Hiring a Writer: Niche Expertise or Writing Expertise?

Let’s just face it, if you are reading this blog post, you may not be using a professional writing outsourcer firm (like Articlez.com), but dealing directly with one or more writers who are working for you (most likely freelancers).

But before you work with a writer, you have to select a writer to work with – and hiring a writer can be difficult.

The Classic Dilemma: Niche Expertise or Writing Expertise?

hiring a writer
An “Expert” Writer – What Type of Expert?

When working with writers, the classic dilemma you face boils down to this:

  • Do I work hire a writer who has a high level of writing ability but not much subject-matter knowledge?
  • Or do I hire a writer who has poor writing skills but tremendous subject-matter knowledge?


One option would be to select someone who is very knowledgeable on the subjects that you need written content for (subject-matter knowledge) but who may not be very skilled or experienced in the writing craft. If you choose this option, once you get your content, you are going to need to do very detailed proofreading/editing — and a lot of corrections will need to be made before you finally have something in your hands that you can actually use.

On the other hand, you can save yourself a lot of time by hiring a writer with top-notch writing skills and plenty of experience, but if their subject-matter knowledge is meager the content returned to you may not have much substance to it, and you may lose precious time as the writer tries to educate themselves so that they can write intelligently on the subject at hand.

And if you try to solve the dilemma by hiring a writer whose writing skills are excellent, and who also happens (miracle of miracles!) to have an excellent grasp of the topic, of course, you can just let them go to it and pump out the content. The problem, though, is that it can be very difficult to find such a person, someone with a perfect match of writing skills and expertise in the field, in the topics that are important to you.

All other things being equal, you are probably better off getting the writer with excellent writing skills — even if their topic knowledge is weak — because in this case, all you need to do is to give them the missing information they need to compensate for their lack of firsthand knowledge in the topic area.

Here at Articlez.com, over the years we have found that it is much easier to hire a writer with excellent writing skills, who is a generalist in knowledge rather than trying to find one who is excellent in writing but also knows a lot about a particular subject. Good writers, really skilled ones, are also very good in self-learning, self-educating themselves to prepare for new (to them) subject-area assignments.

By the way, this is why, at AZ, we do two things:

  1. We vet our writers’ skills before we hire them – we don’t look for “experts” in anything except writing.
  2. We let you (the customer) tell the writer what they need to know when you place your content order.

How To Turn A Skilled Generalist Writer Into Your Personal Writing Expert

hiring a writer
Make Your Generalist Writer Into a Specialist

So, what kinds of things do you need to communicate to a very skilled, professional, but generalist writer into your own personal expert writing resource? What kinds of information will an otherwise excellent writer need, in order to get up-to-speed for their new writing assignment?

  • They will need background on your business and/or website, and the kinds of site visitors/customers that you see.
  • They need to know what your goals are for this content – how will you be using it? What do you want this content piece to “do” for you?
  • Information like industry trends – statistics and data that are important – references that show how your competitors may be talking about the topic to be covered – can be helpful to fill in gaps in the writer’s knowledge.
  • Any URL’s for sources of information (of a background nature) from sources that you consider reliable is essential.

If you are relying on Articlez.com and our staff of U.S. based, vetted and fully trained writers to prepare content for you, the above short list can serve as an excellent guide to crafting your personalized instructions to our writers when you place an order (in the “project notes” area).

If you are working directly with writers that you have vetted, you can incorporate the above points into any emails or instant messaging you might exchange with them.

Years of experience have taught us, and we’ll pass this tip along to you as well — the more “education” you can give your writer up-front, before they start work on your assignment, will result in your getting first-rate content returned to you on the first draft, saving your writer’s time and saving you money!

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