You’ve hired a freelance writer to write your blogs or online content, congratulations!
The most common question that I receive from new clients is, “What do you need from me to get started?” This may be one of your first questions as well.
The basic information that a freelance writer needs from you before they begin an online writing project is:
- Examples: If you have examples of your own writing, or of the writing style that you prefer, provide the freelance writer with links to the copy.
- Competition or Competing Articles: Who and what are you competing against?
Provide links to copy that you are competing against. If similar posts are not available (note: a good writer never plagiarizes, besides that, it is illegal), provide links to the businesses or entities you are competing against.
- Keywords: What are the keywords? These are the words your freelance writer will include in the piece for SEO (search engine optimization).
Long-tail keywords include three or more words, such as, “Flowered jeans with lasting color,” which should be included in your blogs or copy only once or twice. Long-tail keywords get much less traffic than short keywords, such as “flowered jeans,” or “colorful jeans.” Include exact short keywords no more than five times in a standard blog post.
- Audience: Who is the target audience? Audiences typically consist of a specific group of people who will benefit from your content.
- Tone: Describe your tone as professional, serious, authoritative, humorous, friendly, kind, etc.
To determine the tone of your copy, ask yourself what is the focus? The focus may be to highlight your authority, or the focus may be to provide information, to uplift the reader, or to provide instructional how-to assistance. Ask yourself, who are you teaching and what is the purpose of your content?
- Length: Number of words (length) of the post.
Blog post length has been a hotly debated this past decade.
We (writers) went from hearing that we must post blogs with over 1,000 words for readership traction. We were later told that today’s readers steer away from long posts (over 500 words). Finally, with a length of 750 words, the experts say we might generate an influx of comments. There is no set standard for blog length.
Today, if you are writing a post that has required a great amount of research, such as an informative post, you’ll want the length to be no shorter than 1,000 to 1,500 words to create sharing power.
If your goal is search engine ranking, consider opting for no less than 2,450 words.
Disclaimer (with humor), all the above blog length advice may change tomorrow. Just know…it will morph.
Needed by Date
Only you know the date you need the online piece completed. Just remember, you must allow time for proofreading, editing, formatting, and uploading before the needed-by publish date.
Proofreading and Editing
The best writers in the market still require proofreading. Remember, writers don’t always see their own mistakes. Another integral part of proofreading and editing is to ensure your freelance writer keeps to the style of your content.
The final proofreading/editing must include looking for forbidden words, topics, or references. Make sure your freelance writer knows your requirements before they begin writing for you, but also ensure your editor (or editing team) are aware of these stipulations as well.
Uploading and Formatting
Who will upload posts to your blog or website? Who will insert meta tags and other SEO information? Freelance writers often include uploading and formatting in their services.
Who is responsible for finding and inserting images into your copy?
The process of instructing the online freelance writer that you just hired may seem like a lot of work but remember, the more that they write for you, the fewer directives they will need.
Tip: Create a template that outlines some of your standard copy/blog information (competing against/competition, keywords, audience, tone, and length). This will help save time when you create new writing projects.
Best wishes in the online publishing world!