How to Evaluate Writers Before Hiring Them

Writers are one of those breeds that you’ll find everywhere. And it makes sense because you’ll need them. From writing for your website to creating manuals for your product or captions for your social media, writers fit in pretty much everywhere. 

You can think of yourself as a writer as well. You become the writer when you post things on your Instagram or write texts to a potential client. You just may not do it professionally. 

But if you’re out in the market to hire writers, you must understand what you’re going for. You can’t really hire a long-form content writer to write your email copies. Similarly, you can’t hire a technical writer to create upbeat blogs about your trip to Antarctica. There’s a writer for every job but you need to find the right fit. 

What I’ll try to do in this post is help you evaluate writers before you hire them. I’ll start with a few common types of writers that businesses need. It’ll be your baseline to understand how to pick from an assortment of writers. 

There’s a Writer for Everything

As promised, let me start with the types of writers you’re most likely to encounter. I’ll share very brief descriptions of them but keep in mind that there’s more to them. Here goes nothing. 

Content Writers

The most common one from the bunch. As you’d guess from the name, the primary focus of content writers is creating engaging articles, blog posts, and website content. It’s mostly long-form content that goes in-depth into the topic. 

These writers research topics properly, follow SEO best practices, and write in a way that captures the reader’s interest. Their sole objective is to provide valuable information that organically drives traffic to client websites. 

Keep in mind that good content writers understand the target audience and match their writing style to meet what the reader actually wants to hear.

Copywriters

I often see the terms “copywriter” and “content writer” used interchangeably. Unlike content writers, copywriters mostly focus on short-form content like ads, brochures, landing pages, social media captions, website headings, email copies, product descriptions, and so on. 

Copywriters specialize in persuasive content that’s written for one purpose only. Sales. They’re experts at convincing readers by targeting their pain points and providing a solution. They also use strong calls to action (CTAs) and persuasive language to encourage readers to take desired actions, usually taking them through a specially crafted funnel. 

Technical Writers

You don’t see them very often because they like to be behind the scenes most of the time. Technical writers are responsible for creating manuals, guides, and documentation that simplify complex information. 

Usually, they work in collaboration with technical experts to gather detailed information and present it in a clear, accurate, and concise manner. 

At the end of the day, their writing helps users understand and use products, software, or services effectively. Ideally, technical writers should have a background in the field they write about. But don’t get hung up on the fact too much because there are plenty of good technical writers out there who don’t have an academic degree in their specialization. 

Ghostwriters

This is where many content writers and copywriters end up. As the name suggests, ghostwriters produce content that is officially credited to someone else. They work on books, speeches, articles, and more. Their appeal lies in the fact that they can capture the voice and style of the credited author. 

Ghostwriters conduct thorough research and interviews to ensure the content is authentic and meets the client’s needs. They’re ideal for actual writers who want high-quality writing that mimics their tone but don’t have the time to actually go through with it.

Creative Writers

I aspire to belong to this category, someday. Creative writers focus on fiction and creative non-fiction which can be novels, short stories, scripts, and poetry. Their expertise lies in using imaginative language and storytelling techniques to create a compelling narrative. 

All of your favorite TV show characters are creations of creative writers. They not only develop characters but also plotlines and settings to bring stories to life. 

Academic Writers

The toughest batch of writers you’ll find out there. Academic writers specialize in producing scholarly content, such as research papers, theses, and essays. If you’ve done any academic work, you may know how these projects have a particular language that only experienced people can understand. 

Academic writers also need strict formatting and citation guidelines to make the assets pass the quality check. They conduct extensive research to support their arguments in these papers. 

Interestingly, I started as an academic writer way back in 2017. But it was too much for me. And it only increased my respect for writers who actually complete projects successfully. 

From what I’ve seen, academic writers often have expertise in specific fields that enable them to write authoritatively on complex topics. 

How to Evaluate a Writer Before Hiring

Now that you have a good baseline for what types of writers are out there and what they do, you’re ready to take things to the next level. When you hire a writer, here are a few things I suggest you focus on. 

  • Their Personality: See, how I didn’t start with their portfolio. Sure, a portfolio is a great addition but you can’t base your decisions off of them. The personality of a writer is the portal for clients like you to understand what they can offer. Get into a meeting and ask personal questions about their likes and dislikes. 
  • Past Experience: Not that it’s mandatory, but it’s always good if you can find an experienced writer. It also means you need to pay them more than a beginner writer. But it all pays out because if you manage to get the right one, it’s going to be worth every penny. 
  • Professionalism: You’re paying someone to work for you. Of course, you have every right to professional behavior. You can evaluate this during the meeting. Also, don’t commit until you receive a few tasks from them. You’ll use these tasks to see how they maintain deadlines and the depth of their communication skills. 
  • Niche Expertise: This is an often overlooked aspect of hiring professional writers. If your product is related to iGaming, it only makes sense to hire iGaming experts, like myself. Sure, you can go for a generalist but their work may feel too shallow for a specialized industry like this. 
  • Do a Paid Test: One of the best ways to figure out whether a writer is a good fit for your project or not is to do a paid test. Yes, it’s going to cost you but the result is going to make you more money than you ever thought before. And if you’re not sure how to do a test, you can always hire someone with a proven portfolio. 

Final Tips

  • Ask if the writer has a contract or not. If not, ask them to prepare one to protect both your and the writer’s interests. 
  • Be clear about the payment methods you want to use. Finding a common ground is important because you may often work with overseas writers who use different payment methods than what you have access to. 
  • Set a date for payments in the contract. From your end, always try to complete the transaction within the due date. 

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