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Hiring a Professional Content Strategist Who Can Make a Difference

    You think you’ve done everything right. You set up a website for your business, branded yourself well and consistently, established social media profiles on every major platform, hired a professional writer to create compelling content for your blog, and, most importantly, you have a useful product or service that you consistently deliver with sterling results. You know taking your business online was not only wise but imperative, so now you just have to sit back and await your positive, profitable results. Instead, crickets. You hear nothing. No leads. No inquiries. No webpage visits. Nothing.

    What Went Wrong?

    Unfortunately, this happens all too often. Business owners know that the only way to remain relevant in today’s internet-oriented world is to be online, but they don’t necessarily know how to go about being not just present, but highly visible. This often leads them to hire professionals to help them. In theory, this is a very good idea. After all, you would not attempt brain surgery without training because it would end in disaster!

    Similarly, attempting to build an attractive, effective website, promote it using a variety of content strategies, and/or effectively manage social media are not skills that come naturally to everyone. In fact, in most cases, attempting to do all of this yourself will not only begin to eat into your other business-related activities but also result in an “unfriendly” website that does not welcome users or convert leads, lots of wasted time spent on social media, and blog posts and other strategic content that could actually make search engines remove you from search results completely – no matter how good the content. In short, attempting to go online on your own if you are not already skilled in these areas is a disaster waiting to happen.

    Sadly, hiring the wrong professionals is just as big a problem as trying to do it all yourself, however. Even worse, the biggest pitfall often lies with the most sought-after and verifiable professional: your pro writer and content strategist.

    The Big Mistake “Content Strategists” Make

    A lot of marketers refer to content strategists who also have experience in a specific field, such as real estate or health food supplements, for example, as “unicorns.” These marketers mistakenly believe that a professional writer who also is intimately familiar with a specific topic is essentially a failsafe way to get good content online. Unfortunately, these writers usually come with a fatal flaw: They may not have experience in persuasive composition.

    Persuasive composition or persuasive writing is the art of “selling” the reader on continuing to read. It is an imperative facet of online content, where readers are constantly presented with other easily clickable options that enable them to flit away from your content. A truly effective content strategist must not only present compelling, valuable content to your readers; they must also constantly convince them (without making it obvious) to read the next sentence. In this way, good educational content tends to resemble extremely persuasive, long-form sales copy. But if it readslike that sales copy, you’re done for. It’s a fine, fine line!

    How to Identify an Effective Content Strategist for Your Business

    Now that we’ve dashed your hopes for every having a really effective content strategy that will generate massive volumes of leads for your business and send you spiraling into profitability, growth, and prosperity, we have a little bit of hope for you and your content strategy. While effective content strategists can be difficult to identify – and, furthermore, what works for one business may not work for another – they can be found.

    Here are three questions your content strategist should be able to answer in very specific ways that will provide a red or green light for hiring:

    1. Why are we writing all this content?

      Answer: “Let’s make sure our goals are the same. What result do you want from this content?”
      If they tell you “education” or “sales” or anything else unless you specifically told them these things earlier in the interview, be aware that their writing may take precedence over your

    2. Why will readers care about what we’re providing for them?

      This answer will vary, but it must be concise. Even if you do not place a “Why Should I Care” statement at the top of each blog post or article – and some experts recommend doing so – then your writer must still have a very clear idea of what will motivate your readers to keep reading.

    3. Please give me a specific example of an article you will write.

      Again, this answer will vary depending on industry, but your writer must be able to generate specific ideas and explain how they fit in with the why and why-should-I-care facets of your content marketing strategy in a way that is concise and makes sense.

    Timing is Everything

    When it comes to generating good, effective content for your blog or website, your content strategist and professional writer (if you’re fortunate, they’ll be one and the same) must be willing to keep an eye on the events in your industry. While you should certainly send them information on topics that you find relevant for your audience, they should also be willing to monitor the market on their own. If they believe that simply writing content that theywant to read is sufficient, then you have inadvertently hired a content marketer who is selling you to themselves instead of to your target audience.