I know what you’re thinking. Another self-serving, “please hire me” sales pitch. But hear me out.
I’m writing this post because of the stories people tell me before they hire me. Real world stories of wasted money, wasted time and wasted opportunities.
If you can afford to waste money, time and opportunities, you won’t find this post helpful. You can stop reading.
If your new marketing initiatives are stalled or taking too long to get off the ground, or you’re not satisfied with the results of your current and past marketing programs, it could be time to hire a content writer. Here are the tell-tale signs.
Your marketing project is stuck in neutral.
I spoke to a woman who has been trying to write her human resources firm’s website content for more than a year. Not only does she struggle to find time, but she “hates” everything she writes.
When marketing stops, business suffers. I wonder how many opportunities have been lost because her company couldn’t launch its new website.
To be fair, this isn’t just about business owners who are trying to save a buck by turning content writing into a DIY project. This is about marketing firms and web developers who don’t include content writing in their proposals, or they don’t make it clear that content is the client’s responsibility.
Which I believe is a serious dereliction of duty on the part of the marketer or developer.
The majority of my website content writing clients come to me because their website projects have been on hold for quite some time.
The design is done. The site is built. But there’s no content.
Content writing is as specialized a discipline as design, development, SEO or video production. If you don’t account for content writing out of the gates, you’ll eventually get stuck.
Or you could just hire a content writer.
You keep asking for validation.
If you wrote your own content or had it written by your cousin who wrote for his high school newspaper 20 years ago, you probably keep asking people, “So whaddya think?”
What you’re really doing is looking for validation. Validation that says your content is wonderful even though you didn’t hire a professional. Validation from people who probably aren’t qualified to evaluate the quality of your content.
If you keep asking for feedback, you need to a hire a content writer. A content writer who isn’t afraid to tell you when content is bad and knows how to fix it.
You’re a great talker, but not a writer.
This happens a lot. Most great talkers can’t take what they say so eloquently in a conversation and transfer that eloquence to paper or a monitor.
In their defense, a lot of content writers fail to overcome this challenge because they don’t pick up the phone. They ask you to provide the information they need by email.
This lazy approach ignores the client’s strength. It eliminates the opportunity to ask follow-up questions. And it delays the project because the client is being forced to do what they don’t do well.
You need to hire a content writer who’s willing to pick up the damn phone.
I typically record calls with my clients. This allows me to listen instead of scramble to take notes. I don’t have to disrupt the flow of the conversation to have something repeated. It reduces errors and confusion. And it helps me capture the client’s voice and personality.
I recently interviewed a physical therapist while he was on his way to the office. I interviewed the director of a school for children with autism during her lunch break. Both clients told me how relieved they were that they could provide me with the information I needed by simply having a conversation.
You took the cheap route.
Sorry, but when you went cheap, you didn’t hire a content writer. You looked for a quick fix to a complex problem at the dollar store.
And you got what you paid for.
I was recently hired by a wellness company that initially tried to beat me up on price. They pointed out that my price was so much higher than the overseas content writer who I would be replacing.
I was very curious if this content writer had a name, if English was their first language, and what their process was for gathering information.
However, I simply responded to this client by asking why they would expect me to match or even come close to the price of a content writer whose work left them unsatisfied.
End of “negotiation.”
If you’re thinking about hiring a dollar store content writer, think about the cost in terms of wasted time and lost business. Then hire a professional and save yourself the aggravation.
You’re too close to it.
In this case, “it” can refer to your company, your products and services, or your industry jargon. “It” could also be a 20-year-old message that you’re clinging to even though your business, your audience and your competitors have changed.
If you can’t detach yourself from “it,” you’ll never be able to analyze it objectively. This can also prevent you from making the changes needed to develop a powerful marketing message.
A content writer has no emotional attachment to your business or your products. A good content writer is only interested in helping you achieve your goals, whether that means building on a tried-and-true approach or tearing everything down and starting over.
If you’re too attached, it’s time to hire a content writer.
Marketing lives on the backburner.
When things get busy, marketing is the first thing that gets pushed to the backburner. In the life of a small business, every day is busy, even if that day involves nothing but the routine tasks required to keep the lights on.
Take the company blog, for example. A lawyer recently told me that all of the partners in his firm rotate blogging responsibilities. Naturally, the blog hasn’t been updated in months. They all claim to be too busy, and they don’t view the blog as a priority.
If you want your content to be delivered on time every time, and you want that content to be a top priority, you need to hire a content writer.
There’s nothing behind the words.
There are a lot of people who are fantastic writers. They can wax poetic like nobody’s business.
Unfortunately, poetic waxing is not the same as effective marketing.
Beautiful words mean nothing if there’s no marketing strategy behind them. Beautiful words mean nothing if they don’t persuade someone to take a specific action. Beautiful words mean nothing if they don’t convert readers into customers and referral sources.
Back in my radio days, I worked with a sales rep who wanted to write her own commercial scripts. To her credit, she was an excellent writer.
She was involved in a local theatre company, and she loved to write scripts with dialogue between two or more characters. Not surprisingly, she would always cast herself as the lead.
The problem with most of her commercials was that you couldn’t figure out what the hell she was trying to sell. The commercials were chock full of drama, suspense and humor. Some could probably win an award.
But they weren’t making much money for the advertisers. She was eventually banned from copywriting, which also allowed her to spend more time (gasp) selling.
Words that don’t lead to dollars are just words. If words help you make money, they qualify as marketing content.
If your words sound nice but don’t produce leads, it’s time to hire a content writer.
Do any of these scenarios sound familiar? Maybe it’s time to… well, you know. Let’s talk.