Founder’s Focus: Don’t ‘Throw Darts’ When Seeking Online Writers

Most digital marketing agencies have one or two full-time writers on staff who create various forms of written content – blogs, white papers, landing pages, newsletters, and ad copy, to name a few.

This work is usually spread across multiple subject matters from typically drastically different industries. Not to mention that I know some really great ad writers who are horrible bloggers and vice versa. 

hand pick your writers and train them

I know this from my former years as a staff writer at various agencies.  Some days my work with include blogging about criminal law to creating page content about online gambling to case studies in investing, then top it off by writing about breast milk for a baby blog and copy for Google Ads. 

A single afternoon of this burns you out quickly – especially when you’re dealing with management that’s reactive and didn’t plan writing assignments weeks in advance. The quality of writing also naturally suffers. 

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This prompted me to make some decisions that led to hiring a staff of freelancers. I chose them based on interest and passions – not a resume of various writing work. This also eventually led to the development of ContentMender’s business model that relies on using freelancers for the bulk of the work. 

ContentMender matches writers who are experts or passionate about an industry with a client involved in that industry.

Sure there are a few writers that can do it all – writers I call the “factotum” writers – but they are the proverbial gems that are difficult to find. I have a handful, thankfully, but it took me more than a decade to recruit them after many hits and misses. 

It’s much wiser to find writers who are passionate about a niche or industry. Otherwise, you’re basically throwing a dart into an ocean of writers and agencies and hoping you land on the correct one. 

Most passionate writers haven’t a clue about SEO, so you have to approach things differently. ContentMender does this by offering SEO guidelines for EXACTLY what’s needed. We provide all writers with SEO Content Templates that basically map out what’s needed from an SEO perspective, from the optimized title that derives from an optimized content calendar to related keywords.   

These templates are created by SEO strategists who use the latest and innovative (and quite expensive) tools. The templates not only move the process along from the beginning but also help train writers to think in terms of search. 

These SEO Guideline templates are the first step in our seven-layer editorial process, which includes creating SEO and content strategies, various editing stages, adding on-page SEO elements, and optimal uploading procedures. The writing is one step of seven – but the most important.  

That’s why you need a writer passionate about your industry first, and SEO second. 

What does this equate to in the long term for the business? Money saved and increased online authority. And along the way, you’ll build a stream of content that’s not only high quality due to having a professional writer that’s an expert in your industry, but also content that’s found in search.

Businesses who mix passionate writers with strong SEO get the best of both worlds – a passionate voice(s) that will always surface above those who hire the “cookie-cutter” writers, which are typically the ones who cost a penny per word and are just pumping out content for the sake of pumping out content), and content is optimized for search.

We have clients that have some strong in-house writers. Sure, we’d love to take on the content ourselves and provide a truly passionate writer. But if they have a strong writer in-house, we’ll simply provide the SEO Guidelines and content strategy. 

Of course, there are other factors in regard to technical SEO that is needed for content to stand out. Things like a smooth and fast running platform, simple navigation, and a mobile-friendly site are a must to be ranked high by search engines. People don’t wait for a website to load, and if they can’t read your content on a phone, bye-bye. 

According to Unbounce, pages that load within two seconds have an average bounce rate of 9%, while pages that take five seconds to load have a bounce rate of 38%

When we work with a new client, the first thing we do for free provides an overall website audit with a focus on the technical aspects of a website’s performance. For those with a crappy platform, we recommend a service such as our SEO Refresh to optimize the platform. 

And just as we only focus on the best writers for the industry of the business, we only work with the best technical SEOs. I won’t bring a tech SEO in-house because our focus is creating content that stands out. Instead, I only work with trusted partners who specialize in one thing and one thing only – technical SEO.

And my partners have a team of tech SEOs that can naturally produce better results than one tech SEO within a house of content-forward strategists and writers. 

For most projects, this type of skill is expensive – as are most of my freelance writers. But quality supersedes all, and quality equates to long-term results. I only work with long-term thinkers (both clients and staff!) and don’t guarantee huge results within a few weeks.

That’s horrible, and if an agency or SEO says they can do magic within a few weeks, you’re ROI would be better if you literally gave the money away. 

dont throw darts when seeking an seo content writer contentmender blogDon’t throw darts when seeking a staff writer or agency that has in-house writers and content strategists that do it all. Find the ones who are passionate about your industry, and are equally enthusiastic about your services or products, and get them the SEO guidelines they need.

If you have a question email me at I can help guide you on what qualities to look for within a writer or direct you on how to question your current agency about their writers and or content strategist. 

And if you can’t find what you’re looking for, I can provide the solution. You won’t have overnight success, but give ContentMender a few months, and we’ll prove ROI comes from truly remarkable content that can only be created by content creators and strategists who are passionate about your industry and get it. 

Have a full-time writer? My expert staff will provide the SEO guidelines and content strategies that will help your team achieve the ROI you deserve. 

Don’t throw darts. Don’t waste time. We only have 1440 minutes in a day – make each one count by delivering continuous content that stands out among the competition. 

A note about “Founder’s Focus”: In this weekly column, our Founder/CEO Ron Lieback discusses why we do what we do, from the way we structure our services to the way we train our writers/content strategists to the way we structure our days. His thoughts derive from over two decades of experience as a writer, and a decade building businesses and content marketing strategies.