5 Things to Look for When Hiring a Content Writer

Writer

Content marketing has a lot of power. Companies are quickly realizing the importance of quality content. The right content can nurture current customers, attract new customers and showcase your brand’s authority in the filed.

Of course, you can only reach those goals with the right writer. If you’re looking to hire a content writer, here is a quick list of traits that you should look for:

Quick response to email

You don’t want a writer who responds to your email in 24 hours, you want a writer who responds within hours. Your business should be a priority, which should be reflected in quick response times. Plus, a lot of companies want to turn timely content. If a topic is trending today and your writer doesn’t get back to you until tomorrow, you’ve already missed your window.

Impressive credentials

It goes without saying that you want an experienced writer. A lot of brands are hiring former journalists because they know how to turn quality content on a deadline. These “brand journalists” put the reader first, and are always thinking about how to inform and entertain.

Whether you hire someone with a journalistic background or not, you should take time to vet a potential writer. Look through previous posts and get a feel for the writer’s style. Make sure the posts are recent too. Check references, preferably an editor that the writer works with. Ask about work ethic, quality of content and ability to meet deadlines.

Plus, you don’t want to do a lot of handholding. You’re busy enough as it is. You want someone who can start writing quality content on day one.

Ability to breakdown complex material

Let’s face it, not all businesses are cut and dry. A lot of businesses have complex systems, detailed processes and intricate products. You need someone who knows how to break it all down into to easy-to-digest content. A medical device company, for example, that wants to recap a recent medical trial needs a writer to break through the science-speak and explain what the results mean to the average person.

Jazz-it-up ability

Not all businesses are sexy. Whether your business makes widgets or washes floor mats, you want a writer who can jazz-it-up – someone who writes creatively to promote your business and your brand.

Social media presence

It’s a digital world and your writer should embrace it. You want a writer with a social media presence; someone who will share your content on their social media sites to promote the article to as many people as possible.

It will take some time to vet a writer, but it’s better to spend the time on the front end than it is to deal with a subpar writer. You have every right to by fussy when finding a writer, after all this person will represent your company. Making sure a writer meets all of the criteria listed above will help you find a writer that’s best for your company.

What’s New in Social Media?

SocialMedia

There’s always something happening in the social media world. It’s hard to keep track of all the changes. To help you stay up-to-date with all of the hot new trends, we put together a short list of must-read social media posts each week.

We’ll showcase social media news and articles that will help you make better use of your social media channels.

Here’s a look at this week’s social media round up:

Twitter’s New Animated GIFs

Forget static images, you can now share a little animation on Twitter. The company announced the new feature last week and several companies are already making good use of it.

If you want to give them a try, check out this article on the Washington Post that showcases several companies that are using GIFs.

Facebook’s New Look

Facebook rolled out a new look. Here are a few of the highlights:

  • More organized posts

You’ll notice your posts are now in a straight line, rather than scattered between two columns.

  • Info on your cover photo

Your name and several buttons will be on top of your cover photo now. The dimensions of the cover photo, however, are not changing.

  • New feature

You’ll also be able to add pages to a new section called “Pages to Watch.” Here you can watch your competitor’s sites and compare your results with theirs.

To learn more about the new updates, check out this article on the Vertical Response blog.

How Big Brands Keep Their Audience Engaged on Social Media

Social media is all about engagement. Ever wonder how the pros do it? Well, wonder no more. Big brands like Doritos put a big emphasis on user-generated content liked video submissions. Dunkin Donuts gets its customers to share stories on Twitter and Nissan asks its followers for product feedback.

These are just a few examples that are broken into tips that you can learn from in a post featured on Social Media Examiner.

How to Write a Tweet

If you’re just getting started on the 140-character platform, you might be wondering what to tweet. Sure, you can whip up a tweet that promotes new content on your site, but what else entices your twitter followers? How about a tweet that offers a statistic or poses a question?

Hubspot created a list of must-tweet tweets to get you started.

Did you come across other must-read social media content this week? If so, share it in the comment section below.

Facebook Fails: 6 Things That Drive Your Fans Nuts

Facebook

Facebook has its perks. You love checking in on old friends and seeing pictures of your buddies. And who hasn’t stalked an ex-boyfriend’s page to check out his new girl? While there are many benefits to this social media platform, odds are, you’ve got some fans that drive you nuts.

There are some unwritten Facebook rules that certain fans break. To make sure you’re not one of those fans, we’ve created a list of Facebook posts that you should be wary of. These kinds of posts will drive your fans nuts – guaranteed.

Food pictures

Unless you’re Emeril, stop posting food pictures. This might sound harsh, but no one cares what you’re eating for dinner. You don’t want to lose Facebook followers because you’re oversharing during mealtime.

Shameless work plugs

We all have a friend or two (or 12) who are forever promoting themselves. These “look at me” posts are driving your fans nuts. Of course, it’s all about moderation. If you tell folks that you’re giving a guest lecture once in a while, that’s fine. We all use social media as a promotional tool, but you should do so sparingly.

Constant complaints

If you’re a “life is always terrible” poster, your fans will block you. Whether you’re constantly complaining about your kids or can’t resist the urge to tell the world about your crappy boss, no one wants to hear daily updates about how bad your life is.

Constant sunshine

Of course, the exact opposite of the constant complainer is that fan that has the perfect life. I truly wish everyone’s life were as rosy as the Facebook posts exclaim, but it’s just not possible to be perfect all the time.

Non-stop pictures of your kids

You use Facebook so you can stay in touch with friends and family that you wouldn’t normally keep up with. Pictures are a big part of this equation. However, you don’t need to document your child’s every moment. A picture here and there is great – encouraged even. But your fans – and most importantly – your child will thank you for not posting potty training pictures on Facebook.

A daily blow-by-blow

Do you have a friend who updates his or her status three or four times a day with super mundane posts? You’re nodding aren’t you? Listen up Facebookers, getting the mail doesn’t warrant a post. Resist the urge to tell your fans about returning from work, sitting down to lunch, or waiting for a doctor’s appointment. We don’t need to hear about every nuance of your day, really we don’t.

So, what’s left to post about, you wonder? The takeaway message is to vary your posts. Keep your fans updated, not overwhelmed; informed, not bored. Facebook is a great communications tool, but you should think about your audience as you’re posting.

 

New Business, New Lessons

Open4Biz

It’s official. We’ve started our own business. Like many entrepreneurs, this endeavor was about ten years in the making. We’ve taken all of our media experiences – every job, every project, every crappy boss – and used them to build our own media company. While I am thrilled with our early success, my biggest question was one every prospective business owner asks, “Is this really going to work?”

I get why so many people are willing to punch a time card and spend time in a cubicle. It’s safe. There’s security in a 9-5 job. You show up, do your work, and take home a paycheck. Someone else handles all the nitty-gritty details like healthcare, retirement and vacation days.

Starting a business is a risk. Success rests on your shoulders. It’s up to you to create a product or offer a service that others are willing to pay for. It’s up to you to dredge through tax forms, find affordable healthcare and invoice clients. It’s a lot of work.

That said, last Tuesday Jason and I took a two hour lunch – because we could. When I wanted to go home for my dad’s 60th birthday, I did. I didn’t have to clear it with anyone. When we’re working, there isn’t a micromanaging boss hovering over us. We set our own goals, create our own schedule, and dictate our own future. We’re the bosses. And that – right there – is the biggest perk of all.

We didn’t start McEwen’s Media on a whim. Both of us worked in the corporate world for years and started to build a client base while we were still working our day jobs. When we found ourselves working day and night, we took the first risk and quit the cube farm. Even then, we didn’t start a business right away. We needed to make sure we were up for it. We freelanced for years. Finally, at the beginning of this year we started our own media company.

Now, six months after starting the business, the question I ask is, “Why didn’t we do this sooner?”

We look forward to creating amazing videos and writing must-read articles for our clients for years to come.