Do you use content writers?If you’re searching for a new writing service, then you’re probably just starting out in the world of marketing (hey, welcome!)… or things went south with your last blogger/writing service. I’m going to venture a guess that if things “went south” it was probably because of the lack of upfront communication between you and your blogger.

This time around, make sure you ask your next writing service these 7 questions:

#1 Do you outsource any of your work?

You might just assume that your writing service is doing all of the work that they send your way. Don’t. Unfortunately, outsourcing work to lower-quality services is a big problem in this industry. Ask your writing service, in no unclear terms, whether or not they do all of their work in-house (that includes keyword research).

#2 How can you guarantee my content is original?

If the response you get is, “Umm… well, because I write it,” then you might want to look elsewhere. There are many different methods for verifying that content is technically and conceptually unique. We’re fans of Copyscape Premium. It only costs 5 cents per search, but it gives us and our clients peace of mind that everything is totally unique.

#3 Can I see some sample work?

Given the non-disclosure agreements that are attached to virtually every piece of writing, it’s a little tough to share samples in this line of work. You shouldn’t necessarily expect your writing service to offer custom samples free of charge (though we do). However, if you can get your content writer to at least offer you a discounted sample piece, then you’ve definitely got somebody with potential!

#4 What is your take on using SEO keywords?

There’s really no right or wrong answer here. The important thing is to be on the same page. Some writing services focus way too much on keywords at the expense of fluid writing. Other bloggers will simply dismiss keywords altogether (which is also bad).

There are many schools of thought on the proper role of SEO keywords in content marketing. Here are a few resources to help you come to your own conclusions:

#5 What is the editing/revising process like?

Again, this is another question where there is no right or wrong answer. Some writing services will say ‘No problem,’ to your revision request and shoot you back something fresh the next day. Others will try to charge you half the original price and take a week to do it. Make sure you know what you’re getting into before signing a contract. Even the best content writers will have to do revisions!

#6 How will I be charged?

There are two schools of thought here: charge by the word or charge by the hour. Many writing services will charge by the word since your piece will have to go through a research, writing, editing, and proofing phase (a process that could take three or more people to complete). Freelance content writers, on the other hand, are more likely to charge by the hour since they will be completing all of these tasks alone.

#7 Can you upload to my blog/add pictures/meta tags/etc?

If technology is not your thing, you might want to get a content writer who can handle the publishing end of things, too. Since this isn’t terribly difficult, your writing service should be able to handle this final part of the process. Of course, don’t be surprised if they want a little more money for their extra efforts!

In all fairness, we should mention that a boutique writing service like ours certainly isn’t your only option. Check out this post I wrote in September about the five main types of writing services, what they cost, and what kind of results you can expect.

What questions do you wish you had asked a writing service or blogger before signing the dotted line?