Traits to look out for in content writers


If you have the time to take a good, long, objective look at the world, you would be easily convinced that the current state of humanity is caught up in a deluge of misinformation. This further harbours an environment of chaos and mistrust. What if the 'Age of Information' is, in fact, the 'Age of Misinformation'? If misinformation goes unchecked, it won't be long before we push ourselves further down the rabbit hole.

Sure, content is king. But what kind of a king? I surely don't want to seem overly pessimistic, but at the rate we're going it seems like we're being led by a one-eyed king.

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The dawn of the digital age democratized popularity, with freedom of expression attaining a free and unchecked hand. Today, social media provides a platform to not just make money doing what we love, but also access to brief and fleeting attention in the cyberspace.

Now, this has given rise to two sects, one which offers well- researched and opinionated content. And then there are those who churn out content, reeking of verbal diarrhea, at the expense of you the readers.

Now, how do you, an entrepreneur, identify which one is which, especially if you're understanding of the subject is lay. How will you know that you're not wasting your time and money, when you're about to hire a content writer? Here are points to look for when hiring content writers.

Articulate your requirement

The process of hiring should not be just limited to asking candidates a bunch of operational questions, or answering a bunch of theirs. First, understand the kind of content you require. Most people skip this step entirely. Your business needs a website? Good. What do you want to tell your consumers through that website? Are you planning to say the same things your competitor is saying, only a little differently? If that is your brief to your content writer, he or she is never going to like working on your website.

If you are different from your competitor; if you truly have a unique value to offer consumers, you must first be able to articulate it. Only then will you be able to correctly brief the content writer on the task they have at hand.

Understand the difference between good and bad content (Not everything on the internet is true)

You need to have a reference point for the way your product story should unfold in the marketplace. This could be a website you like. It need not necessarily be a competitor’s website.

To judge any piece of good writing, you must be observant and diligent about the power of language and the techniques writers employ to work on the psychology of readers. Without this knowledge you will not be able to know good writing from bad. It's not wise to go by present day sentiments when it comes to assessing good from bad, as they are short-lived. The only way to develop the ability to judge good writing is to read books.

Look for originality in the writing

Ask the candidate for a few written samples. Hire writers who make reading easy and interesting. Mostly content on the web is rehashed. But if you keep a keen eye and mind, you will be able to find originality. Originality must not be confused with brash, baseless and trying-too-hard funkiness in the name of creativity. Also avoid applicants with half-understanding of the dynamics of language.

The writer must have an appetite for research

The quality of a piece depends on the quantity of background research. Research is not just pouring out a lot of information, that would be considered drab and information overload. It is about being interesting, having the ability to initiate, hold, or join in on interesting conversations. It is about being observant of the reality around you objectively. Look for someone has an interesting personality, enthusiasm to explore, learn and fearless to ask the pertinent questions.

We've come to a juncture where un-researched, rehashed and sensational content form and drive opinions. If you do not wish to participate in the chaos, hire your content writer with utmost caution and care.