It’s understandable to be skittish about hiring a freelance writer if you’ve never done it before.
You might imagine that as soon as you find one you like, they’ll scatter like a cockroach when someone turns on the light. But unlike cockroaches—which once they arrive won’t seem to go away without bombing the building—your freelancer is gone to never be found again.
It doesn’t have to be that way.
Here’s a secret: Freelancers are equally nervous that you’ll pull a magic trick and disappear without paying them. And if it’s a good fit, what they really want is a long-term writing relationship with you.
It’s a symbiotic relationship where you both get your needs met. You receive:
- Great content.
- Consistent work.
The writer gets to:
- Use their creative chops.
- Have work flexibility.
- Make a living.
But let’s not get ahead of ourselves. A lot of that writer-client relationship is about managing content writers you already have. First, you have to hire some.
So let’s take it back a notch:
- How do you even find a freelance writer to begin with?
- How do you find the right one?
- What is the hiring process like?
I want to demystify these questions for you.
And before that, it’s important to understand how you’ll work with a freelancer. You need to already have an understanding of the role of a freelancer and an idea of your content strategy before you start the hiring process.
Let me take out my crystal ball—or maybe rely on years of experience in freelance writing and content marketing—to help you understand the process of hiring a freelance writer. Here are some of the top things you need to know.
1. What Is the Importance of Hiring a Freelance Writer?
A freelance writer is an expert in their craft, which is writing for businesses. These writers are able to help you execute a content marketing plan that attracts the right people to your web content and helps them connect to your brand.
Content writing can provide all sorts of functions for your business. A few of these include:
Of course, you need certain factors for effective content marketing. These include:
This is where skilled freelancers come in. These are professional writers who have experience in content marketing. They understand how to craft a well-written piece that follows industry standards and SEO best practices.
They know the words to use, how to string those words and sentences into a coherent piece of content, and how to connect to your audience through the way they write and the message they convey.
And when you use a freelance writer, you gain flexibility just as the writer does. You don’t have to actually hire someone as an employee, or offer them benefits or a workspace for them to hunch over their keyboard.
You simply contract with a freelance writer on a project-by-project basis.
You can always set up ongoing or full-time work with a freelancer as well, as long as it works for the writer, too. And if you only need a writer from time to time, keep in mind the same one may not always be available.
It’s good to set up communication, and sometimes you may need a team of writers to meet all of your content needs.
Start With a Plan
You will improve your content marketing by having a strategy and plan in place when you begin working with your freelance writers. Without that, your writers will have a hard time providing effective content.
That’s why the freelance writer probably won’t be the only person working on your content marketing. Your business will also benefit from other professionals like:
- A content strategist to plan out the best path forward with your content.
- A designer to create the best visual appeal for words and images on a page.
Nonetheless, the writer is an integral part of your content marketing team. Your freelance copywriter, content writer, or blogger enraptures your audience with the story of your brand and nudges them to the finish line to purchase your products or services.
When truly effective, the writing connects so much with the reader that they want to consistently come back for more. The writing and branding touch them just as deeply as the most heartfelt inspirational message—or the best ice cream cone they’ve ever had.
2. How Much Does a Freelance Writer Cost?
It’s good to be knowledgeable about the cost of content creation before you start your hiring process.
Freelance rates vary wildly, as much as paint shades in a home decor magazine. But don’t let that throw you off. It’s no different than any other product or service—you’ll find different vendors with a range of price points. This allows you to use pricing as one of the factors for finding the best person for you.
When you’re considering price, keep in mind that the lowest price isn’t everything. You may need a lot of content on a limited budget, and that’s understandable.
But the lowest price tends to get you a new writer rather than a guru. You’ll likely get a beginner who will churn out your content without much effort for a quick buck, or content with a lot of mistakes and problems.
Sure, you might find that hidden gem who writes well at a low rate. But even that freelance writer won’t find it sustainable to type-type-type endlessly without quite making ends meet. And they won’t have the time or energy to put their full effort in if they have to keep up with high quantities of content to balance a low rate.
As with anything, you get what you pay for. Offering a fair value for the effort, skill, and knowledge of research and writing will generally yield better results. And your business will be rewarded for quality content in time, as that’s what benefits SEO and helps you connect to your target audience.
Freelancers have different rates based on a variety of factors. Some include:
Just as an employee would likely make a higher salary for years of experience and credentials, a freelance writer can as well. And certain types of writing, such as copywriting or heavily researched pieces, tend to come at a higher rate. You’ll also find higher rates in certain industries, such as high-tech or software as a service (SAAS).
Overall, you’ll want to look at different writers in your field and compare them. Likely, you’ll look for a balance of the right price with the right skills, knowledge, experience, and writing style.
The WriterAccess model is based on subscriptions that give you tiered access to the platform and its features. Then, you purchase pieces of content as you need them. Content prices vary by each freelancer’s rate, or you can request custom quotes.
3. What Type of Content Will a Freelance Writer Offer?
Types of content are just as varied as pricing or the writers themselves. While at first this may seem as overwhelming and terrifying as a swarm of wasps messing up your perfect hairstyle, you’ll soon see the value in having a wide pool of writers to choose from.
This means you can wade through the field of shamrocks to find that perfect four-leaf clover you’ve been searching for!
When you know where to find freelance writers and how to find the best match—which this article will get deeper into shortly—you can find a writer to give you the type of content you need.
It’s possible to find writers who are knowledgeable about the industry you’re in, while they can also fill in knowledge gaps through research. So in many cases, you’ll want to choose writers specialized in your field. If you have a medical office, consider a health or medical writer, while a technology company would usually do well with a tech writer and so on.
However, there is also a place for general writers who are well-rounded.
Type of Writing
Freelance writers can offer a range of content types depending on each writer’s skills and experience. Choose a writer by the type of writing you need. In some cases, a writer may be able to adapt to different types of writing. In other cases, you may choose to have specialized writers for each role.
Here are some types of writing a content writer can provide:
There are other types of writing as well, such as white papers, press releases, landing pages, and emails. Think about your needs and seek out writers who are capable of that type of writing, preferably in your industry.
Also, think about whether you want the writer to have their name and photo associated with your brand through a byline. The other option is to hire a ghostwriter.
You may also want to consider type of content in terms of writing style and voice. While a great writer can usually adjust to different writing styles, some may be able to capture your particular brand voice and tone better than others.
4. What Qualities Should I Look for in a Freelance Writer?
When you have a list of freelance writers in front of you, how do you compare them? Take a look at the qualities you read about above to choose the perfect writer for your needs. Instead of only looking at one factor, you should be thinking about numerous factors in tandem.
You may have other qualities that matter to you. Customize your search to what works for you.
5. How to Find and Hire a Freelance Writer
Hopefully, the above information gave you deeper know-how on how to prepare for hiring a freelancer. Now, let’s dive into the practical aspects of how you go about finding and hiring your freelancer(s).
Where to Find Freelance Writers
First things first. Before comparing freelancers for the right fit, you need to find the writers. I don’t want you sitting there staring at the cursor on the Google home page wondering what to do next. Where do you start?
There are different ways to find writers, and each comes with pros and cons. Here are some of those methods for you to consider.
You could go to in-person networking or marketing events. These may be effective if they draw a large pool of writers or are targeted to your industry. Otherwise, they may not provide you with writers who have the expertise you need.
Many businesses ask for referrals for writers from other small business owners or marketing managers they know. This can be beneficial because you know the client had a positive experience with this writer. On the other hand, your business may not have the same writing needs or the same writer-client fit.
The internet is often the way to go. It allows you to search specific to your needs.
One method is to put search terms into Google and see what comes up. Based on the needs you determined above, you could put in terms such as “fitness writers” or “home decor blog writers.” Most likely, a search will show you some writers, agencies, and platforms that have related skills.
You may have a fruitful search this way. On the other hand, there are downsides. You may get overwhelmed with search results or find irrelevant results. Also, you might find writer websites but be unsure of the writer’s previous experience or trustworthiness.
Some clients reach out to writers through social media. You can perform searches and find people who have listed their profession. LinkedIn is the most professional way to achieve this goal. You can connect and send messages to writers this way.
Otherwise, you might try a more social platform, such as Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram. Many people have professional pages they use to market their writing services. It’s also possible to find writers through private writing or marketing groups, especially on Facebook, or with related hashtags.
Writing platforms connect writers (and sometimes other creative professionals) with clients. The method can vary, but platforms are usually the opposite of job boards. Instead of clients posting listings, writers create profiles that clients can search, browse, and read.
Profiles show features like a writer’s qualifications and experience. They make it easy to see a writer’s specialties and their personality through the way they present themselves. Also, writers generally share writing samples to give you an idea of their experience, skills and writing style.
An upside of platforms is that they give you control over searching for writers and choosing the ones you like. Platforms generally have safety measures in place that protect you from scams, poor writing or an MIA writer when you’re waiting for a completed assignment.
They provide a large pool of writers so your writing needs are met. Also, writers are usually vetted to be on the site.
Some downsides are that many professional writers do not offer their services on the platforms. You have to work within the constraints and rules of the site, which may or may not fit your creative needs. Also, you’ll generally pay subscription fees, although you get services in return.
On many platforms, you’re left on your own to search for writers. A benefit of WriterAccess is that it has services to help you find the right fit. These include:
- Using managed services with a staff member to help you find and manage writers. (Here is more information about managed services.)
- Adding a casting call, which is like a job listing for WriterAccess writers.
- Finding writers with the Style Metrics Matcher, which lets AI find your writer.
- Searching for talent by type, industry, and content type and then perusing and comparing the profiles that come up. (Make sure to read writing samples through the profile.)
Hiring Your Writer
When you find a writer you want to work with, what do you do next? The hiring process will vary by the guidelines of where you found your writer. You’ll want to follow the methods of the job board, platform or other arena where you found your writer, if there are any.
For example, you might sign a contract with a writer or sign up for a subscription with a writing platform.
That said, the best way to start is usually by communicating with the writer. On WriterAccess, you can do this by sending a direct message through the platform. Another option is to ask if the writer would talk over a paid WriterAccess conference call.
Tell the writer a bit about your company, your writing needs and anything else that is important to you.
You’ll generally get more interest by discussing a specific assignment than by making vague inquiries that the writer thinks may never materialize. Ask if they are interested in your project and have the availability for it.
This is where we go back to the content marketing strategy. As mentioned above, it’s best if you already have a clear idea of your content plan before you start working with a freelance writer. If not, you may want to get that in place before choosing and communicating with your writer.
If the writer has an interest in your project, that’s the first step in the right direction! Then, you may discuss the relationship further. Or you may go ahead and send the first assignment.
Try a paid trial to see if a writer is the right fit. Have the writer(s) you found complete one assignment, such as a blog post. This will give you a great idea of whether the writing and work style will fit your needs and vice versa.
With WriterAccess, you have protections in place to help you feel comfortable with this process. For example, you can ask for revisions and know that your delight is guaranteed by the platform.
Keep in mind that your assignment directions will impact the writer’s ability to succeed. With the first assignment, make sure to give as much information as possible.
Give the writer specific direction on what you’re looking for, but avoid giving so much information the writer gets lost in the depths, never to be seen again.
See some more do’s and don’ts of hiring a freelance writer.
Once you have found a writer who’s a good fit, you can send more assignments and continue your working relationship.Click here to start a 14-day free trial and start communicating with experienced writers. Or go here to contact WriterAccess for assistance with hiring a freelance writer on the platform.