In my last post, I explained why it’s not possible to get high-quality content for pennies a word. It’s simple economics — you can’t expect someone to conduct research and write an insightful blog post for $20. You may (or may not) get grammatically correct sentences, but good writing is more than proper grammar.

So let’s say you take my advice and decide to hire a professional content writer. What can you expect when you engage with that person? A lot depends upon the amount of experience the writer has and whether she’s a generalist or has industry-specific experience.

If your budget is somewhat limited, a relatively inexperienced writer can be a great option. We all were newbies at one point in time, and there’s absolutely nothing wrong with hiring a writer who’s just starting out in her career. You will likely need to provide a little bit of help in terms of selecting and developing topics, but with guidance the writer should be able to crank out serviceable copy. An inexperienced writer won’t have a lot of samples to show you, so you need to look for someone who’s eager and also willing to accept criticism.

A generalist will have more overall experience, but not any specific expertise in your industry. She might be writing about cars one day and ophthalmology the next. Again, there’s nothing wrong with hiring a generalist — good writers tend to be pretty smart people who can typically write about anything. But you’ll probably need to spend some time explaining your industry and what differentiates your business. Developing topics will be more of a collaborative process. The generalist should be able to provide you with writing samples so you can get a feel for the quality of her work.

Someone with industry-specific experience will have done a lot of work as a writerfor businesses similar to yours. The “as a writer” component is important — someone may know a lot about your industry but may not be a particularly good writer. A professional writer who specializes in your industry brings a wealth of insight to the table that can enhance your content marketing strategy.

A writer experienced in your industry will be able to come up with topics on her own and develop blogs posts and articles that offer a unique perspective. She will be able to develop long-form content such as whitepapers and e-books, and conduct customer interviews efficiently. Content is delivered quickly and accurately with minimal input on your part.

The type of content writer you choose depends a lot upon your budget and the amount of time you’re willing and able to invest in the process. If you go in with the right expectations, you will gain a mutually beneficial relationship and a lot of great content for your business.

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