If you find yourself scratching your head when it comes to effectively scaling the creation of your keyword-focused content, you’re not alone.
Creating a sustainable content creation system isn’t easy.
First, you need writers that can actually write correctly. The average American has a 7th or 8th-grade reading level. It’s going to be tough to build a team of college-level writers when most people in the talent pool haven’t evolved past middle-school reading level.
Then, you have to hope that those writers understand the basic principles of search engine optimization. Depending on your content creation budget, your options might be limited to writers with minimal experience in the professional world. SEO and other digital marketing practices could be utterly foreign to them.
Finding a single writer with the experience, writing skills, and content optimization knowledge that you need can be tricky. Creating a team of these people is another story.
How can anyone be expected to quickly build a team of this caliber of writer within budget?
Hire affordable writers with solid writing skills, and mold them into the marketing writer you need them to be.
How to Train a Team of SEO Content Creators
Here are the steps you should take to develop a reliable team of writers for your SEO efforts.
Develop Your Training Documents
A successful training system starts with defined, documented processes that help workers get started on their tasks quickly with little oversight.
Your team of writers will need instruction documents for every part of the content creation process.
These may include process documentation for:
- Project Management Workflows
- Topic Research
- Style & Formatting
- On-Page Optimization
- Call to Actions
The specific documents in your training system should be unique to your business and your reasons for increasing organic traffic.
Your training documentation must be specific and concise. The key is to remove as many judgment calls from your writer’s responsibilities as possible. You’ll have more time to focus on scaling your team if you’re not answering questions about the process several times each day.
Source Quality Writing Candidates
Once you have your documentation in order, it’s time to hire freelance writers and begin building your team.
Before posting an epic job advertisement, it’s essential to know some common characteristics of writers that can be easily groomed into the article-ranking juggernaut that you need them to be.
Here are a few of those characteristics to get you started:
- Goal-Oriented: Writers interested in helping their clients reach their goals are worth their weight in gold. Be wary of freelancers who focus on checking boxes on a list and nothing more.
- Spelling & Grammar: This should go without saying, but the writers on your team should utilize stellar spelling and grammar. Grammarly is an excellent tool for assessing these skills quickly.
- Punctuality: As a business owner, you set specific deadlines for reaching your goals. So, it’s only logical that you work with writers that keep to the deadlines you set for them. Waiting on writers to deliver their work after the pre-defined deadline can be quite frustrating.
- Content Marketing Experience: Freelancers who have experience writing for the web will be easier to train than someone whose only experience is in the world of print media.
- SEO Experience: Hiring a writer that understands search engine optimization, as well as its role in content creation will save you a lot of headaches. Most writers that state they have SEO experience typically have a lot of knowledge gaps. But it’s still better than starting with a completely raw writer.
You may have noticed that “expertise” is absent from the list above. This is because of the fact that someone who is adept at internet research can speak intelligently on most topics, even if they have zero experience. A writer with great internet research skills and no experience will cost MUCH less than someone who has some first-hand experience on the topic.
Of course, subject matter experts would be ideal if your budget can support them. This is especially true in YMYL verticals.
Test, Test, Test
Like most people looking for a new job, freelance writers will put their best foot forward by sharing only their most well-written and best-received writing samples when applying to your advertisement.
Because of this, you will never be able to tell if an applicant is actually going to work out until you test them in real-world working conditions.
In order to be able to rely on the data from your tests, you’ll need:
- Test projects that you can assign to every applicant
- An evaluation checklist
Develop 1 to 3 test projects that you can use to test all new writing applicants. By using the same article topics for all of your tests over and over, you’ll be able to quickly suss out whether or not the applicant put effort into their test.
You should also create an evaluation checklist to be used each time you review a test document submitted by an applicant. Comparing every test against the same criteria will help build consistency into your hiring and training system.
Newly hired writers should be tested a few times during an initial probation period to ensure they have the skill sets you need.
To ensure the writer continues to meet your standards, a quarterly review and retest are advisable.
Now that you have identified a few writers that you would like to work with on your project, it’s time to reinforce all of your expectations with ongoing training.
If you did a good job with your process documentation and took the time to find the right talent, your input regarding ongoing training should be minimal.
When you first hire a writer, you’ll want to provide them ongoing training over the first 2 to 6 weeks to help them internalize your requirements so that they can eventually work autonomously.
Live meetings are best for training sessions like this. You’ll be able to engage with the writer in real-time and surface any gaps in their knowledge quickly. A simple live walkthrough of your process (using your documentation) is all that is necessary to get on the same page.
If your schedule is tight and doesn’t allow for a live meeting, you can opt to pre-record your training sessions. This will allow you to use the same videos repeatedly, and your team can view them at their leisure. Loom is a good option for recording these types of training sessions quickly and easily.
Replace & Improve
At this point, training is complete, and your content team has one or more writers that you can rely on consistently.
An optional last step is to regularly replace poor performers with better quality talent to improve the team.
At WordAgents, we replace the bottom 10% of our writing team with fresh, new talent each quarter. This ensures that anyone who has become lazy or less interested in the writing role will be removed and replaced with more motivated talent regularly.
If you want to follow a similar strategy, it’s best to limit turnover to 20% or less every quarter. This is due to the fact that it will be difficult to replace more than 20% of your team in a short amount of time.
It’s Time To Train
You now have a proven framework for training a team of SEO content writers that is capable of scaling as much as you need.
Quality training documents, careful candidate selection, rigorous testing, and ongoing training are all that are needed to get your talent up-to-speed quickly and efficiently.
Hey! Want a short cut to create a stellar SEO content team? Take a look at WordAgents. Get 35% OFF on up to 10,000 words, plus free SEO optimization powered by MarketMuse.
Want a shortcut to creating stellar SEO content?
Try WordAgents and get 35% OFF on up to 10,000 words, plus free SEO optimization powered by MarketMuse.
About The Author:
Vincent D’Eletto is the founder of WordAgents, a SEO content creation service. He also owns and operates a portfolio of revenue-generating websites, and a Japanese restaurant near his hometown. Outside of work, Vin can be found playing guitar and hanging out with his family!
Written by Stephen Jeske