10 Tips to Find and Hire a Content Creator
I’ve been making content for over a decade, and the last few years there has been a massive push to the internet with content. Five years ago the streaming services didn’t exist like they do now, and it seems every brand wants content. I went to SEMA in 2018 and attended a few of the education seminars they offered about content, content influencers, and how to manage your business on the internet. One of my biggest takeaways from SEMA 2018 was that people and businesses want organic content to promote their products and businesses. The biggest issue is that they don't know where to find a creator, don't know what to look for, nor what to ask about. I put together 10 tips that will help find a creator for your next opportunity, to know what to ask, and how to utilize the content to maximize your dollars spent.
Tip #1 – Know What You Want Done
The first thing you need to know about content is that is has many forms. Written, audio, video, pictures, memes, and more exist. Before you start looking for someone to generate content, you need to define what you need. If you have a website, you may want long-form articles, pictures, perhaps even video. If you just have social media, you may want to avoid articles and just look for someone to contribute to your social media platforms. Define what you need to start, how you think you’ll use the content, then you can start to find the right creator.
Tip #2 – Spend Time Researching
Once you know what type of content you’re looking for, spend time researching. That includes what the going rates are, who is available, and where the creators reside. If you’re looking for YouTube video creators, it may be easiest just to start searching Google and YouTube for videos that contain your competitors, your products, or what you want content about. If you’re looking for blog and article writers, Upwork, and Freelancer may offer a good spot to research who is available and what they charge for their work. Fiverr offers design work for websites, voiceovers, animation opportunities, and more. Whatever you’re looking for, it exists.
You may not be able to find the exact creator you think you need, and at that point you might put out a wanted ad on the major freelance sites looking for applicants. You could also put up a post on your social media accounts, your careers page, or try to ask professional contacts if they know anyone available. There isn’t a perfect place to find the right content creator.
Tip #3 – Have a Set Budget
Once you have an idea of who is available for hire, and what the rough going rate is for the content you need, you then have to make the decision on what budget you have available to pay for the work. That could be a budget for a complete series of articles or videos, it could be for each milestone of work completed, or it could be you budget for the month, quarter, or year. Once you know how much you have to spend, you can start to break out how you need to spend it.
Also be mindful that various types of content may cost more. A 500 word blog post may come at a lower cost than a 1,000 word article that requires research and embedded links. Video and audio may be on the upper end depending on what the end-product needs to be. Editing costs time and money, so you may have to add in a little more budget to get a polished creation instead of the raw files without editing.
Tip #4 – Have a Defined Schedule
Your schedule for the content will be tied into your budget. The faster you need content, the more you may need to spend to have it created. Before you can really hire a creator, you need to know when you need the end-product. You may find creators that are currently booked in the time period you need the content, and may have to keep looking. If you have a loose guideline of when you need certain items created, you stand a great chance of finding someone that matches your exact need. Be as flexible as possible.
Tip #5 – Have Concrete Deliverables
One outcome that will be very frustrating is not receiving what you thought you asked for. Don’t ask for vague items in your initial request. Be as specific as you can, and not having everything defined is OK. Be upfront with as much info as possible in your initial discussions. You may find a great creator that has done work exactly as you envision, and they can help you define the goals of the content when you don’t have all the answers.
Tip #6 – Ask for References & Past Work
Most sites that offer freelancing for hire will allow each creator to list personal accomplishments, allow you to look through their past work, and also list their ratings of past employers. I’ve had many contact me from my profile page on Upwork to invite me to apply to their job postings. Profiles may also list pay rate per hour as a reference, so you know a rough idea of what creators will potentially charge for content. Each service will have options to search for key words, via categories and industries, and by location to help narrow down your focus.
One thing to keep in mind is that many creators that work on freelance projects are not credited with their work on the internet. When you ask for references of work, they may just be able to offer a Word document with writing versus a direct link to the work listing them as the creator. Evidence of work will vary from person to person.
Tip #7 – Start with a Trial
Once you think you have found your perfect creator, it’s best to start with a limited trial. It could be something small like one, two, or three articles if you’re looking for a writer. It could be one video project, or a set of pictures on a determined subject. Before you sign on the dotted line for a long-term contract, make sure they are exactly who you think you’re hiring.
A second item to note on a trial, or any agreed work, it needs to be documented in writing. You have no ability to get your money back, nor to request more work needed, if you don’t have agreement in writing. Conversely, you shouldn’t ask for work to be completed without a written agreement.
Tip #8 – Give Your Creators Special Access
Anyone can read a website or look through a product pamphlet to pull specifications and information for an article. If you want something special for your business or brand, offer your creator a behind-the-scenes look at information not publicly known or easily searchable. Maybe it’s a look at how or why your product was created, a deep look at company history, or some background where the brand is planning to go into the future. Give your creator something interesting to work with.
Tip #9 – Let Your Creator Work Their Magic
At this point you’ve set the deliverables, agreed on a schedule, hired the right creator for your brand, and it’s time to let them go to work. It’s exciting to know someone is creating something to match your vision, but don’t expect a daily update to their progress or sneak peeks into their work unless it was agreed upon previously. A lot of full-time creators don’t keep regular 9-5 office hours. They may be hard to reach. Allow them to work their magic with your ideas and they’ll bring your concept to life.
Tip #10 – Offer Feedback
Once you have your work completed, it may or may not exactly what you wanted. There’s no reason you shouldn’t offer feedback to your creator. If they blew you away with their creativity, and you absolutely love what they did, you should tell them. If they missed a couple key topic points, tell them that also. I’ve never met a creator that didn’t want to exceed the expectations of their clients, nor were they unwilling to do a little extra work if they missed something. You should think of them as an employee, and you want to get your money’s worth.
One of the biggest missed opportunities of content is that it doesn’t get promoted enough. That doesn’t mean it needs a sponsored ad on social media. It just needs to be used. I’ve often seen articles and blog posts written for clients that just sit on the internet with little fanfare. If you plan to pay for content, you should also plan to utilize it to your advantage. Chop up long articles into smaller blog posts. Have someone re-write a popular article a few months after the original is published. Don’t think that content is the Fields of Dreams and if you pay for writing it will automatically be read. Promote and use the content for positive engagement with your brand. Don’t just have content to have content because it seems to be the new thing that everyone seems to talk about. Having the right content available will bring more return than having the most.