Hiring freelance writers makes perfect sense when you run a small business or startup. There is only so much you can do yourself. Sure, at the outset, you may be the marketing, accounting, sales, and support departments all rolled into one, but as the company grows, you will need help – especially with the content creation.
To stay relevant and competitive online, it takes more than just a few static website pages, these days – you need a content marketing strategy. Writing can be a time-consuming task (not to mention a tedious one), and producing winning copy and blog posts isn’t everybody’s forte. This is where freelance writers come in handy.
Not only will they work according to your schedule and budget, but they can often create better content than you can, and in a fraction of the time. They’re writers. Granted, not every writer is a good one, and not every good one has the necessary skills and expertise, but the right wordsmith can be an invaluable asset.
The perfect writer is flexible. He is reliable. She is professional, competent, and affordable. Very importantly, this person takes the time to study your business and is suited to the jobs that you need done, allowing you to focus on other areas that may need attention. Here is how you go about finding him or her…
How to Find Perfect Freelance Writers: 4 Easy Steps
1. Identify Your Needs
Finding a freelancer to fulfill the needs of your business will prove difficult if you haven’t established what they are. Why are you outsourcing your content? How much of it do you need? What are your goals – website traffic, lead generation, sales, thought leadership?
These are important questions. Unless you can communicate your objectives to your future bloggers and copywriters, they will not be able to deliver. Other questions to ask… What specific qualifications should they have? Is industry experience a must? Would he or she be ghostwriting? How much research and labor do the tasks require?
2. Find Your Writer
Once you know what you need and why, it’s time to find your freelance writers. Start with your employees.
Are there hidden talents within your ranks that have gone unnoticed? Explore them. Next, head over to your blog. Do any of the commenters or guest posters stand out as viable candidates? Another great place to source writing talent is social media networks. You can find professional writers on sites like LinkedIn, Twitter, and Google+ if you do a little digging. Freelance sites are another option, though working through their systems can be impractical. You can also find quality writers on discussion forums.
3. Test Your Writer
Testing the candidates on your shortlist is the next step. Depending on how and where you found your prospective freelance writers, your approach here may be different. On freelance sites, for example, the only way to test a writer is by ordering content – which you might pay for and not like. In general, a good testing method is by asking them to complete an assignment. Perhaps even a writing proficiency test. Naturally, you will have studied their portfolio and samples first. If you are hiring a blogger, ask them to write a post. Throw a few ‘curve balls’ into the brief. Suggest paying for it only if published.
4. Hire Your Writer
Finally, it’s time to do the hiring – wisely. Consider everything before deciding on your freelance writers. That includes their willingness to complete a potentially unpaid blog post. This can tell you a lot. Consider their qualifications, experience, proficiency, and attention to detail (important). Another thing you might want to look at before entering into any contract or agreement (yes, you need one) is their personality. Is this person the right fit for your business? Remember, you could be working with him or her long term. Once you have looked at the full picture, go ahead and hire your perfect writer.
Managing Your Freelancers and Bloggers
Finding the perfect freelance writers for your business is great, but managing your content creators is crucial. Though he or she may not be an official company employee, you will still need to provide useful feedback, guidance, and training, keep them in the loop about the latest company developments, and measure performance.
Regular interaction is key when dealing with freelancers. Keeping the lines of communication open enables you to maintain a solid relationship and determine your ROI. A hands-on management approach keeps your writers happy, informed, and inspired. Just don’t be too hands-on, as this could have the opposite effect.
Do you outsource your content to freelance writers? How did you find and assemble the perfect content creation team? Tell us in the comments.