In the ever-evolving digital landscape, content creation plays a massive part in maintaining a robust online presence for dental practices. Yet, busy dentists and their teams don’t always have the time to produce high-quality content consistently. That’s where freelance writers can help.
A highly experienced freelancer can help your practice or dental business create engaging and informative content to attract and educate your target audience. And in an ideal world, the right content creator would be an essential cog in your team – one that projects your expertise and conveys your brand to potential patients.
Yet, I’m sure you’ve heard horror stories of businesses who have previously hired freelance writers whose created content was nothing like what was promised; they didn’t meet your timescale or demanded more money without warning.
Understandably, outsourcing work to a third party can be a gamble, and in the dental space, where breaking advertising guidelines equates to huge fines, that’s a mistake you can’t afford to make.
So, to ensure a successful collaboration, I’d like to share five top tips for hiring the right freelance writer in the dental space.
#1 – Experience is everything
It pays to hire a freelancer who is either industry-specific or has written extensively within it. Now you may think that this goes without saying, but in truth, I know of several companies in the dental space that have hired freelancers in the past because they were cheap rather than the industry knowledge they bring. In most cases, this has backfired.
I personally have been contacted to redo work written by less experienced freelance writers. This is content that otherwise would have fallen foul of GDC, ADA or AHPRA guidelines and would have landed the client in hot water.
Naturally, this rework has cost them more in the long term, not to mention a great deal of stress in the process.
On the contrary, an experienced dental writer should already have a good understanding of your industry and the latest technologies and techniques used. They already know what they can and can’t say and will ultimately understand your target audience well.
So how do you know if the freelancer has real-time experience?
Ask them for samples, look at their portfolio or website and see if they have written testimonials from actual dental businesses.
You could also book a quick call to learn more about their experience and see if you get that ‘gut feeling’. If you do, then great, you’ve found your person. If you don’t, then move on to the next one.
Ultimately, if the writer has a good grounding or knowledge of your industry, it will save you a lot of stress and unnecessary rework.
#2 – Establish a fair compensation structure
This factor goes hand in hand with point one. An experienced industry writer won’t and shouldn’t charge peanuts. They already know how much value they can add to your business and will probably charge accordingly. Understandably, everyone is looking for a good deal, but this should be tempered with a dose of knowing how much quality content is worth.
Ensure that both parties are clear on deliverables, payment terms, and, most importantly, what’s included in the price. A transparent compensation structure will help to maintain a positive working relationship while ensuring both parties feel valued.
I’ve written a post on what a fair compensation structure should look like, so if you’re unsure, feel free to check it out. Essentially, as long as you are both in agreement and both parties fully understand what is expected for that price, then there shouldn’t be a problem.
#3 – Foster effective communication
So, you’ve chosen your person, they know what they need to do, and you let them get on with producing great content. Most freelance writers, including those in the dental space, appreciate feedback, particularly in the early stages of a working project.
If, for whatever reason, you fail to provide timely feedback or address any questions the writer asks, they won’t know if they’re on brief and are fully aligned with your vision. Not only that, timely communication ensures a smother collaboration and helps to foster a stronger rapport in the long term.
Conversely, no one likes being micro-managed, so too much communication could be problematic. Therefore try to adopt a fine balance between giving the freelancer the space and time to do what they do best and providing regular feedback and guidance where necessary.
The bottom line?
Get your levels of communication right, and you could be on to a winner.
#4 – Initiate a review and edit process
Even experienced freelance writers occasionally miss the mark and present work that requires revisions. As a dental professional and website owner, it’s your responsibility to ensure the content you want is posted on your site. Therefore, be prepared to take time out to read through each piece to ensure it meets your needs for accuracy, clarity and tone.
Of course, delivering regular feedback will help, but don’t be afraid to ask for changes if you think they’re needed, offer specific suggestions for improvement and consider areas where you believe the message could be further enhanced.
As a top tip, most freelance writers will be happy to make changes or revisions provided it’s not outside the scope of the original brief.
Here’s the line I use when working with new clients:
“ Hi (insert name), I’m just attaching the first draft of your content as requested. If you need any changes, I’m happy to make them; just let me know.”
This leaves clients in little doubt that they can request changes or ask for revisions and eradicates any doubts about saying, ‘Hey’, this is close, but it isn’t quite right. Can I suggest how to improve it?”
One thing to be mindful of when it comes to revisions is to have a clear idea of how you want the content to look. This should have already been confirmed during a pre-project meeting or brief.
If you and the writer are on a different wavelength and produce what they think you want, and it turns out to be way off the mark, there is probably a communication mix-up.
With this in mind, I would generally have a clause in my contract that goes something like this:
“We want to ensure that you are pleased with the content, so up to three rounds of revisions are included in the price. However, if major changes are required, or the content needs a total rewrite, we would need to consider why. With this in mind, we may need to apply an additional fee in some instances.”
#5 Provide a detailed brief
Essentially, a detailed brief is vital if you want to avoid the above scenario. This way, you get what you want, and both parties are happy.
So what should you include in a project brief?
- Content focus or subject (if you are making the suggestions)
- Project tone – The voice you want the writer to use – e.g. conversational, informative, professional.
- Who the content is aimed at – the target audience/demographic
- Timescale for delivery
Alternatively, an experienced content writer should also be able to work with you to develop content ideas for blogs and dental copy, so don’t be afraid to ask for their advice or input.
I do this for several dental clinics and businesses and detail stuff like:
- Blog title – The working title of the post
- Blog idea – The reason behind the blog and what it’s about – This could be linked to something in the news or something new in the dental industry
- Key phrase – The keywords or phrases the post focuses on.
I typically draft a quarterly blogging plan, depending on how many monthly posts the client wants. I would always tell them nothing is set in stone, and I’m happy to include additional posts and replace others where the client sees fit. This way, it’s more of a collaboration and one that typically fosters a more cohesive working relationship.
So there you have it, five top tips for hiring freelance writers in the dental space. If you follow these instructions, your journey to finding the right dental writer to assist your growing content needs should be smooth.
If you need dental content help and have yet to find the right people, let me throw my hat into the ring.
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