By Susan Guillory

If you’ve tried to do your own marketing writing and either don’t have the time to do so consistently or simply hate it, rather than throwing in the towel, hire a content writer. A professional with experience in writing for your audience can help you reach more customers online and establish your brand as a thought leader.

Here are some things to know about hiring and working with a professional business writer.

1. You’re in Charge

Everyone works differently. Some clients want to choose the topics a writer covers, while others let the writer do it. You may want an outline before she writes a full article, or you might want to jot down notes that she can use in her content. However you prefer to work, let your writer know so you can collaborate together effectively.

2. Writing Does Not Equal Marketing

Yes, content marketing is essential as part of your overall marketing strategy, but don’t expect miracles. You can’t blame your writer for her content not sending you tens of thousands of visitors to your site if you’re not doing anything else to promote that content. Every post should be shared on social media, via RSS, and to email subscribers, and you should be doing plenty other things to help people find you online. Content marketing is just one component of a healthy and comprehensive marketing strategy.

3. There’s No Such Thing as Quality $10 Articles

This is such a pet peeve of mine, so forgive me if I rant. So many companies hear that they can get “quality” writing overseas for cheap, and so they post projects looking for people to write content for $10 (or less). Let me tell you: there is no way that someone making so little, with English as a second language, and probably zero experience in your industry, is going to do that content justice. If you truly care about your brand’s reputation, you will realize that you have to pay for the kinds of quality articles that will actually do their job in attracting new business for you.

4. You Can Be the Author (If You Want)

Even if you didn’t write the content yourself, anything a writer (specifically, a ghostwriter) creates for you can be published under your name. This helps you establish yourself as an industry expert, and gives you professional clout, even if you don’t have the time or skill to do the writing yourself. Do be clear when posting a project that you want it ghostwritten under your name, if that’s the case.

5. Clearly Communicating What You Want Gets Best Results

Look, writing is subjective. You might hate what the writer you hire churns out. But you’ll have the best success rate if you simply spend some time outlining specifically what you want. It can be helpful if you share articles and authors whose writing style you’d like your writer to emulate. What qualities are you going for? Casual? Formal? Long-winded? Brief? All of this information can help a professional writer deliver what you want.

Working with a professional content writer can be useful to your marketing efforts. Just manage your expectations and communicate your desires clearly.