5 Simple Steps to Hire Your New Favorite Freelance Writer
Online content marketing is a powerful way for businesses to reach potential clients, and there are thousands of experts all saying the same thing—you need content on your site. Whether you simply don’t have time to meet your own content demands, or you have no idea where to start, one thing is clear: it’s time to hire a professional writer.
Now, this seems like an easy enough thing to do. After all, you just hopped on Google and typed in “hire freelance writer” and… were you overwhelmed by the number of results you got? No worries, the same thing happened to me. That’s why I’m here to tell you exactly what you need to know to hire a freelance writer to rock your content and be the voice of your brand.
Why Hire a Freelance Writer?
So, you’ve finally reached the point where your “stuff to write” list is simply too long for you to ever accomplish on your own. Or maybe you’ve heard the term “content is king” and you want to make sure that your web presence rules. Or maybe you’re just not sure what blogging is, how to do it, what you should post about…
Point is—there’s a million reasons to hire a freelance writer for your company. There’s also a huge number of benefits to working with freelancers, too. Some of these include:
Flexibility to meet your needs
Fast, exceptional work
You can choose to work with freelancers who are experts in a very specific field when you need to, and you can get generalized content from writers who have experience working in a variety of fields. Freelance writers offer your business options.
How Do I Hire a Freelance Writer?
Hiring anyone can be an intimidating experience, but usually there’s less risk associated with hiring freelancers. You can commission a single piece from a writer to see if they meet your needs and expectations before negotiating a longer-term relationship. That still leaves us with the question of just how you hire your new favorite freelancer.
Not to worry! You don’t need to be a recruiting expert to find the perfect talent for your content—you just need to follow these 5 steps!
Step 1. Understand What You Need
Finding a freelance writer to hire will be much less frustrating for all involved if you can articulate what exactly you want to accomplish by hiring them. You may know you need content, but now is the time to sit down (and write down) your content needs.
Some questions you should ask yourself should be:
What exactly do I need written? There are many forms of content, and often writers have experience in one or several forms, such as blogs, video scripts, website copy, or e-books. Finding the right freelance writer to hire may depend on what you need written.
What is the technical level of writing that I need? If you’re looking for industry-specific pieces that are highly technical in nature, a writer who has experience in that industry (or niche, as it’s sometimes referred to) can go a long way in helping you get content you want to publish.
How many writers do I need? You may not have an answer to this question at first, but you may discover what works best for you later on. Working with one or two writers exclusively will allow for a deeper relationship and may benefit you since your writers will learn about your company and industry. Working with a variety of writers can diversify your content and provide a variety of writing styles.
Step 2. Decide Your Budget
Now, before you go ask Google how much you should pay your writers—hear me out. The costs of working with freelancers can vary widely, for a number of reasons. Your search is likely to return answers ranging from 1.2 cents per word to costs in the hundreds or thousands of dollars.
Here are some factors to consider when understanding what it will cost you to hire a freelance writer:
Quality and length of content
Experience of the writer
Expected turnaround time of projects
Individual freelancers’ rates
Ad copy: $10 to several thousand dollars
Web page copy: $50 to $1,000
Blog post: $25 to $300
E-book: $200 to $2,000
Social media posts: $5 to $25 per post
Video script: $100 to $1,000
These numbers are obviously ballpark figures. Highly technical content by experienced writers will be more expensive than general content produced by less-specialized freelancers. You get what you pay for, but that doesn’t mean that there isn’t value in working with freelancers who aren’t experts in your field but can provide content that your audience is interested in.
Step 3. Find Freelance Writers for Hire
There are several ways you can go about this. Most freelancers are found online, since that is largely where we work (though, from experience, you may also have luck posting a job advertisement in your local coffee shop). But the internet is a vast place, so it can feel a little like looking for a needle in a haystack. Here are some tried-and-true ways to find and hire a professional freelance writer.
Online Freelancing Marketplaces
Freelancer marketplaces, such as UpWork and Freelancer.com, are reputable sites that can connect freelancers with clients. On these sites, you can find a freelancer for nearly every type of content you could think of. These sites allow you to post a job listing and accept proposals from freelancers who are available for work. These sites also offer review and rating system, which can help you evaluate potential freelancers.
A more traditional route, job board sites like Indeed, Monster, and even Craigslist can be a place to look for freelancers. One downside to this method, however, is that you may not find as many freelancers in these spaces and will need to vet applicants on your own.
Word of mouth is still a powerful hiring method. Reach out to your social networks and ask fellow business owners about their experiences with working with freelance writers. They may be able to put you in touch with recommended writers—or warn you about freelancers who aren’t up to par.
Individuals and Agencies
Googling “copywriter for hire” or “freelance writer” will turn up a variety of sites, including some mentioned above, as well as individual freelancers and agencies focused on selling you writing or other marketing services. Agencies can be helpful, since you don’t need to vet writers on your own, but they may not fit your needs as well as an individual writer. An individual writer often can be found on their personal website (like this one!), and often will provide plenty of information about their services, their experience, and their portfolio. Working with an individual writer can allow for a stronger working relationship over time but may limit you to their unique writing style.
Step 4. Start Your First Project
Congratulations on finding a writer (or several) you want to work with! Now it’s time to get to work. Your first project will give you a chance to see what your new freelance writer can do for your business.
When providing your writer with their first project, it’s important to communicate everything clearly. This will set them up for success and help you get the results you want. Double check that everything looks correct in their proposal and approve it. You may also be asked to sign a contract. After that, it’s time for the freelance writer to get to work!
Here’s the four keys you should keep in mind when handing off a project:
Be crystal clear. Reduce confusion and delays by communicating your goals for this project, any necessary details or directions, and other requirements, like outlines, word counts, formatting styles, tone, and more.
Provide resources. If you have a specific piece you want your writer to reference, images you want used, examples of your company’s voice, or you can provide industry-specific information, make sure you communicate these resources to them.
Give examples. Even the most experienced writers can benefit from examples. If you have an ad you particularly like, a blog post of a similar style, or a landing page you think looks great, show them. It can help your writer produce a piece that is just what you were hoping for.
Establish communication and timelines. If you haven’t already, confirm due dates or other timelines for the project. If you want to see a first draft, tell them. Determine how edits will be handled. Establish the best person to contact if there’s any questions and the best methods of communication.
Step 5. Evaluate, Communicate, Reflect, and Repeat
This last step may be the most critical step in building a successful ongoing relationship with a freelance writer and receiving a product you’re pleased with. Upon receiving the project, take the time to:
Evaluate their performance. Did the writer meet all expectations? Did they go above and beyond in places? If deliverables weren’t correct, was it due to a lack of communication?
Communicate your feedback. Layout any necessary edits and provide feedback about changes you’d like to see. Any individual or service who is worth working with has an editing process, likely defined in their contract. Writing takes communication, so don’t expect a perfect first draft.
Reflect on what you learned. Working with a freelancer for the first time may be a learning experience. Think about what issues came up, and how they may be avoided in the future. This also can be a time to figure out if the freelancer or service you worked with was a good fit for you, or if you want to try something new.
Repeat! You’ve hired your first freelance writer and received a product from them. Now it’s time to apply what you’ve discovered and start planning your next content project.
You don’t need to feel daunted by the process of hiring a freelance writer to create content for your business. There are many options out there to help you find the freelancer writer of your dreams, you just have to get started! Have any tips for other business owners who want to hire a freelance professional? Let me know in the comments!
Like what I write, and want me to write for you? I’ve got good news! I’m available for hire. Get in touch with me to tell me about what you’ve got in mind for your next project.
Hi, I’m Allison! I’m a freelance writer who uses my experiences to help other creative freelancers manage the challenges of their jobs. I also work closely with non-profit organizations and small businesses to increase their online visibility and reach with social media-focused digital marketing content. Chat with me on Twitter at @alleywritesgood.