The demand for content writers is high, which explains why many carry the title “content writer.” However, being a content writer takes more than the ability to cough up a few witty words.
Content writing is an advanced form of writing that demands thorough, in-depth research and patience. The ability to differentiate between a content writer and a generic or general writer will help you hire the best.
According to the CEO of Sidepost, “While anyone can put together a few marketing words, only true content writers can deliver the impact and drive the traffic you want.” That said, you want to drill your content writing applicants before hiring them, digging deep to discover what they’re made of.
Top 9 Questions to Ask a Content Writer before Hiring Them
Before hiring a writer just because they can put together a few coherent words, wait a second. Content marketing has evolved and is still evolving; it is more fast-paced than what we had last two years ago. Content marketing trends are evolving as the taste and expectations of the audience also evolve.
So, as you build your team of content writings, below are the top questions to ask in an interview.
What Drives Your Desire to Write?
In other words, you’re asking the interviewee why they became a writer and the drive behind their passion – or if there’s a passion at all. This interview question helps you separate the bona fide writers from those who only write for money.
It isn’t that you’re looking for a writer with years of experience; you want someone who loves what they do. You’re looking for someone with a love for words, engagement, interaction, and building a community around learning.
Do You Read; How Often?
A reader doesn’t have to be a writer, but a writer must be an ardent reader. After all, it would help if you researched a subject before writing authoritatively and convincingly about it.
For instance, you sell cryptocurrency and need a writer to direct customers to buy Litecoin from you. So it would help if you had a writer who could deliver the message succinctly and – and, of course, professionally.
Moreover, reading a book requires patience and commitment, two excellent qualities you want in your content writing team. One of the best interview questions to ask a potential content writer is how often they read and review their last book.
Do You Read Blogs; Which Ones Do You Read Often?
A true content writer knows that one of the best ways to get good at their craft is to learn from superstars. Therefore, your ideal candidate for the content writing job should be able to give you one or two blogs they read regularly.
It doesn’t necessarily have to be a blog in the industry; it could be about blogs, sports, country music, or anything. Nevertheless, these content writer job interview questions are essential because they differentiate a human being from a content-generating robot.
How Do You Proofread Your Work?
Proofreading is integral to content writing – or any other type of writing. A proper content writer knows that their first writing is like a draft; they need to read through it a few times to eliminate errors.
If your interviewee has a write-it-publish-it mentality, you don’t want to hire them; if you’re going to benefit from content marketing, proofreading is non-negotiable. One small typographical error may not soil your content’s credibility, but a few more can make your content appear sloppy.
What Do You Think About Keywords?
A decent content writer knows the importance of keywords and how the brilliance of an article is wasted if it isn’t findable. This question helps you find out how a potential candidate for the job optimizes their content for search on Google.
Such users should know which long-tail and general keywords increase the chances of their content being found by their specific target audience. A good writer seeking content writer jobs should know how to use keywords effectively to create findable content.
What Are Some Grammar Pet Peeves You Have?
This is a fun question to ask when interviewing for content writing jobs; you can throw it in to loosen the tension. Every true writer has several grammar pet peeves and one that stands above the rest.
For example, it could be the interchangeable use of “Am” and “I’m” or “there” and “their,” or comma splices, among others. If the interviewee doesn’t have a pet peeve, that’s a problem; no true content writer can stand these grammar mistakes.
How Do You Approach a New Writing Project?
A decent content writer knows how much work, time, and effort goes into writing good content to deliver the required impact. They know how to write the introduction and how it should contain a hook that’ll keep the reader interested.
If you’re looking to hire content writers for your business, this is one of the most important qualities you want in your content writing team. They understand that finding that hook depends on their ability to put themselves in their readers’ shoes. They also know who the speaker behind the content is, the style it entails, what it’ll convey, and the resources for writing it.
What Is the Difference Between Copy and Content?
There is a significant difference between copy and content, and a good content writer should know it. You want a writer who doesn’t only see the difference but can also write both efficiently.
A good content writer knows that content aims to communicate deeply with your audience without strings attached, a.k.a. selling. Where content informs, educates, inspires, and entertains, copy focuses on sales; if there’s any selling in content, it is very minute.
What Formats of Content Have You Written In the Past?
Doing thorough research means you can write on virtually any topic, even if you don’t enter the technical aspects. You want a content writer that can write engaging and impactful content on what you’re selling.
Important Things to Pay Attention to Before Hiring a Content Writer
If you are on the hunt for a content writer for hire, it helps to know what traits to pay attention to. We are in an age where SEO and content are essential ingredients for generating traffic and leads and improving productivity and sales.
Thus, the content writer you hire can help you scale your business or run it to the ground. Below are traits you should watch out for when interviewing a potential content writer for your brand.
Every writer knows how to churn out words, but only a content writer can do it creatively. Watch the interviewee’s ability to express an idea without using clichés and their use of original metaphors, examples, or analogies. Also, note how they use unconventional words; is it natural, or do they sound forced?
A bona fide content writer can research, read, and research more; words are better communicated from a mind with depth. To write impactful content, a content writer needs to research different sources, compare them, and ask the right questions.
Eye for Detail
A good content writer should have a keen eye for detail and an X-ray vision. This trait is important because it helps them to avoid careless spelling mistakes and typos.
It also helps to know when and where to emphasize words with italics and bold and how to spot repeated words. A decent content writer has a consistent style and can detect abrupt jumps between different arguments.
Sense of Humor
Introducing humor in content writing is one of the best ways to connect with your readers emotionally. A content writer with a rich sense of humor is priceless; if they meet most other requirements, hire them already.
Watch out for an assertive content writer; this skill is vital in collating data, requesting comments, and doing what’s needed to produce valuable content. You want a content writer that’s assertive enough to handle doubts, questions, criticisms, revisions, follow-ups, and comments. Moreover, content writers must be able to articulate what they need, or they’ll miss objectives and deadlines.
Hiring a content writer can seem easy – it’s all about how well they write. However, you must remember that content writing is a vital part of your brand; it is your brand’s voice, and that is why you must know the right questions to ask at the end of an interview. It may not be easy to ascertain if an interviewee has the skills you are looking for in a content writer. You must compile and ask deep-seated questions to reach the applicant’s core, bringing out their inner self.
The interview questions and traits listed in this article are an excellent way to start your content writing interviews. You can choose the best content writer by diligently listening to each interviewee with your instincts and keenly noting their traits.