Many industries suffer from a global labor shortage, and the automotive industry is no different. A perfect storm of events has put pressure on the industry, further expanding the growing technology skills gap.
According to Korn Ferry, there will be an estimated shortage of 85 million workers around the globe by 2030 across all industries. In automotive, this is something we already see the effects of. And it isn’t just affecting engineering, software development, and logistics, but also marketing. I work with businesses across different facets of the industry, and they’re facing a serious skills shortage when it comes to finding writers.
Whether it’s looking for writers with DIY mechanical knowledge of cars or those that know about using AI tools to deliver over-the-air updates, finding the right people can be a struggle. Often, even when a writer seems to have the right knowledge, they don’t have the content writing experience the client needs.
Freelancers Are Busy
Along with being an automotive tech writer, I also run a content marketing agency. It specializes in e-mobility, and much of our work is highly technical. We’ve been able to train new writers to tackle these complex topics. However, when freelance support would be helpful, many expert writers are too busy to take on anything for at least a few months.
In fact, it’s very much a freelancer’s market right now. There’s lots of work out there, and many can pick and choose the jobs they really want, as well as those that pay the best. Recently, I had a freelancer leave a client’s team because she wanted to focus on articles that gave her a byline rather than ghostwritten pieces — despite the fact it was well-paid work.
A recent survey showed that 42% of freelancers saw an increase in demand since March 2020, a result of businesses reacting to the turbulent talent market. Because many marketing teams are cutting back on hiring full-time employees, they’re leaning on freelancers’ skills.
Freelance Rates vs. Business Budgets
Because these expert freelancers can charge a premium for their work, they’re often well outside the budget for smaller automotive brands. So even where writers are available, these businesses often can’t afford their rates.
A study that surveyed UK freelance professionals showed an average increase in rates of 5% in 2021, compared to the previous year, with the most sought-after disciplines seeing up to a 25% increase. This is, effectively, pricing some cash-strapped businesses out of the market.
How to Find Automotive Tech Writers
While many freelancers are upping their rates and scaling back how much work they take on, it’s still possible to find skilled automotive writers. Here are some tips:
Know where to look
If you need expert writers, look for platforms that provide content creation services. Sites such as nDash have a bank of freelance talent with a wide range of skills. Tapping into a freelance network such as this is often quicker than seeking out the perfect freelancer through other means.
Find the balance
The most experienced writers can often turn their hand to technical topics without much prior knowledge. However, this still pressures editors and those reviewing the articles to ensure the technical details are correct. On the other hand, the writers with the most expertise don’t always have the style or experience you need, again putting pressure on editors to get the content ready for publishing.
The holy grail of a technical and experienced writer does exist. Often, you can go far in your content development with less experienced writers, especially if you have a trusted editor. It’s important to balance these needs with cost.
Understand the value of content
Good content is worth paying for. I’m not just saying that because I’m in the business of content marketing, but studies have shown that poor content costs both time and money. Yes, an experienced specialist writer might cost significantly more than a generalist just starting. Still, you’ll save on editing hours, increase ROI, and see the results of your content strategy more quickly.
Put in the time
When you find a promising writer, train them on your style guide, your products, and the more technical elements of your work. I have a client specializing in a very niche area of the logistics industry, and it’s been almost impossible to find writers with that specific experience.
Instead, I’ve looked for writers with basic industry knowledge and a style that fits the client’s needs. It’s taken time to introduce them to the products and the technology, but now I have a small team of writers I can rely on, which has cut the time I take to edit each story by half.
Find Automotive Tech Writers to Fuel Your Content Creation Process
Finding automotive tech writers can be challenging. But with the right approach and patience, it’s possible to build a team that will aid your content development for years. To find out more about how nDash works and how you can start searching for writers for free, click here.
Jess Shanahan specializes in business, motoring, and technology features. Some of her past clients include Cybereason, Goodyear Tire, ETQ, and Jaguar Land Rover. Hire Jess for your next automotive tech assignment today!