Content writing is an extremely important part of an effective digital marketing strategy. From a website focused on SEO to product descriptions that encourage sales, content can be the cornerstone of moving your business forward.
However, creating great content can take a talent and time commitment that not everyone can invest in making, particularly for small companies with limited staff or startups with lofty growth goals. This is why hiring freelance writers can be a big benefit – they let companies add capacity and expertise with little investment and commitment.
And while there are many ways to hire writers for your site, working with a content writing service gives you access to a vetted list of pros and powerful tools to boost productivity and improve quality. But, how do you know which service is the right one for you? This is what you need to know to find the perfect content writing service.
What Is a Content Writing Service?
A content writing service is a professional resource that pairs writers and clients to let a company create content in various ways. Content writing services are intended to fill in the gaps for companies that don’t have in-house writers, companies who have more content needs than employees can fulfill, and companies who lack expertise at creating certain types of content. This provides clients with access to professional, experienced writers with a wealth of expertise to find the ideal fit for every purpose.
Writing services often handle management services when needed, like helping select writers for a project, creating briefs and project guidelines, and managing submissions and editing when needed. They also often include platforms that help you create content more easily, publish directly, manage workflow, build teams, and other aspects of management to simplify the process. Writing services facilitate varying needs, including scaling and growth opportunities a single writer can’t, putting significant advantages at clients’ fingertips.
Projects outsourced using a content writing service can be one-offs, like content for a new website or a description for a new product, while others are ongoing, like weekly blog posts. In essence, a content writing service is intended to fill an important need in an effective way.
Content Writing Services vs. Content Mills
A low-cost alternative to a content writing service is a content mill. While similar in theory – both resources provide a way to place orders with writers and receive content in return – a content mill is often dedicated to churning out content at rapid rates in exchange for very low costs. Many mills employ writers who aren’t native speakers, leading to poor quality and content that may not meet needs.
Think quality is negligible? Think again. Courtney Keene, the Director of Operations of MyRoofingPal, explains, “Initially, we did what I think most people do when searching out content: We looked for the lowest rates that still met our brand standards. Unfortunately, it seemed like 80% of the proposals we received were from people who hadn’t read the job posting […] and the rest were consistently low quality. Now we contact freelancers privately or through an agency, and we’re definitely more willing to pay a premium for good, targeted content. Since changing tactics and soliciting content that’s detailed, well-researched, and specific to our brand, we’ve seen roughly a 30% uptick in the number of good links that are pointing toward our articles.”
As they say, you get what you pay for. A content writing service can offer a high-quality experience that ensures a great outcome that aligns with your goals and objectives for content.
Picking The Right Service Provider
Content writing services are available in countless shapes and sizes, but finding the right one for you can play an integral role in the success of your project. Keep these tips in mind when weighing your options.
Determine Your Goals
The kind of content writing service you need will require primarily based on your content needs. Some services have specialties, like blog posts or product descriptions, so if you have a niche need, it’s important to find a good fit for your needs. Not all options will specialize in all areas, so be sure you take time to assess the abilities of services in relation to what you need.
For example, some companies may require one writer to accomplish all of their objectives, while others may need a whole team. As Scott Krieger, a Creative Director and Web Developer at Studio 54, puts it, “The most important thing about the content writing service that we liked was they had a team of writers who specialized in certain topics, meaning we could get the right fit for almost every client we had, as they would have someone who has experience in that niche.”
It’s important to note that goals can fluctuate – but the right content writing service can help this natural progression, not hinder it. With the ability to provide additional writers when needed, craft campaigns, offer editing services, and take over management of projects, a great service can accommodate you, no matter how objectives may shift in the future.
Choose a Price Point
Content comes at a cost. While many services offer affordable rates that can accommodate individual needs, good content isn’t free.
Consider, for a moment, what you have to spend each month. Is it $1,000? $10,000? More? Most content services charge by the word, or use a flat membership fee in addition to a per-word cost. Some services offer editing at a flat rate, while others add a per-word fee on top of what writing is charged.
Prior to vetting agencies, determine how much you are willing to spend and the services that matter most. For example, if you have an in-house writer who can assist with editing and need access to a writing service to manage the overflow, paying for editing may not be necessary.
On the other hand, if you have extensive content needs but no time or inclination to manage the process yourself, many platforms offer managed services that encompass placing orders, writing, editing, and curating content on your behalf. This will usually come at an additional cost, but the benefits can far outweigh additional expenses.
Do Your Due Diligence
There is a lot more that goes into content than simply putting fingers to keys. All content writing services offer options that can vary greatly from one service to another, so investigating all aspects of operations can be extremely important. In particular, keep these elements in mind:
- Quality Options: Most services have a way of ranking quality in a way that corresponds with pricing, with better writers demanding higher price points. Ask to see samples of different quality levels. Take time to review pricing policies before moving forward.
- Content Specialization: The best content writing services are often jacks-of-all-trades, but this isn’t true for all. Before signing up, be sure that the service you’ve chosen isn’t a social media powerhouse when all you need is blog posts.
- Workforce: Some services universally employ generalists, while others have experts in particular niches. Know what you need before you commit.
- Capacity: Most writers work on a freelance basis and aren’t always available for a full-time load. If you have a bulk project or rapid turnaround times, check with services to see what kind of timing and capacity writers can accommodate.
- Available Tools: If you have specialized content, like Tweets that must meet a certain word count, be sure services have tools available, from templates to grammar checkers, that meet your expectations.
- Assistance: Some services are hands-off. Others provide a fully managed experience. Know what you need before you make a choice.
- Publishing Options: Do you want your content emailed in Word? Posted right to WordPress? Emailed to you? Evaluate delivery options to ensure what you are paying for is in line with expectations.
- Revisions: Not every piece of content is right the first time. Learn more about revision opportunities to make sure you can fine-tune pieces as needed, when necessary.
Regardless of other criteria, a team you can communicate with openly and honestly is important. Mike Miller, the Editor-in-Chief of Wilderness Times offers this tip: “The best way to judge this before hiring the agency is to see how they treat you before you buy. A high-quality content provider will take the time to talk with you, listen to you, and understand what you’re looking for. They’ll ask for much more than the article topic and length. Top-notch writing services will ask what tone, voice, style, and prose you want for your articles.”
A content marketing service can say all of the right things and offer all of the advantages in the world, but the end result of your project ultimately depends on the writer. Some services pair writers with projects behind the scenes, while others allow clients to assess quality themselves prior to making a choice. Regardless, a great service needs to offer a way to vouch for the quality of what is available.
For many marketers, reading reviews can be extremely valuable. “I have found reviews of existing writers on the platform to be the most important part of content writing services,” says Stacy Caprio, the Founder of Growth Marketing. “A content service is made up of many individual writers, but the specific writer you receive will determine the quality of the content you receive. It is important to make sure you are using and receiving the highest quality content and writers possible.”
Writing samples can also be an important part of the assessment process. Most professional content writing services maintain a vast sample library to help clients evaluate everything from areas of expertise to tone and style.
The right content writing service can put your business on the fast track to success, providing you with access to high-quality content that will rank well and serve your customers. By choosing the perfect partner, you can rest easy knowing that your content is always in good hands.