If you run affiliate websites you will no doubt realize that the most time consuming task that you have to do is creating content. If you want to scale your website you will therefore need to outsource some of your content creation. Hiring freelance writers for that purpose is often the most efficient strategy.
Finding freelance writers to create affiliate marketing content is notoriously difficult as the vast majority of content that you need for your website is commercial. Therefore any writer that you hire will need to be able to write well enough that the content they create wins the trust of readers to the point where they are convinced to click your links and make a purchase.
Here are some tips on how to screen when hiring freelance writers for the specific skills needed to write for affiliate websites.
1- Test their knowledge of what a good affiliate website should look and read like
There are certain universal features of high performing affiliate websites, and any writer looking to work on an affiliate website should understand what these are so that they can replicate this in their work.
In an application to be a writer for your affiliate website, you should therefore ask candidates to name a couple of examples of affiliate websites that they like, and to explain in a few sentences what they like about it.
This will not only demonstrate that a freelance writer understands what makes good affiliate content, but it also reveals whether their sensibilities align with yours. Since content quality is, to an extent at least, subjective, this aligning of sensibilities is essential for a good writer/editor relationship.
2- Test the expertise of the freelance writer on your niche
It’s far easier to teach someone who is interested in your niche how to write good content, than to teach a good writer about your niche. Therefore you should try to hire someone who has either qualification, lived experience or a passing interest in the niche that your website is in.
The best way to screen for this is to include a question about their opinion on a topic within your niche. Asking for their opinion works really well here as you need a real interest in a niche to have an insightful opinion. You can therefore weed put answers that contain surface-level “fake” opinions at this point.
An example of this would be if you had an affiliate website in the cookware niche you can ask: “Do you prefer cooking scrambled eggs in a frying pan or saucepan and why?”. Someone can only give an insightful answer to this if they have a decent amount of experience cooking.
3- Ask them how they would research a product review
The bread and butter type of content that a writer will create for an affiliate site is product reviews.
These types of articles are difficult to write well, specifically as the writer in question will inevitably not have used every product that they review. A good product review therefore hinges upon how well they research the product in question.
A good screening question for a writer applying to work at an affiliate website is therefore asking about a writer’s process for researching around a product for a product review.
A poor answer to this question would be one that just references looking at other reviews on Google and on Amazon. This will lead to a product review that just duplicates ideas from other affiliate sites.
A good answer should make reference to forums where users of the product hang out (Reddit, Facebook groups, or niche specific forums), and looking at YouTube videos of the product in action.
If the writer says that they will want to use the product that they will review then this is usually an excellent sign that their writing will contain an excellent level of attention to detail.
4- Get them to critique an existing product review of your competitors
A key part of getting reviews to rank at the top of Google is to be able to look at what is already ranking and be able to create a more comprehensive article.
For a writer to be able to do this consistently, they need to be adept at spotting holes in competitor reviews so they know where they need to research and build upon to create a superior article.
To test this you should give a prospective writer one of your competitor’s product reviews (ideally one that is ranking at the top of Google at the time) and tell them what flaws there are in the article and how they can improve upon it.
If a writer can do this then chances are that they consistently create better content than what is already ranking.
The commercial nature of affiliate sites means that it takes a different skill sets from standard blog or content writing.
Affiliate marketers therefore need to set up the right tests to be able to identify writers who understand what makes great affiliate content and who can execute this consistently.
This article was written by John Wright. John is the CEO of affiliate marketing software StatsDrone. StatsDrone allows affiliates to keep track of all of their data in one dashboard.