How To Find And Manage Content Writers for Your Niche Website [The Definitive Guide]
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How To Find And Manage Content Writers for Your Niche Website [The Definitive Guide]


Niche websites, lots of traffic, heavy commissions, ad clicks and passive income.

That’s the dream, right?

If you’ve been chasing it, I don’t blame you.

Who doesn’t like partying in luxury beach resorts with dozens of other millionaire marketers who’ve made it big and broken free from 9 to 5 slavery? (You know, the ones who send you their party pictures all the time)

It looks so tempting, so easy and so much fun.

But there’s one really boring piece of this puzzle without which you can’t accomplish anything.

It’s the life-blood of any niche website and the biggest roadblock for most wannabe niche marketers.

Content creation – you guessed it right!

To build successful niche websites that generate reliable passive income, you need to create high-quality content regularly (LOTS of it).

In most cases, you can’t do it all alone and, at some stage, you’ll need to hire content writers to help you

And that’s where it gets tricky.

If you hire the top bloggers and writers, the content will be great but you’ll need to pay them big bucks.

On the other hand, you can source cheap content from content mills, agencies or non-native freelancers but the quality won’t be great. In fact, there’s no guarantee the content would be unique.

Like this member of NicheHacks Private Mastermind found out.

content1

So how exactly can you strike the right balance and find writers who can produce good quality content at affordable rates?

By the time you reach the end of this post, you’ll have a clear answer to this burning question.

What You’ll Learn in this Post

  • The key traits of  a good content writer
  • A simple technique to reduce content costs by intelligent categorization
  • A smart way to get niche enthusiasts to create content for you
  • A hugely persuasive pricing model that every writer would gladly accept
  • How a small value addition can help you hire talented writers for cheap rates

(P.S. If you’d like to download a free checklist of 31 blog traffic secrets click here or the image below)

russ henneberry“The success of your site depends upon you finding the most competent and influential writers in your industry” – Russ Henneberry (Digital Marketer)

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Look for These Things When Hiring a Niche Content Writer

We all have our favorite bloggers and writers, right?

The ones we can read all day without blinking an eye. I remember once going through a 10,000-word post by one of my favorite bloggers without even noticing it.

You need such writers on your team.

Why?

Because you don’t need content just to fill empty spaces.

You need it to attract, engage and convert the right traffic into buyers and subscribers.

A study by Slate revealed that more than 50% of people never read an article till the end, let alone take action.

This is a histogram showing how far people scroll through Slate article pages. Each bar represents the share of people who stopped scrolling at a particular spot in the article. (An article is assumed to be around 2000 pixels long; if the top of your browser window gets to the 2000-pixel mark, you're counted as scrolling 100 percent through the article. The X axis goes to 120 percent because on most pages, there's usually stuff below the 2000-pixel mark, like the comments section.) This graph only includes people who spent any time engaging with the page at all--users who "bounced" from the page immediately after landing on it are not represented. The graph shows that many Slate readers do not scroll at all. That's the spike at the 0 percent mark, representing about 5 percent of readers. Most visitors scroll about halfway through a typical Slate story. The spike near the end is an anomaly caused by pages containing photos and videos -- on those pages, people scroll through the whole page.

While there are several reasons for this, boring content is one of them.

And this is where high-quality and engaging content makes the difference.

All writers are different from each other, but the good ones usually have the following qualities

  • They write flawless content

Because typos and grammatical mistakes are the last things you need from a writer.

  • They write in a conversational tone

No one likes reading boring essays or instruction manual type articles.

Blog content needs to be written in an engaging and conversational tone that talks directly to the reader.

  • They create ‘scanable’ content

Lots of subheadings, short paragraphs and intelligent use of bolds and italics.

Content that’s easy on the eye and can be scanned quickly is much easier to read.

You don’t want articles with walls of content because that immediately turns off readers.

  • They solve problems

People read content to find solutions to their problems.

They might be looking for the best wedding dresses in winters or the ideal shoes for a hiking trip.

Your content needs to solve their problem in clear terms. Good writers do that all the time.

  • They know how to generate traffic

You don’t want to hire writers who just write for you.

You want people with active social media profiles, a solid understanding of content promotion and a knack of generating traffic to their content.

This can make a huge difference.

  • They’re great at research

You know, the ones who can find references for every argument they make and dig out data from boring studies and lengthy PDFs.

Well-researched articles with lots of numbers, data references and real-world examples convince people to take action much more easily.

How To Write The Perfect Job Description

Typically, a listing for a freelance blogger or content writer looks like this:

upwork

While there’s nothing inherently “wrong” with this job description

Almost any freelance writer on the face of the planet could read this description and think it’s for them.

Often, we try to appeal to a lot of people to make sure we keep our options open…

But on a platform like UpWork, it will only inundate you with more responses than you know what to do with.

Upwork is filled with low-quality writers so strong filters are needed as shared below

So it’s better to get more specific.

As we go through this tutorial, I’ll use this description.

You’ll see me re-write it into something way more effective that’d deflect some applicants

Weed out the ones that aren’t any good, and definitely attract the cream of the crop to apply to work with you.

So let’s move on to the first thing you have to get 100% right…

The Title – You Need To Get This 100% Spot On

Just because the title of our example job description is long and spelled out, doesn’t mean it’s not incredibly generic.

“Looking for long term blogger, social media assistant, and marketing copywriter”

With a title like this, you’ll attract a ton of the wrong people.

Anyone who’s ever done anything remotely related to one of those three things is going to think they’re qualified for the job. 

And really, nothing could be farther from the truth.

By reading the job description, I see one line that tells me it’s to work with educational entities: schools, universities, and teachers.

Based on that, you’d only want people with experience in that niche.

Everyone else wouldn’t know what they’re talking about, which equates to generic, boring content.

So you could say:

I chose to highlight “blogger,” because, from the description, it looks like that would be the bulk of the job.

(And honestly, a good blogger would be able to handle writing social media and marketing content.)

Do you see how that change suddenly takes this from a “generic” listing to a highly specific one that more experienced and talented freelance writers would want to apply to?

The Job Description – You Win Or Lose The Game Here

After people click through on your title to read more details about the job, you either win or lose the entire “game” of getting decent writers to apply with what your description says.

As a professional copywriter myself, the biggest flaw I see here is that the end goal of the blog posts and social media marketing isn’t spelled out for the writer.

How will they know if their work is successful or not?

Do they want someone to work on the site content because they want to generate more new student inquiries?

Or do they feel like their site converts well enough, but they want to focus on SEO blog content so they can get more traffic to enter their conversion funnel?

That’s what needs to be spelled out first.

And rather than feeling overwhelmed by the responsibility, good writers will appreciate knowing what standard they’ll be held to, and will even use that information to give you an example of how they’ve done something similar for a previous client.

For that, you could write something like:

Do you see how that’s much more specific and gets right down to business?

Next, you’ll want to qualify the readers by spelling out the characteristics of your most ideal freelance writer.

How many years of experience does he have as a writer and in your specific industry?

What types of blogs and publications has he already written for?

You’ll also want to ask for some links—either to individual pieces of work or a portfolio—to make sure his writing style is up to scratch with what you’re looking for.

If you notice, in the example, the “mundane” job requirements come first.

You still want to list these, but when you say you want 1-2 blog posts per week, most writers—whether they’re a good fit for you or not—will start to think “Yeah, I can do that”

And will skim over everything else, effectively disregarding it.

But when you put these details after pieces of information that will make some writers realize the position is not for them…

…you’ll cut down on the number of unqualified writers sending in applications… which will be a big headache-saver.

So for this, we can more or less write what’s already written in the original job description.

A ‘Magical’ Filter to Get Rid of Horrible Writers

But beyond just trying to prevent people from applying, there is one way you can automatically get rid of a lot of unqualified writers, without even reading through their applications.

And that’s by writing in some requirements—scattered randomly throughout the job description—of wording or phrases they must include in their response, and where to put them.

For example: in the subject line.

For this particular job listing, you could give this instruction:

This works wonders.

Another trick—and one you can have a lot of fun with—is requiring an additional line of text to appear somewhere within their application message.

For example:

Applicants who don’t follow these instructions get moved to the trash immediately.

And this, more than anything else, will make your hiring process a lot easier and more time-efficient.

The number of wannabe writers mass-applying to various writing jobs is astounding, so this is the best way to weed them out.

Include Requirements Applicants Must Include

But, just because someone can follow instructions doesn’t necessarily mean they’ll be a good match.

You still want to make sure they can carry their weight as a part of your team.

So you need to check out their previous writing. (And maybe even their resume if you need someone with a good bit of niche experience.)

So at the end of your job description, list out requirements that they’ve got to include as a part of their application for you to verify whether or not their writing talent is up to your standards.

Or fits in your budget.

Write something like this:

Put it All Together

When you put it all together, it’ll look something like this:

It’s a bit longer than the original job posting we started out with, but notice how much more specific and upscale it is?

And just to give you another example, here’s a good job description I found on UpWork:

See how SPECIFIC they get with the results they want and the responsibilities? (The list goes on, but it was too much to capture in one screenshot.) You can view the full listing while it lasts here.

7 Ways To Find Your Ideal Content Writers

So, where do you start looking for such writers?

There are literally hundreds of websites and platforms where you can find writers.

But you don’t want to do that because you’re looking for specialized writers who understand your niche and can meet your quality requirements.

So instead of looking all over the web, focus on these methods to find your ideal writer.

1. Begin Your Search from Competitor Blogs

No matter how unique your niche is, there must be other blogs already doing what you’re planning to do.

You can find your main competitors either by searching your primary keywords on Google, or by searching your URL on SEMRush.

For example, this is what I found when I searched NicheHacks on SEMRush

nichehackscompetitors

So before looking anywhere else, find the best writers on competing blogs.

They’re already familiar with your niche and know what to write about.

They’re mostly freelancers writing for a specific fee.

Contact them from the links in their author bio and offer them work.

As a freelance contributor to dozens of blogs myself, I get approached by website owners regularly through my byline on other blogs.

authorbio

This approach usually works well if you’re researching authority websites, since most of them feature authors with their bylines.

However, many niche sites hire ghostwriters, so this approach won’t really work there.

But don’t worry, we can still find your ideal writer.

2. Look for Writers on Popular Freelance Portals

Freelance portals like Upwork, Freelancer, Fiverr and many others, give you access to a seemingly never-ending pool of freelance writers.

However, since there’s literally no entry barrier for freelancers on these sites, every job requirement is usually bombarded with dozens of applications from crappy writers or agencies that outsource content to even cheaper writers.

upwork

But in between, you can find rare gems like this writer who made more than 6 figures writing for high profile clients on Elance (now Upwork).

upwork12

To find them, you need to do two things

  • Create a Detailed Job Description

When you post your job requirement on these sites, be as detailed as possible.

Describe even minor requirements and use reference articles to give writers a clear idea of what you’re looking for.

For example, I found this job post on Upwork by NicheHacks Private Mastermind member Al-Amin (Marketever)

How-to-Hire-a-Freelance-Content-Writer

It’s a pretty detailed job description that gives the applicants a fair idea of your requirements.

I would probably add a couple of article links from competitors or my previous sites for benchmarking.

  • Only Hire Writers Who’ve Cleared Relevant Tests

All freelancing portals allow freelancers to take different skill tests to differentiate themselves from the crowd.

If you’re looking for quality writing talent on these platforms, only hire writers who’ve cleared writing and language-related tests.

Here’s a snapshot from the Upwork profile of a freelance writer.

upworktests

  • Ask Applicants to Share Previously Published Work

This is one of the easiest ways to filter through crappy writers and find the ones that meet your quality requirements.

A word of caution

Although there are good writers on Upwork and other freelance portals, I’d recommend using them only for sourcing articles that can be written with a little guidance and editing.

Most writers on these platforms write dozens of articles every day to make ends meet since they charge so little money.

So don’t expect high-quality stuff.

bryan harris“Writing is easy. Just pick up a pencil and start putting words on paper. But writing stuff that people actually want to read? That’s hard.” – Bryan Harris (Video Fruit)

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3. Source Really Cheap Articles from Content Mills

If quality is not the first thing on your mind, then content mills like iWriter, Textbroker, TextBoss, Keyboard Warriors etc. can help you source lots of really cheap articles in a very short time.

iwriter

All of them claim to offer unique and high-quality content, but that rarely happens.

So when you get content produced from their writers, search for it on Google just to make sure it doesn’t already exist.

Some of these sites give you author ratings as well to give you an idea about their quality.

To find the best writers, you’ll need to adopt a similar approach to freelancing portals and provide detailed requirements coupled with tight screening.

I’d personally never recommend using them unless you’re short on budget or prepared to edit the articles yourself.

4. Target University Students to Get Cheap Content

University and college students love to make some extra money on the side because they’re always short on cash.

I remember working on several writing projects for pennies when I was in college.

These are qualified people with good language skills looking for a quick buck – if you’re looking for cheap content, it doesn’t get better than this.

So how do you find them?

  • Search for Students on LinkedIn

There are thousands of students on LinkedIn that you can find with a few searches. In this snapshot, I simply searched the word “student” on LinkedIn and filtered the results for USA only.

student linkedin

Contact these students from their profiles and offer them a quick job.

In my experience, few would decline.

  • Contact University Professors

Many universities teach creative writing and communication as a subject.

Find them using Google search, and contact relevant faculty members with your requirement.

Mitchell Wright of Lean Marketing actually did this with a lot of success.

Here’s the email he sent to college professors.

college students writers

Most of them forwarded the email to their students with Mitchell’s contact details.

As a result, he got several well-qualified writers at really cheap rates.

5. Use Reputable Job Boards to Find the Best Writers

You’ve heard of Problogger Jobs, right?

It’s one of the best places to find high-quality writers.

When I started my writing career it was my go-to source for regular clients.

In fact, Stuart hired me from Problogger in 2014 (long time, I know).

nicheahcskproblogger

You can post your job requirement on Problogger for 30 days in $50.

You could also post jobs on Craigslist and expect hundreds of responses.

Reddit also has a huge “for hire” thread where you can find awesome writers.

redditjobs

Post your requirements here or scroll a little down the list and you’ll find dozens of writers offering services.

However, writers from these job boards usually charge higher rates (because they offer higher quality).

spencer haws“Your goal should always be to get your writers to a place in which all you have to do is send them a list of keywords.” – Spencer Haws (NichePursuits)

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6. Search Social Media Groups and Forums for Niche Enthusiasts

My grandma was so passionate about gardening and knew more about plants and flowers than most people. For a gardening blog, she would’ve been the perfect writer.

You can find such passionate people in EVERY niche.

But the best places to find them are social media groups, niche specific forums and Q/A sites like Quora.

Search these platforms for discussions related to your niche.

You’ll find dozens of niche enthusiasts who’re not only knowledgeable about your industry but can also write really well.

And here’s the best part.

They’re not even professional writers so they don’t demand the kind of rates that specialist niche writers have.

For example, look at this answer on Quora

hikingboots

He certainly knows his stuff and also writes pretty well.

Why not reach out and make an offer?

Try searching groups related to your niche on Facebook and LinkedIn. Taking the hiking boots example, I searched for related groups on Facebook and found dozens of them

facebook groups1

All these members are potential writers for you.

You just need to identify the active commenters and make them an offer.

7. Ask Your Connections for References

If no other method works for you, just send a quick email or Facebook message to your connections and ask them for help.

For most people, this can be the first step to finding writers.

But I put it at the end because it’s so obvious, I don’t need to tell you this stuff.

NEIL PATEL“A great blogger can write on any topic due to the fact that anything can be researched on the web” – Neil Patel (QuickSprout)

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What’s the Right Price to Pay for Niche Content

$1000 for 1000 words – how about that?

I’m a freelance writer myself so I wouldn’t mind that rate at all.

But seriously, what is the right price to pay for niche content?

There’s no fixed answer (don’t hate me for saying this)

But as a general rule, the more specialized the content is, the higher you’d need to pay.

Simple demand and supply rule.

Source: VideoFruit

But to give you an idea, you can find decent writers offering 1000 word articles for $25 to $50.

It won’t be in-depth, but good enough to get your site going.

Of course, it becomes easier to find high-quality writers when you enter the 7 – 10 cents per word range ($70 to $100 for 1000 words).

From there, the rate gets higher with the complexity of the topic.

I’ve charged clients $1000 for a blog post as well, but you rarely need to spend that much (unless you’re getting amazing business value in return)

Usually, even the highest quality posts, should not cost you more than $250-$300 for 1000 words.

But that’s still pretty high for most niche site owners.

You want more insights on pricing?

Read this thread from NicheHacks Private Mastermind.

content rate1

Categorize Your Content Needs for Better Cost Management

If you’re taking a long-term approach to niche marketing and aim to build your blog as a niche authority (which you should), be prepared to spend a significant portion of your budget on content.

However, you can optimize your expenses by hiring different writers for different types of posts.

Not all content is equal in terms of results and ROI.

Blogs that use affiliate marketing as their primary monetization mode publish several types of content, for example

  • Product reviews
  • Comparison posts
  • Informational posts
  • Long-form Pillar content
  • Sales page content
  • List posts
  • Tutorials

Each of these content types has a separate objective.

For example, most affiliate marketing blogs generate the highest sales from product reviews, product comparison posts and How-To tutorial posts.

So you’ll need writers with deeper knowledge of your niche and better writing skills.

Other post types such as list posts, link or expert round-ups, and general information posts are used to engage readers and keep them coming back to your site.

They also help you rank for specific keywords in Google search.

You don’t need specialists to write such posts for you.

Writers with normal writing skills can do this with a little guidance and editing.

Hiring writers for specific content types helps you manage your costs much better and gives you a good balance of quality and quantity.

How To Get High-Quality Content on a Budget

You’ve read this far, so I’m assuming I’ve done a decent job convincing you.

But what if your budget isn’t big enough?

How do you get quality writers in a small budget?

Honestly, it’s hard to find good writers at cheap rates.

But here are a few techniques that’ll make your task a bit easier.

  • Offer Long-Term Contracts and Pay for Bulk Orders to Get Discounts

High-quality writers are never short of work. But who doesn’t like lots of cash coming in at once?

They’re still freelancers trading time for money.

So instead of hiring them for 2-3 articles and paying on completion, offer them 3 – 6 month contracts with quarterly payments in advance.

This becomes a much more attractive offer, even if you’re offering the same rate.

Perrin, the content manager at NichePursuits, calls this his ‘top secret tip’ for hiring good writers at affordable rates.

  • Target New Writers and Grow Them with Your Niche Site

Self-explanatory, isn’t it?

Find young talented writers, and get them on board with a long-term vision.

Offer them exposure to your network, your audience and incentives based on your business growth.

  • Compensate Writers in Other Ways to Create a Win-Win Scenario

Stuart pays the NicheHacks writing team pretty well.

But as an added benefit, we get all of his premium products (101 Digital Affiliate Hacks, 101 Traffic Hacks and others) and several premium tools for free.

Plus, we have an open offer from him to leverage his network whenever we need help in our own businesses.

We even have a Facebook group just for the writing team where we discuss different ideas.

Another client that I work for, regularly offers me free tools and plugins.

These things mean a lot and help you hire and retain good writers.

If you have something additional to offer your writers, do it.

It’ll only help you build a better team.

Are You Any Closer To Finding Your Ideal Writers?

You should be.

And once you find them, make sure you take good care of them because the longer a writer stays with you, the better he gets at understanding your product and creating the right content for you.

So, what are you waiting for?

Try some of the methods I’ve shared in this post and share your thoughts in the comments.

I’ll be waiting for you.

Jawad Khan

June 26, 2017
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