It’s not that you don’t want to hire a content marketer. It’s that you’re a specialist, and your content needs to reflect that. Unfortunately, most technical specialists aren’t great writers, and most great writers aren’t technical specialists. So what’s a professional services firm to do?
If you’ve experienced this frustration, you’re not alone. Too often, law firms end up having to edit their outsourced content for technical accuracy, costing their fee earners valuable time which negates the point of hiring a writer in the first place.
An alternative approach is to provide your freelance content writer with a technical draft so that they can render it readable. That can be more efficient, but means you’re losing out on a lot of what they offer. A good content marketing firm will be able to create well researched content that’s timely, published on a strict deadline and engaging. If they’re reactive rather than proactive, they can’t help you create a content schedule that maximises your reach.
Fortunately, content marketers who combine marketing expertise with specialist knowledge aren’t just the stuff of legend: they’re really out there. You just need to know where to look, and what to look for.
Where to look
We can save you some time by telling you where not to look: generic content mills. Websites like Upwork and Freelancer can be great for cheap-and-cheerful content with a fast turnaround, but you’re unlikely to find specialists hanging out there. The pay tends to be low, which means writers can only make a living if they’re able to churn out the words at high speed. That approach results in sloppy content which is at best generic and at worst ‘spun’ from someone else’s site.
Instead of weeding through writers for specialists, try looking for places where specialists gather and then weeding through them for the best writers.
LinkedIn can be an excellent source to find people with industry knowledge. If someone has published articles linked to their profile, you can see quickly whether their writing skills are up to your standards as well as checking their qualifications.
University students are another group to try. They have research skills, specialist knowledge and are usually in need of cash. You could post an advert with the campus jobs board, or approach lecturers directly and ask for recommendations.
What to look for
If you’ve found someone who seems to fit the bill, here’s how to check that they’ll be able to provide you with the raft of skills your firm needs.
Is their prose impeccable? Global Lingo found that the vast majority of readers notice poor grammar and spelling and will judge a firm accordingly. Request samples of previously published work from any writer you’re interviewing. If you’re not confident about your own abilities, you can upload the sample to sites like grammar.ly for a verdict.
The tone and flow of the work is also critical. Is their copy easy to read and does it match the tone of their client? A good writer will use a voice that reflects the company’s brand in the voice of their copy. If you find someone who can demonstrate a range of styles, that’s more valuable than searching for the writer who writes exactly the way you do.
A good content marketing specialist will also generate timely and interesting topics to write about. Their experience will help them come up with different and unique angles to engage readers and set your firm apart from the rest. That’s a skill that comes with experience, so look for someone with a varied portfolio or journalistic experience.
The other thing to keep in mind when you’re looking for a writer is cost. As any professional services firm already knows, specialist work costs more. Only you can decide whether paying for experience and niche expertise will be the right investment for your firm.
Tanya was admitted to the South Australian Bar in 2006 and practiced for several years in large and boutique firms before starting her own business in legal content writing and editing. Her areas of expertise include contract law, property law, personal finance and personal injury. She relishes the challenge of taking even the most intricate judgement and making it accessible to the interested reader.
Tanya is based in Adelaide. You can contact her by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by telephone at +61 400 972 354.