To run a successful online business, you need to consistently produce high-quality content. Whether it’s blog posts for your website, marketing copy for your social media ads, or content for your email newsletters, you need top-notch content to attract customers, drive traffic to your website, and drive sales.
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But if you don’t have the time and skill to write, creating compelling content can prove challenging. That’s where freelance writers come in. Great freelance writers can help you create engaging content that saves you time and helps you attract the right customers.
But with thousands of freelance writers available on freelance websites, how do you go about hiring a suitable writer? If you’re looking to hire, here are eight essential things you need to know before hiring your first freelance writer.
1. Request for Writing Samples
Conducting an interview and looking over a freelance writer’s resume can tell you a lot about the writer, but doing these things won’t help you gauge the writer’s writing. Instead, checking out the writer’s published work is the best way to determine if the writer is a good fit for your company.
You can vet prospective writers by checking out their websites or profiles on sites like Medium for portfolio examples. Alternatively, you can also ask prospective candidates to send you samples they’ve written when they apply for your job listing.
Once you receive the samples, use a writing tool to check for spelling, grammar and punctuation errors. Additionally, use a plagiarism checker to ascertain the work belongs to the writer. Also, check if the writer’s pieces fit with your company’s brand personality. If the writer’s samples check all these boxes and captivate you, you may want to hire or shortlist the writer.
2. Test Potential Writers
Once you check out some samples and find a freelance writer that has great samples, consider offering the writer a short, paid test. While it will take some time and money, offering the writer a paid test is an excellent way to determine whether they can write pieces relevant to your industry.
You may also want to ask prospective writers to take tests to assess their language proficiency. Doing this is especially important if you decide to hire writers who aren’t native English speakers.
3. Interview the Writer
If the writer passes the test, you’ll still need to interview them to determine if they’re a good fit for your company. Some key questions you should ask during the interview include:
- What industries do you specialize in?
- What do you write about often?
- What do you enjoy writing about?
- How would you describe your writing tone?
- What’s your research process when writing new content?
- How do you deal with writing about topics you’re not knowledgeable about?
- Do you have experience conducting interviews?
- Do you know how to write content optimized for search engines?
- How many words can you comfortably write in a day?
- How much time do you take to complete a piece?
- What are your working hours?
- Are you comfortable performing revisions if necessary?
- What are your rates?
- How many revisions are included in your rates?
- Do you have any content ideas for my business?
While these questions aren’t exhaustive, they are great questions that can help you determine whether the freelance writer will be a good match for your business.
4. Get References
Writing samples and interviews can reveal a lot about a writer’s skill and personality. However, ask for references if you want to learn more about the writer. Good freelance writers will usually be glad to refer you to past clients who can vouch for them. Speaking to references can help you gain insights into the freelancer’s strengths, work ethic, flexibility, and more.
You can also check out the freelancer’s social profiles for reviews, particularly LinkedIn. Many freelancers usually have recommendations from clients they’ve worked with on the platform.
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5. Develop a Communication Plan
When working with a freelance writer, you’ll need to establish a communication plan that works for you and the writer. Decide whether you’ll communicate via email, text, or an instant messaging app.
Then, once you decide on a communication plan, establish a system for how articles should be submitted. Decide whether you want the writer to send you Word documents via email or whether you’d like the writer to work on a platform like Google Docs.
Having a clear communication plan and a system for article submission will streamline the process, reducing the possibility of things getting overlooked.
6. Create an Onboarding Process
While freelance writers may not be part of your in-house team, onboarding them is still important. Onboarding freelancers can allow you to familiarize them with your company and its processes.
When onboarding freelance writers, provide them with resources that can familiarize them with your company, like explainer videos and a brand style guide. Also, introduce them to team members they’ll work with often on projects.
Onboarding freelance writers can help them acclimate to the new role and make them feel like they’re part of the team even if they don’t work on-site, making it great for morale. Plus, it can increase new-hire productivity, according to a study.
7. Decide If You’ll Pay a Fixed or Hourly Rate
Most freelance writers are usually paid per article, but some are paid hourly. Decide whether you’ll pay a fixed or hourly rate before hiring the writer. While both payment options have their pros, a fixed rate can give you the flexibility to pay per article or word. However, if you pay per word, give the writer the estimated word count to avoid issues down the line.
8. Choose a Payment Method
Once you settle on either a fixed or hourly rate, you’ll need to determine how you will pay the writer. You can opt to pay the writer via online gateways like PayPal, Stripe, Payoneer, among several others. Alternatively, you can choose to settle payments via bank transfer. Ideally, pick a method that works best for both parties. While you’re at it, you should also create a payment schedule so that the writer knows when to expect payment for work done.
Nearly 40% of marketers consider content marketing essential to their overall marketing strategy, meaning it’s something you can’t afford to ignore.
Finding a freelance writer to help you create high-quality content can prove challenging, but with these tips, you’ll find a talented writer in no time.
Jade Bloom, the marketing director for the Content Panel, is an avid bibliophile who spends much of her time in bookstores, eagerly searching for the next bestseller to consume.