Freelance writers aren’t very hard to spot, but finding amazing freelancers can be something else entirely. It usually takes a lot of trial and error to find wordsmiths that suit your goals and business, and even then, they may disappoint in some areas. There are ways around this, though, that can save you time and money.
Looking to generate more leads and sales in 2015? Ready to take your business to the next level? Before you go spending on SEO and costly ad campaigns, streamline your content creation process. Learn how to spot fantastic writers online. Your company is only as effective as the people it employs, or indeed, outsources to.
Freelance Writers: How to Spot the Great Ones
1. They have an awesome website.
Most writers have a website, these days, but you will know when you come across a great one. The design is professional, the copy is engaging (free of careless mistakes and correctly search engine optimized), and the blog is actively maintained. Another thing you’ll want to look for is a meaty portfolio with quality samples and contactable references.
2. Top companies hire them.
Speaking of portfolios, who’s been hiring this person? Where has their content been published? Are his or her clients repeat clients or just one-offs? The answers to these questions can help you find amazing freelance writers. However, consider that he or she may be new to the industry and might not have had time to build up a quality portfolio.
3. Their content gets shared.
People love to share content that is interesting, informative, funny, and useful, or even controversial. If the stuff your potential freelancer writes tends to get shared a lot on Facebook, Twitter, and other popular social media sites, it indicates that he or she knows how to engage readers. That is the kind of person you want writing for your business.
4. Their posts spark conversation.
A lot of thoughtful comments below their blog posts is another good indicator of engagement. You want freelance writers who can get people talking. Posts that don’t get non-spam comments generally have one of two problems: the content doesn’t interest readers, or the blog doesn’t get very much traffic. Sometimes it’s both. Either way, beware.
5. Others cite their work.
This is perhaps one of the best ways to spot an amazing writer. Authors who cite (and link out to) other authors are often well acquainted with their topic/industry and want to add value to their posts. They wouldn’t be citing your prospective writer unless they found his or her content useful, interesting, and/or authoritative. Their rep is on the line.
6. They are booked.
Freelance writers who are booked are usually booked for a reason, especially if they are booked way in advance. It shows that clients value their work – so much so that they are willing to wait to procure their services. Granted, waiting around for writers to become available may not suit every business and project, but if you can, it might be worth it.
7. They aren’t cheap.
Amazing writers command amazing rates; they don’t charge pennies. Actually, rates can vary wildly, but if the freelancer is revered and highly sought after, you can expect prices to be toward the upper end of the scale. Some charge flat rates. Others charge by the hour. A deposit is typically a requirement. Most of them don’t display prices on their websites.
Tips for Hiring Freelancers
Ask the right questions.
Asking potential freelancer writers the right questions helps you avoid problems and disappointments. Do you provide images? What is your revision policy? Can you meet my deadlines? These are the types of questions to ask. Be sure to communicate your goals and expectations clearly.
Avoid paying by the hour.
As mentioned, some freelancers charge fixed rates, while others charge by the hour. Many offer both options. Hourly rates are fine, but they leave you open to exploitation. This can cost you money, particularly if your project is long term. Always negotiate a fixed rate if possible.
Offer a byline.
If you have a particular writer in mind for your project, but you are on a tight budget, consider offering a byline (author credit) in exchange for a reduced fee. This way, you still get high-quality content and the freelancer gets to build up his or her portfolio. It’s a win-win situation.
How do you spot amazing freelance writers for your business? Please share your tips in the comments below.