There are a number of reasons people hesitate to hire me.
The biggest is probably money, which is completely understandable for small business owners, although it does seem to be part of a Catch-22 that you need to spend money on marketing in order to build your business, but most people don’t have that money to spend on marketing until after they’ve already built up some business.
Most people think they can do it themselves, and they probably can. But creating content is time consuming and most people just don’t have the time to devote to it when they’re busy running their own business. Even if they do find the time, it’s unlikely the content will be as high quality or as effective as what a professional can produce.
Mostly, people are wary about hiring a content marketer if they’ve had a bad experience in the past or they’ve heard horror stories of other people who have hired a content marketer and it hasn’t worked out. Upwork has done a lot for the gig economy, but you have to understand that you get what you pay for. Hiring someone online who says they can write blog posts for you for pennies an hour isn’t necessarily the best thing for your business. I’ve gotten some work from clients who have hired these people, who then did shoddy work, so my client had to pay them for content they couldn’t use and then pay to produce content they could actually use.
I say this as a fellow control freak. I completely understand these people’s concerns and they are valid. Maybe they have their own voice, which they like, and they’re afraid I can’t mimic it. Or they’re used to having an in-house writer they can talk to whenever they need to and they’re afraid a freelancer might not be as readily available.
What To Do About It
Money is definitely an issue and I’m never one to tell someone else what they can and cannot afford. I will say that a marketing budget should be part of your business plan, and a portion of that budget should be devoted to content marketing. It doesn’t have to be huge, but consider setting aside enough for one or two blog posts a month. That will be enough to get the ball rolling and you can build from there.
Depending on the content marketer you hire and how long you want your blog posts to be, you can end up paying anywhere from $30-$100 per post. You’ll usually have to call or email them to get a quote on a specific project, so once you get that and some other info, you can decide whom to hire. You can even hire more than one if that makes you comfortable. That way you have a backup if one gets sick or goes on vacation, and if you like one more than the others, you can make that person your go-to content marketer.
I get a lot of clients who keep telling themselves they can write their own blog posts, but they never get around to it. Either they just don’t have the time, or they really don’t want to be writing blog posts, so they come up with excuses to do everything but content marketing. Usually people do this for a few months or even years before giving up and hiring me.
The other pitfall to DIY is sacrificing quality. If your blogs are poorly written, they can do more harm than good. I’ve seen blog posts with grammatical errors, misspellings, misused words, as well as posts that jump from one topic to another without any segue at all. They’re low quality and unprofessional.
When deciding whether to hire a particular content marketer, look through their own content. Is it easy to read? Does it flow well? Does it keep your attention, or do you find your mind wandering? These are all important aspects of quality content marketing and you want to make sure whomever you hire is capable before you start working with them.
I don’t want to tell people not to use sites like Upwork, because there are quality workers on there, but they’re few and far between. Just remember that you get what you pay for, so the lowest bid won’t necessarily be the best. The nice thing about Upwork is it’s easy to look through reviews and ratings to see what past clients thought of working with these people.
References are great for this. If someone you know has a great blog, ask them if they’ve hired a content marketer to write it, and if so, if you can get their information. If you hired someone to design your website (which you should), they probably know of a good content marketer or three, so ask them if they can recommend someone.
Like I said, I completely sympathize with people who have this concern. Your brand is the most valuable aspect of your business and you shouldn’t trust it to just anyone. But there are people who can help build your brand into something more valuable.
If you’re concerned about finding a content marketer to write in your voice, check their portfolio. They should have a wide range of projects posted there, all written in a range of voices. See if they’ve done something you like and/or something similar to what you’re looking for in your own content.
If you’re concerned a content marketer won’t answer your emails, check their testimonials and/or get personal references if you can. Talking to content marketers you might want to hire is also a necessity. Meet them in person if you can, otherwise at least get them on the phone. Bring up your concerns and see how they respond. Just being able to hear their voice and how they respond should give you a sense of whether this is someone with whom you think you can work.
Get A Contract
I rarely have clients ask me for a contract, but it has been known to happen. I think it tends to make them feel better if they can get something in writing that details exactly what each party can expect to get out of the transaction. Most clients will write up a contract and send it to me to sign, but I have gotten the occasional client who has no idea what to expect and asks me to send them a contract. I do have a standard contract I can send them, and they’re free to make changes until we have a document with which we’re both comfortable.
Thanks for reading! If you like what you see here, you can sign up for my newsletter at the top of this page to make sure you never miss an update. If you still have questions about content marketing, let’s chat.