How to use content writers effectively from A to Z

How to use content writers effectively from A to Z?

Content Writers are perhaps the most common writers you can find online.  However, content writing is a huge category with a lot of nuances and the definition of \’someone who writes content\’ will only get you so far.

In this article, you will find golden best practices for selecting, hiring, onboarding, and working with content writers. So let\’s zoom in!


In this guide:

Table of Contents

Content Writer Job Description 101


A content writer is someone who writes informative and engaging content online. However, \’content\’ is a vast umbrella term covering everything from blog posts through video and podcast scripts to press releases.

The creative process has similarities like researching, writing, editing, generating ideas, and collaborating with teammates. However, specialist knowledge is often required when writing for a specific industry or creating a particular type of content. This vastness causes many content writers to position themselves strategically.

Examples of specialist positioning can be a \”Baby Health and Nutrition Product Description Writer\”, a \”Sustainable Development Ebook Writer\”, a Sports Podcast Script Writer\”, and so on.

Strengths and weaknesses of content writers

Content writers are just one of the many writers who can help your business online. Here we\’ll compare what they excel at and where they fall behind other writing roles like Copywriters and SEO writers.

Keep in mind this comparison concerns primarily the beginner content writer and does not apply to proven content-writing veterans. Moreover, these characteristics do not account for niche expertise.

Pros: Adaptability, Creativity, Volume


Writers are natural chameleons who adapt their writing style to the one you want. Usually, they are very creative and can quickly come up with new writing angles and combine ideas in different ways.

Lastly, they excel at producing vast volumes of work. They are the people you need when you want someone to take direction to create 71 similar landing pages and 43 How-to-guides or when you want an original piece of content.

Cons: Narrow-Sighted, Random Results


Content writers typically lack business awareness. Although bursting with creativity, they need to figure out how to monetize it. They are often so focused on the content they write that they miss the bigger picture.

Without the more advanced skill set of the SEO writers or the business flair of Copywriters, they cannot know what content will help grow your business.

Overall, content writers are the foot soldiers of the writing industry. They lead the charge and bear the brunt of the work. Although it might be beyond them to plan the campaign, they are fundamentally necessary.

How to hire content writers?

It\’s a free market, and nothing should be taken for granted, be it quality, price, or process. Know what you\’re walking into.


Freelancers vs. Agencies

Generally speaking, freelancers and agencies are your two options for hiring writers. Freelancers are usually well suited for quicker and smaller projects, but their quality varies significantly. On average, agencies deliver better results but cost a lot more and are not worth it for small projects.

Side note: there are content writing agencies, popularly known as \’content mills\’ because they churn millions of words per month like a huge writing conveyor belt. Approach at your own risk.

Finding content writers online

You can find writers on job platforms like Upwork and Fiverr, Facebook Writing Groups, and Linkedin. Some also have websites which you can find on Google. It always helps to look for writers who specialize in your niche.

The cheat code for selecting writers


The writing market supply far outweighs the demand in places like Upwork and Facebook. Thus, selecting a good writer can be challenging when dealing with 40 applicants.

Asking for samples is a good start, but you\’re rarely certain who wrote what when they send you docs or pdfs. So instead, you can ask them to complete a mini-writing task of 200 words or less.

The benefit of giving a mini-size task is threefold.

  1. First, it shows how the writer directs and executes a task.
  2. Secondly, it is a minimal time commitment for both you and them, so there won\’t be any pressure to hire them.
  3. Thirdly, you can do this simultaneously with different writers and see what you like best.

Payment options for content writers


Now that you\’ve selected and tested your writer comes the question of pay. If you want to keep working with them on a freelance basis, you have three main options for paying:

  • Per hour
  • Per word
  • Per project

Per project is the safest bet regarding how much you are spending. Give them a deadline and a budget and let them to their own devices. However, this gives you little insight into how much time they spend on tasks and what volume of work they are capable of handling.

Per word is an excellent way to guarantee that you will pay for exactly what you receive. No room for nonsense when it\’s all written down. However, this approach incentivizes writers to be quite wordy, which may result in more fluff and less quality.

Per hour is a very straightforward and good way of payment for establishing a baseline rhythm for tasks. However, it\’s riskier than the other two because it incentivizes slower work, and your final bill is not fixed.

How to onboard writers effectively?

Money\’s in the Escrow, and a new player has entered the game, and it\’s your job to teach them how to play to your liking.

Be specific

A content writer\’s dream:


\”I want a 1,000-word article that teaches a beginner audience how to complete task X. Y and Z are the main difficulties people experience and I need you to provide specific solutions to them. I also need you to reference two non-competitor sources and make a call to action for people to check out or shop. I need you to include this and that keyword in the title. Also, make sure to put at least 5 subheaders and make the formatting nice\”.

Reality: Give me an article and make it sound nice.

Provide references


Showing is even better than telling. When you have a specific vision you want the writer to follow, just show them the source. The more reference points, the less room for misunderstanding.

Edit with them in real-time


Doing a live editing session with your writer at least once has excellent benefits. Reading things out loud is a great way to catch mistakes and inaccuracies. Most often, they happen because the writer is unsure what approach to take. Hearing their reasoning and correcting it on the spot is a certain way to be on point the next time.

For more details about onboarding, check out our guide \’How to develop new writers effectively from zero to hero in 3 steps?\’!

Final words on content writers

Writers see dozens of options for communicating your message. It\’s your job to help them understand how to best channel their creativity and align it with your business goals. We also have a guide If you are unsure if you need a writer. Finally, I hope you enjoyed the read!

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