Whether we like it or not, people tend to assess a professional’s competence in her chosen field partially based on how she presents herself on her personal website. I’ll admit that when I see a poorly executed web design, my first reaction is to exit the page and seek out another. You may be the best lawyer in the state of North Carolina, but if your website looks like it hasn’t been updated since the 1990s, you send the message that you can’t be bothered to advertise yourself properly. And while yes, I agree that the quality of the services or products that one provides far outweighs the importance of the template that she’s chosen for her website, I believe that the way one brands him or herself is paramount in becoming successful in a chosen profession. And how we present ourselves online—more specifically on our website—is a critical part of that branding.
One of the best ways to optimize a website is to hire a content writer. A content writer is someone whose job it is to write various articles to put on a company’s website in order to inform and engage readers while also aiming to promote the business through their writing. The two most important functions of content writing is to improve SEO (search engine optimization) and to provide the audience with articles relevant to the business or professional’s line of work. For those who don’t know, search engine optimization is the process by which you attempt to change the positioning of a site on a search engine’s search results.
Naturally, the “optimization” aspect means that you want your website to be on the first page of results (or if you’re really ambitious, the first result!). For example, if you were to search your name, you might find yourself on the second page—possibly the first if your name is particularly unusual. However if you’re “Kate Smith” or “David Jones”, you may have to sift through a lot more results before you find yourself. To optimize your positioning on the results page, the best thing to do is to create content under your name (Facebook, Twitter, blogs, etc) and post it to the Internet. The more you have out there, and the more people who see it, the higher up you’ll be.
I understand the desire to just handle everything yourself. It’s your work, why shouldn’t you just write the articles about it? After all, you’re an educated individual with a passion for and understanding of your business! Why should you outsource your work to someone you don’t even know?
In short? You don’t have the time. While it may seem easy to turn out a handful of articles a week, it can be time consuming—and that’s time you could be spending meeting with clients or in the courtroom. Like I said before, how you brand yourself and present yourself on your website it incredibly important in terms of gaining new clients and maintaining your current client base. However, it’s even more important to actually do your job and to do it well.
Now, I suppose that if you just wanted to slap a few 100 word posts on your website each week, you could do that yourself. But if you’re going to take the time to try and build up a collection of articles relevant to your work, you might as well take the time to do it right. And it just so happens that “doing it right” tends to involve hiring a content writer. If someone less qualified than you were to come in and do your job, the results would be less than optimal. In that same sense, if you tried to do a content writer’s work, the quality could prove to be less than satisfactory.
Content writing is a lot more nuanced than you may think. What makes hiring a content writer so important is their ability to identify keywords relevant to your work and pepper them into their writing in order to optimize the article’s—and by extension, your website’s—SEO. And while it’s up to you to give them some sort of direction as to what you’d like them to write, it’s oftentimes ultimately up to them to come up with pertinent topics.
In addition to identifying keywords, content writers also need to be able to figure out (and then properly apply) the tone that best suits your website. Oftentimes, businesses and professionals will need a more professional and straightforward tone for their websites. After all, if I’m looking to your site to hire you for legal aid or medical care, I don’t want you to be cracking jokes and using slang in your writing. I want facts, and I want them presented to me in such a way that I feel that I can trust you as my lawyer or healthcare provider with my most sensitive information.
With that said, there are businesses and professionals that require a different approach in their writing. If you’re promoting a chic party planning business or something that deals with the music industry, your site may require more of a whimsical or casual tone. Especially if you’re writing for a younger audience, you don’t want to alienate them with a formal tone. While this tactic seems fairly obvious, it’s something that’s oftentimes overlooked by many business owners and professionals. Even if you are aware of it, executing it is a whole other beast. You can save yourself the pain and risk of putting off your readers by simply hiring a copy writer.
So let’s say I’ve broken you down and you’ve decided to hire one of these content writers for your business. What should you look for? Well, if you have the money, you may be able to go straight to a copywriting agency. These agencies offer content writing services to their clients and oftentimes can even help create marketing and branding strategies. Naturally, you’ll have to do a bit of research to see which agency best suits you (especially money-wise), but you can feel pretty safe in knowing that whichever one you decide on, you’ll be getting an experienced and professional writer.
It’s also possible to circumvent the copywriting agency and go straight for a writer. This may prove a little riskier since you’re not getting the guarantee of the agency, but it may also save you money (which I think we all know is incredibly important). You also may luck out and find that the freelance writer you’ve hired is just what you’ve been looking for. Sure, there’s a slight risk, but just make sure to have them submit samples of their work, give them a quick call to make sure that they’re legitimate, and then hire away (assuming they have all of the necessary qualifications).
One thing to always look for in a copy writer is that he or she is well read. Not only does it greatly improve their writing, it also means that they have a vast expanse of knowledge. It’s incredibly beneficial for any writer to know a little about a lot. Not only does this give you a myriad of topics to pull from when writing your articles for whatever website you’ve been hired to write for, but it also means that you are more marketable to new clients. If you only have knowledge about healthcare, it will be much harder for you to find clients in other fields. Granted, if your goal is simply to be a healthcare or technology writer, finding a niche may be a good thing. If you’re looking to expand your client base, you should definitely have some sample pieces in your portfolio that shows of your ability to write about a variety of topics.
Of course, none of this is to say that professionals and business owners aren’t well read. It simply means that they may not have the time to dedicate to scouring the internet for new material to read. If you work as a lawyer or doctor, chances are you’ll be in the office or hospital late into the night. It’s a content writer’s job to be on top of news and different content all over the Internet, so while you’re working on a plaintiff’s case or writing prescriptions for patients, they’ll be working on reading all that they can in order to better serve the websites of you and their other clients.
Especially with the growth of social media, the internet is filled to the brim with ambitious and talented young writers who have grown up online. Men and women all over are clamoring for the chance to prove themselves and their ability to promote a business through the articles, and now is the time to take advantage of their willingness to work.
If you want to succeed in your chosen field, it’s best to be ready on all fronts—the Internet included. Make sure your professionalism extends past how you interact with your clients in person, and into how you engage with them online. The best way to do this is to fill the search results with articles from your website, and the best way to do that is to hire a content writer. Just as you have a lot of work to do, they have a lot to say.