You know content is crucial for your website, but you don’t know where to start.
Maybe your web designer needs text for your pages, but your words aren’t sounding right. Maybe you want to start blogging, but you’re not sure which topics to choose. Perhaps you keep rewriting your Psychology Today personal statement or LinkedIn bio, and you still don’t feel satisfied with the content.
Hiring a content writer can be one of the best investments you make for your practice. That said, this service isn’t always straightforward. What exactly does a content writer do, and how do they support your business? How do you find the right candidate, and how much should you expect to pay?
You’ve got questions, and we have the right answers. Let’s get into the definitive guide of every detail you need to know!
The Landscape Of Mental Health Is Changing: Here’s Why Your Marketing Plan Needs To Adapt
Once upon a time, word-of-mouth referrals trumped all marketing efforts. While word-of-mouth still plays an essential role in reputation and client acquisition, you still need an online presence.
Think about when you need a professional, and a friend or family provides you with a trusted referral. What’s your next move? Do you make that initial phone call? Or do you first head online? Do you search to see if they have reviews or a legitimate website? Do you check their Facebook or Yelp page?
Moreover, what if you’re just starting to launch your business? How will colleagues or potential clients know you exist? How will you attract new clients if you don’t have a reputation generating word-of-mouth referrals? Even if you have a Psychology Today or social media page, a short bio limits potential clients from truly understanding your purpose.
Subsequently, popular telehealth services like BetterHelp and Talkspace have changed the traditional associations of psychotherapy. Today, many therapists offer online services to meet their clients’ needs and preferences. Clients seem to like this adaptation. In the face of COVID-19, two-thirds of individuals indicate having a willingness to try telehealth treatments (source: Healthcare It News).
The bottom line? People will continue using the Internet for everything from initial research to assessing the competition to filling out inquiry forms. Therefore, your online presence needs to:
- Exist in the first place.
- Meet your potential and current clients’ needs.
- Be professional, enticing, and dynamic!
- Stand out from the competition (because if it looks like every other cookie-cutter site, you probably won’t pique a visitor’s interest).
What Exactly Is Content Writing?
Content writing refers to the extensive process of creating, writing, and revising ideas. Content writers aim to harness your unique voice to attract a targeted audience. Furthermore, while excellent content writers engage their readers, they also help increase your traffic and site ranking.
Content writing can include a variety of types of content, including:
- Blog articles.
- Email newsletters.
- Podcast scripts.
- Academic white papers.
- Web page copy.
- Landing pages.
- Video descriptions.
- Social media posts.
- Press releases.
What Is The Difference Between Copywriting & Content Writing?
Although many people use the terms interchangeably, the practices are very different.
Content writers seek to educate, entertain, or otherwise intrigue your readers. High-quality writing is the most significant priority. An excellent content writer understands your business’s mission and core values. They weave those principles into everything they create.
Copywriters aim to sell a product or service. Popular in the advertising or sales industries, copywriters use enticing buzzwords and compelling language. Their job is to convince readers to take an intended action. Excellent copywriting is sharp. It stirs emotion and helps people feel connected and motivated to take the next step.
Copywriting can include:
- Social media ads.
- Commercial dialogue.
- Trade show materials.
- Print marketing material.
- Product descriptions.
- Non-SEO landing pages.
- Business names.
- Call-to-action buttons.
Should I Be Hiring A Content Writer Or Copywriter?
Copywriting has an essential place in the marketing world. Good copywriting persuades people to take immediate action. While this strategy works in motivating readers to upgrade their cell phone or buy a new purse, it’s not how most therapists want to attract new clients.
Content writers, on the other hand, write content that your readers want to read. They write to keep people on the page. Although they recognize and optimize your business’s goals, they don’t engage in sales tactics to push numbers.
What Is SEO?
SEO (short for search engine optimization) refers to the overarching practice of boosting the quality and quantity of directed traffic to your site. Think about it this way. You can be the best therapist in the world, but what if nobody can find your website? Excellent SEO helps people find your site when they search for specific terms.
SEO includes many, many factors, including:
- Crawl accessibility.
- Optimized keywords.
- Excellent user experience (fast site speed, mobile-friendly).
- Dynamic and engaging content.
- Optimized titles, URLs, and meta descriptions.
- Quality of backlinks.
SEO isn’t a short-term sprint. If an SEO expert guarantees they can take your site to the front page of Google in less than thirty days, RUN! They’re using shoddy tactics that Google will penalize. It takes time, effort, and dedication to cultivate an effective SEO strategy. With that in mind, it’s crucial to integrate SEO throughout your website creation and overall marketing strategy.
Can You Break Down Why Hiring a Content Writer Helps With SEO?
Absolutely. Good content writing can boost SEO- even without a dedicated SEO marketing strategy. Let’s review our favorite statistics.
- 77% of people using the Internet read blogs (source: Impactbnd).
- Websites with active blogs can average a staggering 434% more indexed pages and 97% more indexed inbound links (source: DemandMetric).
- 60% of consumers report feeling increased satisfaction with a particular business after reading their customized blog content. (source: ContentPlus).
- Compounding blog posts account for 38% of all blog traffic on the web. Compounding means ongoing organic searches grow traffic over time. (source: Hubspot).
When businesses exclusively focus on content marketing, they yield 5x more conversions than businesses that just focus on boosting search engine rankings (source: Kapost).
Okay, I Now See Why Content Writing Is Important. Can I Just Do It Myself?
Sure! Many business owners do exactly that. Maybe you enjoy writing and want to use your website as a creative space. Perhaps you want to cut down on marketing costs. Either way, it’s absolutely feasible to control and create your content.
However, we encourage you to keep the following statistics in mind:
Ability To Produce High-Quality Content
- Nearly one-quarter of readers indicate that “bad content” can tarnish a blog’s reputation or credibility (Source: Social Marketing Writing).
- Extensive, in-depth articles yield 9x more success than shorter pieces (source: Curata).
Ability To Produce Consistent Content
- Businesses that publish 16+ blog posts per month generate nearly 3.5x more traffic than businesses publishing only 0-4 blog posts per month (source: Hubspot).
- Business owners spend an average of 3 hours and 16 minutes writing a blog article (source: OrbitMedia).
So, yes, you can do this on your own. Just remember that you will need to invest time to research, write, edit, and format your content writing. As a business owner, you likely have numerous competing tasks to complete on a given day.
While most people have the best intentions to manage their writing, many of them:
- Get lost in the design or concept process and never actually start.
- Spend way too much time curating content only to receive minimal results.
- Write about the wrong topics, which won’t attract the right audience to their site.
- Become frustrated and abandon the process altogether.
What Should You Look For When Hiring A Content Writer?
Hopefully, we’ve convinced you why content writing matters. If you’ve decided to outsource this task, how do you find the right candidate? If you search the phrase, hire a content writer, Google rewards you with a staggering 115,000,000 Google search results. That strategy won’t take you very far. Let’s review the anatomy of the perfect writer.
What Level of Expertise Should They Have?
Like therapists and coaches, content writers come in all styles and levels of experience. You can commission the next-door teenager saving to buy a car. You can also hire the veteran journalist writing for The New York Times. To determine the level of expertise that’s best for you, consider the following factors.
Benefits of Hiring Another Mental Health Professional
Have you ever read an article containing stigmatizing language or grossly inappropriate assumptions about mental health? To borrow the classic therapist line, how did that make you feel?
We all know that therapy and coaching are intimate, nuanced, and sacred. Capturing your wisdom and thoughts about the work you do requires talent and intuition. For these reasons, many therapists prefer to work with someone in the field.
Benefits of Hiring A Content Writer With An Academic Background In English, Journalism, Or Creative Writing
Professionals with a formal education in writing understand the syntax, style, and flow of their creative process. You can generally trust that your content won’t have painful, run-on sentences or glaring grammatical errors.
If you choose this route, ask about their experience writing about mental health. Ask to see some samples. Just because someone has an M.A in Creative Writing doesn’t mean they understand how to write about EMDR.
Benefits of Hiring A Content Writer With SEO Experience
Most professional content writers integrate SEO best practices into all their work. To determine if a potential candidate has expertise, consider asking how they:
- Select blog topics: How do they pick targeted keywords?
- Format posts: Do they write long walls of text, or do they create scannable and easy-to-read posts? Do they integrate user-friendly tactics like headers and bulleted lists?
- Use inbound linking: Will they link posts to other pages on your site?
- Use external linking: Will they link posts to high-authority websites? Or, are they accidentally linking to potential competitors?
- Write to your audience: Are they writing in a way that appeals to your targeted demographic? Or, is the writing extremely technical and hard-to-read?
How Will I Pay For These Services?
Just like mental health professionals charge varying fees for their services, you’ll notice dramatic price discrepancies when hiring a content writer. Typically, writers structure their fees by word, hour, or by the entire project.
This structure is extremely straightforward. If a writer charges $50 an hour, they will invoice you $50 x the number of hours worked.
Pros: Hourly rates make it easy to keep track of payments. To maintain a consistent budget, you can work out an agreement where your writer works X amount of hours per week or month.
Cons: All writers work at different paces. One writer may take four hours to complete what another writer could finish in forty-five minutes. Unless you diligently micromanage your writer’s work, you risk receiving fewer articles or content.
Writers can charge anywhere from $0.1 per word to upwards of $1.50 per word. For example, if a writer charges $0.10 per word, you will pay $100 for a 1000-word article.
Pros: It’s easy to set a limit on the project. For example, you might tell your writer to provide a 750-800 word article about CBT. Usually, this pay-per-word rate also includes edits, which can be beneficial.
Cons: You may have no idea how long you actually want your articles to be! Moreover, inexperienced writers might be long-winded in their content. Some will engage in “fluffing” practices to boost their word count. In the freelance writing world, fluff refers to intentionally or unintentionally adding irrelevant content. This practice may result in you paying more for receiving weaker content, which could also result in lower search engine rankings.
Pay-Per-Project (Flat Rate) Services
Flat rate pricing tends to be the most popular option for monthly packages or subscription services. With this method, you pay a fixed rate for a set number of deliverables.
Pros: Flat rates offer a predictable expense each month, quarter, or year. Likewise, you’ll know exactly what you’re getting from your writer.
Cons: Writers may charge a higher rate for adding on more services. Some writers have clauses about canceling subscriptions prematurely (i.e., they may require a certain time commitment). An excellent writer usually has a limited number of clients they work with each year.
I’m Overwhelmed By All These Fee Options! Can You Just Tell Me The Best Way To Pay For A Writer?
There are no perfect strategies. You need to find what works best for you. For one-off projects like landing page content or About Me pages, hourly rates are convenient.
If you need consistent writing, monthly packages or subscriptions typically provide the most advantages with the fewest potential downsides.
Can I Hire A Writer For Free And Offer To Give Them Lots of Exposure?
You can, but we don’t recommend it. Here’s why.
- You probably don’t offer free therapy- unless you include pro bono work as part of your practice. If that’s the case, you have specific requirements for what that entails, and you reserve it for the most deserving populations.
- Freelancers already struggle with being underpaid and overworked. Taking advantage of unpaid labor only perpetuates this societal problem.
- You probably don’t have any real exposure to provide. This may sound like a harsh reality, but a single website (unless you’re creating the next Huffington Post or Forbes) simply won’t generate compounding, viral exposure.
- Your writer won’t have as much loyalty to you as they would for paid projects. Intrinsic motivation exists, but people depend on external incentives to sustain our livelihood. If your writer starts finding other work, they’re likely to abandon you first.
Professional And Friendly Relationship
What do your dentist, accountant, and your hairdresser have in common? Chances are, you trust their competence, and you tolerate their company!
You know the therapeutic relationship impacts how your clients heal and grow. Your relationship with your writer follows a similar philosophy.
While nobody can quantity what factors are most important to you, consider the following questions:
- How hands-on do you want to be with my writer?
- How would you like to communicate with your writer (email, phone, video chats?)
- What impressions do you immediately get about this writer’s level of professionalism?
- Do you feel excited working with this writer?
Where Should I Start My Search To Hire A Content Writer?
Now that you have a starting point for what you need, how do you locate the best talent? Let’s review a few strategies.
Online Marketplaces (Buyer Beware!)
If you’ve already Googled where to hire a content writer, you’ve probably landed on sponsored ads for popular websites like Upwork or Fiverr. These online marketplaces have obvious advantages. They’re convenient, they usually offer client protection, and they have about five million eager writers ready to work for you.
What’s the catch? While freelancing gems exist, many of these marketplaces attract extremely poor talent. Many times, their writers don’t have an established reputation beyond that marketplace.
If you post an ad, it’s not uncommon to receive hundreds of responses. Do you really want to sift through all of those candidates? Finally, you usually must pay service fees to use these marketplaces. That means you’re paying for the writer- and you’re paying additional transaction costs on top of their rates.
If you do plan to use an online marketplace, we recommend you:
- Post a very clear job description detailing what you need.
- Take the time to search for freelancers yourself.
- Read freelancer testimonials and reviews.
- Learn about the fee structures and marketplace terms of service.
- Offer a paid trial run to potential candidates to determine if you’re a good fit.
Content Mills (Buyer Beware!)
You may have also stumbled upon creative agencies advertising their super affordable rates! These agencies often provide packaged services below market value. Unfortunately, these costs often hurt both writers and clients.
Similar to online marketplaces, content mills tend to attract suboptimal quality. First, you may not know who the writer is behind the work. Additionally, a different writer may be assigned to each article, making your content sound choppy and incongruent.
Social Media Groups
Social media can be a great launchpad for finding a content writer. Inquire within your therapist groups if anyone has any recommendations.
Your Web Designer
Many designers have working relationships with content writers. Additionally, they have first-hand knowledge in understanding what content your site needs.
Top Red Flags To Consider When Hiring A Content Writer
Like vetting any other professional, take the following warning signs into consideration before starting a new agreement.
No Portfolio Or Published Samples
There’s nothing wrong with hiring a beginner content writer. However, you need some way to check their work. Even if they aren’t yet published, serious beginners will have personal blogs or academic assignments to showcase their talent.
Lack Of Responsiveness
You shouldn’t have to chase down a writer, particularly during the onboarding process. While nobody needs to offer 24/7 interaction, you shouldn’t be left holding onto your questions for several days or weeks.
Fails To Provide Contracts or Service Agreements
Professional writers treat their freelancing endeavors as a business. Therefore, they use legitimate paperwork with their clients. Such paperwork includes contracts and service agreements that clearly outline their deliverables.
Be cautious of hiring a content writer who lacks a formal onboarding process. Contracts and agreements protect both parties.
What if you pay your writer a hefty deposit, and they disappear? What if you want ghostwritten articles (meaning you publish it under your name), and the writer shares it on social media bragging about their great ideas? Legal issues are always a risk, but a professional writer mitigates the likelihood of such complications.
Lack of Invoices
Professional writers also handle their payments professionally. In addition to providing contracts, they also invoice for their services. If a writer simply asks you to “Venmo me” or “transfer money to my account,” this might indicate:
- They’re brand new to freelancing.
- They’re disorganized with their bookkeeping, paperwork, and (possibly) with their work in general.
- They want to avoid paying taxes.
- They’re trying to scam you.
Neglects Your Feedback Or Suggestions
Just like in therapy, you and your writer need to build rapport. It can take time for your writer to truly hone in on your voice and style preferences. That said, each assignment should get closer to capturing your practice’s mission and vision. Good writers work hard to integrate their clients’ feedback. They want you to be dazzled by their services!
We constantly remind our clients that their website is their storefront. Just like you wouldn’t build your office if you didn’t have construction experience, you shouldn’t manage your writing unless you know what you’re doing!
While hiring a content writer may seem overwhelming, the right investment will pay itself in dividends.