
Checking for Duplicate Content
Finally, you’re done with a new blog post. You’ve written it from the heart and run it through every single other resource found in this article. But, what if someone out there has already something very similar. Sometimes we subconsciously write from memory, and will unknowingly plagiarize another piece of content. That’s where Copyscape comes into play.
You can either compare your text with another piece of written content for similarities or input your URL and let Copyscape do the work in locating similar content out there.
There’s no doubt about it, there are tons of great resources to help anyone be a better writer, and these 5 resources are only the tip of the iceberg. Do you have a favorite writing resource? Share it with us in the comments below!
This book should be read, and read often. If you ever doubt yourself in your life or career, just open this book to any page and be enlightened. Seriously. We’ve read it three times through.
This is our review and outline of what makes Rework unique, and downright essential to every working person out there in the world. Below are the top 5 things that we learned from this fantastic book.
1. Embrace the Real World
Embracing the real world starts with understanding that the real world doesn’t mean shit. Honestly, when people tell you that your idea wouldn’t work in the “real world,” try asking them what the hell the real world actually is. Because honestly, it doesn’t exist. Crazy awesome ideas can thrive in a world where we previously didn’t think it could. That is called the present.
Do things that make sense to you, and start small. You don’t have to be a multi-national conglomerate to have a say and make a difference. If your idea is good, go for it. Shoot for the moon and do your best.
Efficiency is key when it comes to harnessing something that no one thought was possible. You need to prove that it works, and prove that in the simplest way possible.
2. Give In To and Grow Your Legacy
Your legacy is not just you. It’s not just your company or your employees. Your legacy is what you do with the time and the resources that you’ve been given. Be the change that you want to see. It’s that simple.
Figure out what you want to do or what you want to see happen…and do it. Sell what you’re proud of, because if you’re not proud of it that will seep through, and your customers will pick up on it.
Stand for something, or you’ll fall for anything. (This particular quote has a ridiculous lineage that’s nearly impossible to follow. We love it, but we can’t credit it.)
If you believe in what you do, it won’t be hard to stand on your own two feet without a crutch. You don’t need it. Just keep things minimal until you can afford those extra goodies. Now, we understand that sometimes this idea doesn’t work for certain industries, but there are ways to keep it lean.
But always remember that no matter your business or industry, you should always develop and invest in a commitment strategy instead of an exit strategy. It makes more sense to stick around and keep on chuggin’ along rather than try to skip town the instant the outlook changes. Don’t ever start a business with the intention to jump ship and sell. Start it to make a difference.Start it to be the change you want to see. The change you NEED to see.
3. Do Things. Don’t Just Meet About Them
Meetings are toxic. Anyone that has ever worked in any type of corporate environment has learned this the hard way.
If you think that a meeting will solve your problems, first take 5 minutes to sit down and think about what you’re trying to accomplish first. You have to think about the time you’re taking away from the attendees and how that will impact your business. A one-hour meeting is essentially worth 6 hours of lost productivity if six team members are involved.
If you really have to hold a meeting… Think about the constraints that you’re working within, and build a meeting outline. Start with a solid central idea and build from there without getting lost in the details.
Remember… (and we love this quote) You’re better off with a kick-ass half than a half-assed whole. So, if you can make due with what you’ve got, for now, do it. Sometimes “fine” is just right.
4. Decisions Are Progress
Sometimes you just need to make a decision. Whether that decision is right for the long run or not, its still progress and they’re just right for right now.
But, don’t make decisions because that would be what’s expected of you at this stage in your development. Screw expectations. Seriously, screw em’ because they don’t apply to you. Always make decisions based on your business needs and must-haves. If you find that you’d be much more efficient with the addition of a project management software program to the tune of $50/month, then go for it. But, if you think you should get that just to save face and make yourself look more professional and more legit…don’t do it.
Do what you need to do to be efficient and effective. Nothing more, nothing less. Sometimes what large companies don’t understand is that you can make things work without throwing money at them. Trust in your people; they will always have the answers.
5. Focus on You, Not Them
Your business is for you, not for your competition. Who cares what they’re doing.
When you spend too much time trying to outdo your competition, you end up letting your brand (and your image) fall by the wayside.
If people spent half as much time developing their own brand as they do obsessing over their competition, we’d have a lot more character in the business world.
Spend that time focusing on what makes your business different or extraordinary, and you’ll never be disappointed.
The above five points are only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to what you can learn from this book. Honestly, our copy of Rework is dog-eared, highlighted, marked and tagged beyond recognition. Yours will be too. Get your copy of Rework here. You’re welcome.
The art of storytelling has held a prominent place in our culture for thousands of years. In fact, the storyteller often held a place of high honor in many communities. So it’s no wonder that storytelling has maintained a strong foothold in modern life as we know it.
A story can take on many different forms. From a song on the radio or a painting to a blockbuster movie. No matter what form your story takes, you’ll be sure to have a captive audience as every individual may perceive the same story in a different way or view it in a different light. This is precisely why storytelling is a valuable asset to your branding and marketing strategy.
So, Give Us a Story, Love…
Tell a story. Show us that you’re real, that you have feelings. Show us that you’re human. Be a storyteller and engage your customers like the humans that they are. Being human tends to go over much better than being a cold robot.
Too many brands have traded their true humanity for a little airtime. While trading something valuable for something even more valuable tends to make a great story it doesn’t always make for great branding.
Whether you’re a small business with five employees or a large national corporation, the art of storytelling is a valuable addition to your brand.
I’m sure you’ve all heard that content is king, and it kinda is. Well, rather the context of said content currently reigns supreme.
(This article goes for each and every presence on the internet, whether it be your company website, Facebook or your blog. Cover your bases everywhere you have carved out a corner.)
Writing for the web is no longer about how many keywords you can jam into a 100 word paragraph. It’s about how you can speak to your readers on a truly personal level. Instead of pushing your brand or your product on your visitors until they collapse, try giving them something that they want.
Sharing your experiences with them.
Ask them what they think or want..
Invite them to participate in something that you have going on.
Play fun games with them.
Treating them like people and not profit.
People love feeling like they’re a part of something, hence creating a community.
Your Community Isn’t About You
It isn’t, so don’t make it all about you. Giving back to your community isn’t just about charities and volunteer work, it’s about putting a part of yourself into what you’re doing. Hell, give it your all if you’re feeling frisky. Just don’t half-ass it, you’ll regret it in the end.
Make your visitors feel included. As I mentioned above, they like feeling like they’re part of something. Don’t alienate them with pushy advertising or snarky customer service. Give them what they crave.
Oh, and did I mention that acting like a human being is a hell of a lot easier than trying to be a fake company figurehead? Truely. It’s always easier to be yourself than someone else.
Your brand is all about people. Show them that and you’ll create a strong community that will be your biggest supporters for free.