Writing Skills Vs Industry Knowledge… What Should You Consider When Hiring a Freelancer?


Here comes the ol’ age dilemma.

Should I hire a freelance writer with great writing skills or deep industry expertise?

If Shakespeare were in charge of marketing like you, the famous question "to be or not to be" would have been industry knowledge or writing skills. It’s a difficult question especially for those contemplating on hiring freelance writers have to go through.

So what do you choose between the two?

Enter the dilemma.

The Dilemma: Industry Knowledge or Writing Expertise

It’s quite easy to think: I need someone with extensive experience in this field, and I’m sure they can deliver exemplary work from what I give to them. After all, they have the requisite knowledge in this field and understand my product better.

But come to think of it. You’re also an expert in your field, and no one understands your services or product better than you do-- but there’s a reason you can’t seem to crack past the first two sentences of your blog to come up with a solid post.

On the other hand, you might be thinking of hiring a freelancer with excellent writing skills that can persuade your audience to take the action you want.

But you’re worried they might have their way with words but lose their way with your product.

The trend has mostly been that it’s nearly impossible to get the best of both worlds. It seems the best of writers aren’t necessarily experts in a particular field, and subject matter experts are not really good writers.

Can’t you just find the perfect combination of a knowledgeable expert and a great writer?

Interested in knowing whom to choose? Read on.

Good Writing will OFTEN Beat Industry Knowledge

I know that’s a bold claim to make.

But relax, I have my reasons to back it up.

See, you’re looking to hire a writer for primarily two reasons.

Either because you don’t have the time to write and need some help to offload your content marketing needs, or because every time you start writing, your mind seems to go blank and you’re left staring at that wretched cursor pointing at you.

So your mind keeps telling you: You’re a lawyer. You’re an engineer. You’re a florist. You're a marketer. Not a writer. And it's right!

The truth is that finding the enthusiasm and inspiration to blog like a pro is extremely hard. So you need someone who loves their trade and has the skills to keep your content up to date.

Here are 5 insightful reasons why you should consider writing skill over industry knowledge anytime.

Writing is an Art, and Skilled Writers are Artists

Can you remember the last sketch you drew? Does the thought of sharing it with the world make you proud?

I doubt it does unless you’re a painter by profession.

You see, my friend, the same happens to writing.

Think of writing as a painting where each word is a sketch on a blank canvas that builds up to the final drawing.

Everyone can write, but there’s a distinguishable difference between a skilled writer and someone who’s there just to do the job. For the same reason you don’t like your last sketch, readers won’t be intrigued by the content that’s just written for the sake of writing.

That’s why you need someone with superb writing skills and can craft words that speak to the hearts of your audience and push their buttons to take the action you want.

Skilled Writers Have the Right Marketing Expertise

It’s called content marketing for a reason.

Without the marketing aspect of it, it’d be okay to consider an industry expert to write copies for you, but the marketing aspect of it changes everything.

As content marketers, we’re in the market of persuasion. We want our blogs to connect with our audience-- the ultimate goal being to convince them to do what we want them to do. As such, you need someone who can exploit their drives, speak their language and reflect their values.

And content marketing only strives on how well you push your audience’s right buttons.

Good writers are actually a product of lots of practice in different areas. While writing, they learn different marketing tactics on the go and actually embody them in their pieces. They know how to exploit human nature to get people to do what they want. They have the marketing tilt that will make sure your content gets the ROI you want it to have, rather than an industry expert who’ll do a perfect job but get to the hearts of your readers.

Remember: Empathy cannot be faked.

Skilled Writers Can Adapt to Any Task

I’ve seen a lot of content that falls flat because the tone and the style aren’t in line with the purpose of the piece.

For instance, a landing page needs to be short and should prompt your readers to take a certain action. Whitepapers will work best when it’s long, and the details are greatly fleshed out to explain a complex issue. An email should be short, sweet, and personalized.

Regardless of the copy, a subject matter expert will write densely in a convoluted way because they have extensive experience, but they are not probably accustomed to writing empathetically.

With a skilled writer, you can trust them to turn even the mundane of stories lively while adapting to different styles that are in line with your unique marketing needs.

Skilled Writers Refer to Reliable and Authentic Research

You’re probably thinking:

But how will a writer who has a BA in journalism write about Tech?

I have a Bachelor’s Degree in Civil Engineering (brags a little)-- but if I were being honest, I’ve never written anything near the construction industry since I started blogging.

On the other hand, I’ve written extensively on Tech topics that I had no (leave alone a little) knowledge about beforehand. I’ve worked with big brands like Ionic, MobileGrowth Association, WhatsUp Gold, MOVEit, and so on-- with no technology background. However, with extensive research, sheer focus, and always striving to produce the best content for my clients, I’ve crafted solid blog posts for them.

Here’s the thing: A writer with no or little prior experience with your product will approach the subject with a fresh perspective, interpret it as a customer would, and write empathetically in ways your clients and audience can understand. This set of skills is undoubtedly important for companies that seek to explain their products empathetically in a way their readers can understand.

Of course, you need content with authority. But trust me, authoritative and bland content that won’t get read will just be collecting e-dust while no one reads it.

However, suppose you need complex and sophisticated content to be read by high-level people like software documentation and technical writing. In that case, it’s only wise if you go with the person with the topical expertise.

Skilled Writers Have the Ability to Get Focused

You’ve trained your employees, kids, and colleagues that focus is the key to everything, right?

Why then do you let your employees get entangled with all kinds of distractions when you could focus on improving your business while someone else works on your content?

Excellent content writers are always focused on one thing: providing excellent copies to their clients and nothing more. Equipped with proper knowledge of your product, they combine this with their marketing skills to effortlessly produce for you a copy worthy of its weight in gold.

The Upshot

I’ve seen most job advertisements limit applicants to a certain niche when applying, and I think the same advertisers have missed out on fantastic writers altogether.

Content writers come in all forms, skills, and expertise. Particularly, they come in different levels of quality. You’ve probably seen a blog post that could’ve done better with some proofreading before hitting the internet, and you’ve also come across well-written blog posts that left you feeling entertained and informed.

And as a marketer, I bet you want to be on the better end of the spectrum.

Purpose to provide your readers with content that is value-laden yet entertaining, informative yet interesting to read, concise yet enjoyable. Not the other way round.



Photo by Markus Winkler on Unsplash: Thanks Markus:)