Thanks to the growing phenomenon of content shock, the buzzing skyscraper technique and with so many businesses producing content these days, there are new standards for your content. A typical blog post should be at least 1200 words if you want it to make an impact on your SEO, brand awareness or inbound marketing leads. Trying to squeeze high quality, relevant content into less than 600 words simply isn’t feasible, since these posts will be outperformed by more in-depth material.
Gone are the days when you could speed-write a quick article off the top of your head, drop in a couple of keywords, and see your blog take off. Nowadays, with so much content out there, only truly educational, entertaining and well-written articles will be seen, shared and have an impact. You might not always have the time or the skillset for this. So how do you find a writer with high-skills for your tech startup blog? This article will guide you through the process step-by-step.
Want to find a writer that fits? Define your target audience first
The first step in finding a great tech writer is to identify what your target audience is. If you’ve already pinpointed your buyer persona this should be simple. On a strategic level, all you need to know is whether you’ll be creating technical content for CTOs, business articles for managers, or informal blogs for a B2C audience.
CTOs & IT Managers
If your content aims to be more like a technical white paper, targeted at experienced IT experts, you’ll need to dig deeper into your budget to secure a suitable writer. This is because you’ll need a writer with a necessary level of technology know-how and specific experience, and these writers are more scarce than the general blogger.
CEOs, Marketing & Sales Managers
Even if you’re a niche AI technology startup, you may not necessarily need a highly experienced writer with an IT background. This is particularly true if your buyer persona are CEOs, sales directors and marketing managers who are more focussed on the business approach than technical intricacies. In fact, when creating content for these audiences, it’s often even better to hire freelancers with low technology experience. This is because they’re able to focus more on how your product or service is useful for businesses, rather than getting caught up in how many Terabytes it can store, how many pixels in display resolution it provides, or how many features it has.
If you are a B2C company that sells to customers and not businesses, your target audience will be more broad. This means your content probably won’t be technical at all, so you can easily use freelance bloggers or your team members to create your content, or even do it yourself. In this case, the costs of content production should be much lower so it’s really not worth it to hire experts and specialists.
What are your options for finding writers?
After identifying your target audience, you’ll need to evaluate which option suits your budget, quality demand and needs best in terms of finding writers for your content. In general, your main options are:
Recruiting a full-time employee to write content is the most expensive option and usually pays off the most if you need to produce tech content in forms beyond the mere blog post. As these guys are not cheap and you’ll be paying them to work round-the-clock, it’s only worth it if you have enough jobs for them to do such as creating white papers, leading email communications such as newsletters, working on web copy, and writing scripts for video marketing campaigns and so on.
Contract an agency
Digital marketing agencies are cheaper than full-time hires, but typically more expensive than freelancers since they offer you a complete package. At Bourbon Creative for example, organisations often ask us to help them with content research, buyer persona identification, content strategy definition and editorial calendar creation. Additionally, for startups that already know exactly what and for which audience they want to write, we also offer several extra perks like preparing content on WordPress, Hubspot or any other blog interface, including images, optimizing it for SEO, and distributing it on social media channels. Even if tech companies want to handle all social media activities themselves, we still provide them with Twitter, Facebook and Linkedin messages, as well as a newsletter teasers so they can share blog articles on all platforms straight away with ease.
Freelancers come in all shapes and forms and that makes them a viable option for almost any kind of writing work. They are a popular choice for many tech startups since young companies typically only want to create between two and four articles per month, which might not justify hiring a full-time writer. The cost range is very broad, but as a rule of thumb you can assume that the more niche the topic and the higher the required level of technology expertise, the more it will cost you to contract a good writer. Obviously, you can also find bloggers who will write content for around 5€, but as with most things in life, you get what you pay for and you might save more time writing the article yourself from scratch rather having to review and edit the work of freelancers.
Do it yourself
Depending on your expertise and writing skills, writing blog articles yourself might be a very cost-effective way of creating content, especially when you’re bootstrapping your startup. As you’ll have the most knowledge about your product and industry you might be able to write more engaging and interesting articles than freelancers.
Of course, if you’ve already raised a sufficient amount of money and think you will get more ROI by allocating your time to business product development, writing all your content yourself might not be the best use of your time. Additionally, you shouldn’t depend on this strategy exclusively. As a founder or cofounder you’re already wearing many hats. So there’s no need to put the whole burden of content creation on your shoulders too. Make sure to have some good freelancers or a trusted marketing agency on hand so you can reach out to them when you’re busy with funding rounds, trade shows and more. After all, blogs perform best when you publish fresh content regularly and continuously.
Let your own team write the content
Similar to the strategy above, you can also save your company a fair amount of money by letting your own team members write content for you. In fact, many companies follow this approach to generate a volume of great articles. For example, let’s say your company is made up of 5 people, if everyone spends 4 hours a month writing a single post or article each, you’ll be able to publish an article every 6 days with basically no added costs. Moreover, you’ll be able to make more diverse content as the blog posts will be written by people from a variety of backgrounds: from your CTO to your marketers, sales reps and more.
Ask friends & family to do you a favour
If the content you’re producing is aimed at a casual audience that isn’t particularly interested in technical texts, your personal network might be a good source and budget-friendly option for producing content. However, that doesn’t mean that you should let your 8-year old nephew write articles for you! Keep in mind the phenomenon of content shock: your contributors must still be great writers. After all, low quality content won’t perform well on Google’s search engines, or on social media. If you’re really desperate, let your friends help you out, but you might need to allocate some hours to reviewing the content and making it “publishable”.
This is certainly an interesting option when you’re bootstrapping and want to get the occasional blog article from a third-party, but guest-blogging isn’t really suited for recurring long-term inbound marketing activities. It takes time and effort to find high-quality bloggers that are willing to create relevant content for your website, so we don’t recommend depending on this strategy exclusively.
For most startups, this strategy might be a slightly ambitious goal, even a pipe-dream. Platforms like the Huffington Post and Quora do receive a lot of free content to publish on their websites, but they’re established brands that attract bloggers. If you’re a young company that can’t offer bloggers anything in return, like exposure, recognition or money, it will be a challenge to get this strategy on its feet.
As you can see, there are so many different options available to you for content writing. There’s no universal answer to finding the perfect content writer for your business: you’ll need to find a solution that fits with your specific objectives and ethos. Depending on who your target audience is and the budget you’re working with, your best bet might be creating content yourself, outsourcing writing to a freelancer or a hiring a full-time employee. If you’re looking for outside help, make sure to sign up to our newsletter to read our next post about ”where to find great writers and how to validate them”, delivered straight to your inbox.
Disclaimer: This article is aimed at tech startups that are somewhere between bootstrapping and global expansion after securing their latest funding round. As a result, it’s focused on medium-length English blog posts that are about technologies such as Virtual Reality, Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning and so on.