As a small business owner, hiring freelance writers may be something that you do quite regularly, or at least, something that you plan on doing. What choice do you have, right? In-house writers are expensive, and content is king. You need it for your website, your marketing, and your clients – you need it to stay relevant in your industry.
But are you doing it right? Are you hiring the right people for the job? You might not be, and a simple oversight can cost you time and money when you’re outsourcing content. The wrong freelancers can even sink your business. The next time that you hire a freelancer to handle your writing, keep the following eleven things in mind.
Hiring Freelance Writers: 11 Things to Keep in Mind
1. They Are Freelancers
Freelancers freelance because it allows them work on their terms. Higher earning potential. No boss breathing down their neck. More time to spend with family and friends. As a freelancer, he or she creates their own hours. It’s about freedom! Your aggressive approach could scare some people off.
2. They Are Writers
Writers, like other creative types, can be eccentric. They can be sensitive and “rough around the edges”. Sometimes, you may even find that they have – dare I say it – large egos, especially if their services are in high demand. If you have the time and patience, you could hire a very talented writer, though.
3. Education Matters
When you are hiring freelance writers, you want someone who has a good command of the English language; someone with a relevant college degree. Of course, it depends on your particular needs and business, but a diploma in writing, communications, or something related is usually a plus.
4. Experience Matters More
There is no substitute for hands-on experience. There are things that they don’t teach in college, and raw talent can only take you so far. A writer who has been doing it for a while professionally will have read more, written more, taken more criticism, and experienced various successes and failures.
5. There Are Different Types of Writers
Bloggers blog. Copywriters write copy. Technical writers produce content for manuals, user guides, whitepapers, etc. While many wordsmiths are multi-skilled, hiring freelance writers who specialize in the type of writing that you need for your business ensures a better outcome.
6. Not All Freelance Writers Have Great Resumes
While education and experience should be considered, note that some writers may not have either, or their background may not be relevant. That doesn’t mean that they aren’t capable. It could be that he or she changed career paths and/or is breaking into the industry.
7. They Might Not Be Able to Show You Their Best Stuff
Some of the best writers out there are ghostwriters. Many of them are bound by the terms of binding contracts and nondisclosure agreements, so they may not be able to show you previously published works. Professional writers do usually have samples, however.
8. You Get What You Pay For
Yes, cost is a factor when you’re on a shoestring budget, but cutting corners when hiring freelance writers is a mistake. Any money that you save initially is just not worth the lost time, aggravation, and broken reputation. Look at content creation as an investment, rather than an expense.
9. He or She Should Be a Good Fit
Good writers are great, and the great ones can really put your company on the map, but not all of them will suit your business. The ideal writer understands your industry, can work effectively with any of your team members, and has no problem fitting in with your work schedule.
10. They Don’t Trust You
Don’t be surprised if your freelancer isn’t flexible when it comes to payment terms. While your intentions may be honorable, many freelance writers have been ‘burned’ before and will question your motives if you mention paying after delivery. Be prepared to put down at least a 50% deposit.
11. Professionals Can Be Booked Way in Advance
When hiring freelance writers, it’s not uncommon to find that they are booked months in advance, which may not suit your project and business. However, there is probably a reason why the freelancer is fully booked. With the right approach, he or she may be able to squeeze you in.
Do you outsource your content to freelancers? Have a few good tips on hiring freelance writers? Please share in the comments.