Maybe you don't have the personnel who can maintain content development momentum for your inbound marketing efforts. Maybe you tried it with in-house writers and they just weren't cutting it -- or their other job duties were suffering because of their dedication to creating new content. (If this is the case, encourage these people by letting them write one or two things each month. Keep stoking their fire for inbound marketing. These people will be valuable players when it comes to interacting with your hired writers to create the best, most relevant content!)
So you're beginning your external content development search. Here are a few places to look:
1. Your own social network. - Writers market themselves like any other business people -- through social media and inbound marketing. Search LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter and Google+ for successful content writers.
If a writer's own inbound marketing campaigns are successful -- meaning you found them through a Google search and were impressed by their knowledge base, samples and credentials -- they probably have the knowledge and capacity to help you create and support your content strategy.
2. Word of mouth - Attend local networking meetings through your Lion's Club, Chamber of Commerce, Rotary or even industry-specific networking groups, and spread the word that you are looking for a writer. It doesn't hurt to ask family, friends and business associates, either. Talk to your contacts and colleagues (in non-competing businesses, of course) and ask if they have proven writer resources and if they are happy with the content they’ve received.
3. Craig's List Ads - Many freelance writers look for leads through Craig's List and also job sites like Media Bistro, JournalismJobs.com and Freelancewritinggigs.com. Post an ad detailing what you're looking for, and wait for the resumes and writing samples to pour in. You'll find a large pool of candidates with varying talent levels, at varying rates.
4. Freelance Bid Sites / Content Agencies - Websites like iFreelance.com and GetaFreelancer.com, and Zerys.com let freelance writers bid for your jobs, so you get the best value for your dollar. At some freelance bid sites, you can set the quality of writer you want by setting the rate. (Our advice: Always look for the best writer you can afford, since good content is at the heart of your inbound marketing efforts.) Other sites, like WriterAccess.com, let you set prices and then various writers will “claim” your assignment, complete it within a set deadline, and you can accept or reject the work.
5. Marketing Agencies - If you want to combine the convenience of someone else interviewing, hiring and managing writers for you with the benefits of having one-on-one contact with your content provider, you might consider a full-scale strategic marketing agency. Many marketing agencies have on-staff writers or freelance writers they work with regularly who are experts in content writing for inbound marketing. Their writers will likely be available to you for interviews or feedback, while you'll have the peace of mind of knowing someone else has screened your writers for their quality of work, ethics, and reliability.
It's entirely possible that you will utilize a combination of these options until you build a process that you feel completely comfortable with. It takes time, effort and money to get to that point, but the contribution to the success of your inbound marketing efforts is huge.