5 Signs you Hired the Wrong Writer for your Content

Has this ever happened to you? You wait all week for the content you ordered from a freelance writer, watching your Inbox and ready to post the fresh content to your site or blog. Finally, the material arrives. You open it and…

• “What is this – it has nothing to do with what I asked for!”
• “This is awful, incomprehensible writing, my third grader could do better”
• “OMG, this totally failed Copyscape, it’s a direct copy from Wikipedia!”

What did I just read?

Sadly, the above scenarios can and do happen every day I get asked all the time — how do you hire an excellent freelance writer? A lousy freelancer can cost you big in terms of both cash and wasted time, so choosing right at the start is essential. Here are some signs of a weak freelance writer — spot these red flags and you’ll avoid wasting time and money on your next project:

5 Warning Signs of a Bad Freelancer

1. They offer unbelievable (and unrealistic) rates: Sure, you love a bargain—who doesn’t? But before you hire the “Wal-Mart” of the freelance world, take a minute and think about why their rates are so low – and what those low rates say about their commitment and professionalism.

Consider this scenario:

Writer #1 charges regular industry rates. She’ll take the time to research your piece, write it out, edit it and make sure it is perfect before she sends it to you. Why? Because her time is valuable and she’s charging a rate that allows her to dedicate enough time to craft you something special.

Writer #2 offers an unbelievable bargain – much less than writer #1 – and lower than anyone else you’ve seen. To earn money, Writer #2 needs to work as quickly as possible, churning out content, getting paid and then moving on to the next piece. She doesn’t have time for much research, hopes the content will be “good enough” and may even need to take some shortcuts to get the job done quickly.

Which writer do you want to represent your name, product and service online?


2. You don’t like his samples: Writers usually submit the best clips they have for review. Don’t just skim these pieces, read them out loud. Don’t like what you hear or they totally miss the mark? Hire someone else!

3. She is an article farmer: Article farming is one of the dirty little secrets of content writing – sweatshops made up of struggling, desperate beginners and writers from developing nations.

Here’s how it works: A farmer will approach a client with a well-crafted proposal and secure the job, usually at slightly lower than industry rates. The farmer will then turn around and outsource the work to writers they pay very low rates to –.50 to $1.00 per 500 word page is typical.

The farmer edits the work a bit and then passes it off as his own, pocketing the difference in pay. Some of the biggest providers on huge freelance sites like Upwork are farmers, and sweatshop ethics aside, you will be better off paying for quality writing from an individual that you can actually build a relationship with.

Over time, a writer will learn your preferences, gain in-depth knowledge about your brand and even help you craft a compelling strategy your prospects won’t be able to resist. If you are looking for quality content that performs for your brand, expect to pay at least $150 for that 500 word piece.

4. He’s an expert — on everything: Writers can be skilled in many different areas; most freelancers can write about a variety of topics and provide different types of work. The red flag to watch out for is the writer who is an expert in every topic you suggest. Not sure if you’re talking to a pro? Ask a few more questions or request previously published samples in your niche area to be sure the claims are not exaggerated.


5. She asks no questions: You may be one of the few clients that provides freelancers with every bit of information about a particular piece – if you are, Bravo (or Brava!) to you, you’re awesome! If you’re like the rest of us, though expect a good freelancer to ask you some questions. He’ll need to know the main goal of the piece, who the target reader or prospect is, what keywords should be incorporated, the ideal length, and more.

We need this stuff to do a great job with your content!

No questions? Either your potential freelancer is a mind reader or she’s not really doing her homework.

Look for these red flags and you’ll spend less time wading through applications and portfolios and more time actually working on your business. Want to streamline the process? Start with someone with experience, schedule a discovery call to be sure you’re on the same page and ask for clips and references.

Free November Marketing Calendar is Here!

Struggling to figure out what to write about as the temperature drops and the days draw shorter? As we near Thanksgiving, the focus shifts to the holidays, but you can write only so many turkey, family and holiday themed posts before you get bored.

And so do your readers.

I created a November Marketing Calendar to help you figure out what to write about and let you know what’s hot and highly searchable this month. In addition to “Thanksgiving” posts, gift guides, “Movember” and party planning are all top search terms; fulfill one or more of these to attract attention to your blog.
Click Here for Free November Marketing Calendar

Other highlights this month include Cyber Monday, which is rapidly catching up to Black Friday in revenues for sellers. This month also includes Veteran’s Day, a chance to recognize those who serve the nation and Giving Tuesday, an ideal time for Non-Profits to shine.

As always, if you need help with content or social media, I’m here for you!

Let’s chat soon!


Ready to Grow your Business in a Hurry? These Growth Hacking Techniques Can Help!

When you’ve covered all the basics for your launch and are ready to focus on building your audience and attracting prospects, growth hacking can help. By focusing solely on growth, you can propel your brand forward in a surprisingly short period of time and ensure you rapidly reach your forecasted goals.

What is Growth Hacking, Anyway?

Growth hacking is a form of hyper-focused marketing that provides rapid results for a company or brand. By focusing all efforts solely on growth, the growth hacker can achieve swift results. When your brand is in a constant state of growth, you’re scaling rapidly, adding followers in massive numbers and everything you do – every tactic, strategy, effort and piece of content has one goal, growing your business.

Does growth hacking replace traditional marketing?

No. Growth hacking is a facet of marketing and refers to a specific approach with one singular goal in mind. Growth hacking methods can be employed at any time, but are often used during startup, product launches, rebranding or when a company needs rapid growth to survive. During this time, automated traditional marketing methods may continue, but all other resources are focused on one common goal – -intense growth.

But, hackers, though – aren’t they the bad guys?

“Hacker” has a few different meanings:

  • The guy that hacks your cable and steals your HBO – not cool.
  • The group that phishes your business and holds your data for ransom – really not cool
  • Someone who is clever and inventive and uses any available resources to achieve a goal, even if they deploy those assets in unusual ways – very cool.

A growth hacker uses any and all available resources to focus on building a following and brand; innovation, problem-solving, creativity and original ideas are the hallmarks of this type of hacker and the type of entrepreneur that is primed for rapid success.

What do I need to become a growth hacker?

Successful growth hackers share some essential characteristics – creativity, curiosity and amazing focus are at the heart of all we do. According to TechCrunch, most successful growth hackers have insatiable curiosity about how stuff works, how other brands succeeded and what makes a brand successful.

Be curious, be creative, be adventurous and take risks – and your business will grow.

 Growth Hacking Strategies for your Own Brand or Business

Growth hacking needs three primary points of information to be successful:

    • You need to know who your customer is. Who will buy your product? Is a luxury for them or a necessity?
    • You need to know where they are. Geographically, physically and online, where are they? If you want them to find, follow and purchase from you, your efforts need to be targeted and tailored to match not only their needs but positioned properly as well.
    • What content resonates with them? Do they want a steady stream of visuals – video, infographics, images and more, or do they want whitepapers, case studies and technical details? Do they need to be informed, educated, entertained or engaged? Does humor resonate with them or is it a waste of time to incorporate clever memes, word play and outright funny content?

Once you know who you are aiming for, these techniques will help you streamline your efforts and make the most of your budget.

Effective Growth Hacking Techniques (That Don’t Cost Much)

No matter how fantastic your products, services and content are, it won’t do your business much good unless you can grow your audience. Organic growth takes time, but turning to some key growth hacking strategies can help you speed things up and see the fast-paced growth you need for your brand. Your competitors are likely using some of these methods to supercharge their growth right now; the best way to catch up – or gain an edge – is to focus on a few growth hacking strategies designed to help you grow in a hurry.

Optimize your site:

It isn’t fun, glamorous or anything exciting – but if your site isn’t ready, you won’t get the growth you want. SEO, branding and your user experience all need to be 100% ready for visitors before you start any growth hacking efforts. Even your loading speed matters; a delay of a single second can make the difference between a new conversion and a bounced visit, according to Kissmetrics.

Make users wait too long for your pages to load and they may not stick around!

Ideally, pages should load in two seconds or less; any longer and you could be driving precious traffic away from your site.

Provide Social Proof

You need social proof – and a lot of it – when you want to grow. Any available spot should showcase user content, real testimonials, review streams and more. People need to see others using, interacting with and winning with y our brand to be willing to give you a try. Seeing others who love your brand, and who have successfully interacted with you reassures your new customers and subscribers and helps you grow your brand in a hurry.

Customer statistics, from the number of visitors you have to your Twitter followers and even email subscribers, can all showcase how much people love your brand and provide visitors with real proof of just how effective you are.

Onboarding Matters

What happens when someone makes a purchase or joins your list? Do you have an automated email campaign ready to welcome them, and are you focused on winning their business permanently?

Your New User Experience (NUX) will have a direct impact on the quality of these new arrivals and how well you grow your brand. A new user will need more guidance and help; having a process in place that welcomes them, walks them through and lets them know what to expect will help you make the most of this time period.

Viral Growth Loops

Anything with “viral” in the name is good news for marketers, and this method simply uses your existing happy customers to grow your brand. If each of your customers shares what you do with one other prospect, you could double your list. The key here is offering them something worthy of a share. It either needs to be content that is so funny, amazing or relevant that they can’t resist – or it needs to be a promo that benefits both users.

Hit on a viral growth loop with your customers and you’ll see rapid, extreme growth seemingly overnight. Determining what your customer responds to can help you craft a compelling offer or piece they’ll want to share again and again, and lead to the growth you are craving.


Guest Post on Other Sites


Position your brand as an authority by guest posting. You won’t get paid, but a well-crafted piece of content could land on a high-ranking site and generate plenty of traffic for your own website. Choose your topics and partners with care and guest posting can drive traffic to help you grow today and position you as an expert in your field. This type of branding and awareness can help you for years to come.

Create an Amazing Opt-in Offer

What happens when people do visit your site? Unless you have a way to capture their emails, they could bounce away before you can connect with them. Creating an irresistible offer for your email opt-in can help encourage these visitors to hand over their own contact details before leaving – allowing you to direct them into your sales funnel and making it possible for you to follow up.

Your opt-in needs to be relevant to what you do and valuable enough to get your visitors to sign up for it. Taking the time to create a piece that visitors want can help you grow your email list – which in turn will help you grow your business.

Employ Email Marketing

Inexpensive and effective email marketing makes it easy to connect with your subscribers and ensure they are aware of your offerings, products and services. An automated welcome email is a good start; you can also email your newsletter, relevant industry information and other things that would be of interest. Simple automation tools can help you connect and spread the word about your brand in a variety of ways.

Simply focusing your efforts on growth can yield surprising results in a short amount of time. When all your efforts are focused on one thing – growing your brand – you’ll be able to add followers in a variety of ways. From optimizing your site to creating compelling content, these techniques will help you make the most of your brand and your growth hacking efforts.

There are many ways to gauge and measure your success when it comes to your growth hacking efforts. Knowing the action, you want users to take, being able to state with precision where you are now and then measuring the outcome can give you the best idea of how well your efforts are performing.