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How to Choose and Hire a Web Content Writer – Part I: Creating the Job Ad

As a content director and the editor-in-chief of a national legal magazine, I have interviewed and vetted hundreds of web content writers.  Trust me, all content writers are not equal and the adage “you get what you pay for” applies to writers who craft content for the web.  However, with a little due diligence, you can find a skilled writer who is right for your organization.

If you are too busy to write your own content, don’t have the in-house writing ability or just don’t know where to begin, hiring a content writer can be a good strategy.  Referrals are often the best way to find a reliable writer.  However, if you can’t tap into your professional network to find a writer, you can place a job ad on Craigslist or another online job board.  Below are ten tips for creating a job ad for a web content writer.

10 Items to Include in a Web Content Writer Job Ad

  1. Job title – Choose a job title for your online job ad carefully. Consider what keywords potential applicants will be searching on the web.  For example, the title “Web Content Writer” may yield more hits to your ad than “Internet Wordsmith” while the title “Writer” is too broad in scope.  The words “freelance,” “remote” or “telecommute” in your title will open your ad to a global talent pool.   Adjectives in the title such as “Legal Blogger” or “Technical Writer” can help narrow the scope to your targeted applicant pool.
  2. Job description – Create a detailed job description that describes the job scope, daily tasks and core competencies.  If applicable, note whether the position is temporary, part-time, freelance, remote or something other than a traditional full-time position.
  3. Job requirements – Include non-negotiable requirements as well as desired skills, background, education and technical proficiencies.  For example, for a law firm hiring a content writer, non-negotiable requirements might include 3+ years of legal web writing experience and a J.D. degree.  Desired skills might include SEO and knowledge of content management systems.
  4. Writing Samples – Ask candidates for two to three writing samples or links to samples or their portfolio on the web.  The samples should be closely related to the work you are hiring the writer to perform.  For example, if you are hiring a legal blog writer, samples of legal briefs and motions may not give you a clear indication of ability; blog posts written for other law firms would be ideal.
  5. Writing/editing test – You may want to require leading candidates to complete a writing and/or editing test.  If so, you should clearly state that requirement in your job ad.  The test should be short and easy to evaluate.  To attract top candidates, you may want to compensate writers for completing the test since experienced, in-demand writers will often not write on spec.  
  6. Availability – If the position is part-time or freelance, ask candidates to indicate how many hours per week they are available to work on your project(s) and, if applicable, what days/times they are available.   Alternatively, outline the required work schedule in your ad.
  7. Application procedures – Outline what materials each applicant should submit (cover letter, resume, writing samples, etc.) and how those should be submitted. Require applicants to submit a cover letter along with their resume.  A cover letter can help you evaluate the web writer’s writing and marketing skills.  The more examples you have of a candidate’s writing, the more informed choices you can make.
  8. Company information – If you are not placing a blind ad, include information about your organization.  Details such as benefits and perks may attract a wider pool of qualified candidates.
  9. Compensation – Including pay rates can weed out candidates who do not fit your salary criteria.  Excluding pay rates can leave it open to negotiation, depending on experience and qualifications.  Alternatively, you can ask writers to state their salary requirements or salary history.
  10. Deadline – If you are in a rush to hire or you want to limit your applicant pool, you may want to include a deadline for applying.

Today’s market is filled with talented, experienced writers who are eager to join your organization.  Crafting the proper job ad can help you find them.

PaperStreet’s Web Content Writing Team

PaperStreet has a large team of legal writers who have met our rigorous vetting process.  All members of our writing team are attorneys who have years of experience writing content for law firms and businesses. If you are seeking a web-savvy legal writer, contact Content Director Sally Kane.

Sally Kane :