5 ways to recognise a good... web writer
- Good writers write - this seems like a no-brainer but you'd be surprised at the number of people who claim to write online for a living, but you can't find examples of their work on the web. When you're looking for a web writer in particular, their writing should be relatively easy to find online. Articles on Medium, LinkedIn, their own blogs, company blogs. Web writers write online - and if you can't find a trace of them on the internet, there're are some questions worth asking about that.
- Good writers care about their words - use words incorrectly and a good writer will correct you. In your initial meeting with your potential writer, say something like "The less people in a room the better," and see if they correct you. Bad grammar is like fingers down a chalk-board for a person who cares about their words and you want a good writer who cares.
- Good writers can work in a team - not all writers can work in a team, but those who can are like gold. Other signs you're speaking with a collaborative web writer includes:
- their experience with sharing software like Google Docs and Wiki
- stories about pitching-in and helping other members of their team
- generosity in peer-reviews
- continued productivity in a cross-functional office without whining about background noise
- Good writers are self-directed - working with an Agile mindset means we are responsible for the work we promise to do. Experienced freelance writers know how to get to delivery without having their time and work managed for them. Not being a self directed writer is a big time sink on a project so watch out for those who can't fend for themselves and take appropriate action.
- Good writers can write the rainbow - can your writer blog? can they write instructions? can they transcribe video? are they able to write engaging headlines? edit to character counts? change tone depending on context? Writers who can bend and flex while churning out great copy regardless of theme or context or deadlines or environment stand the test of time and get regular repeat gigs. If yours can't - start looking for another one.
BONUS TIP: If you've hired a freelance writer and find their writing isn't quite as good as they told you it was going to be; if you hire a freelance writer and their work ethic doesn't gel with the rest of the group; if you hire a freelance writer and they distort the truth of their output; end that contract. It is better to have an empty chair until you find the right writer for your project than it is to lose sleep and productivity over the wrong scribe for the job because you'll be mopping up their mess for months if you don't.