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A Guide to Hiring a Freelance Writer for your Blog

by Khusboo Aulakh

freelance writer

According to most dictionaries, a writer is a person who writes, yet when this definition is extrapolated to the online world, a writer becomes so much more than just someone who can write. A writer becomes the voice of your brand, they become a credible resource, and they become your entire online presence.

With the rise of Web 2.0, content marketing became a huge factor in determining the success of a brand. This content came in the form of articles, whitepapers, ebooks, vlogs, podcasts, and blogs. Blogs became a way of connecting with readers all around the world – they provide an insight into what your brand does, how to use your products efficiently, and provide readers with useful strategies and tips.

All this sounds cool, but blogging can be tough work, more so if you’re a small business owner. A small business owner has to wear many hats, and blogging is one aspect that requires a certain degree of skill.

Advantages of hiring a freelance writer

Professional Content

professional freelance writerWhen you hire a professional writer, you receive professionally written, well researched content. A professional writer spends time understanding your business and then creates content that not only resonates with your target audience, but also helps you acquire more readers.

Before hiring a writer, ask them for examples of similar content they’ve written for other clients, or how they plan on researching content for your website.

Market research and industry insight

When you’re busy looking at other aspects of your business, a writer can draw up statistics and data for your business, and even conduct interviews. This adds a lot of credibility to the content you write, again increasing readership. A good writer will always add their own ideas to your content plan, and also share best practices with you.

Most writers are also very savvy using social media and other methods of content marketing, so you can entrust this aspect of your work completely to them.

Affordable Costs

Hiring a freelance writer is cost effective compared to hiring a full time person on your team. Because the nature of the work is remote, you are not pressed for finding a great writer in your local area.

Before hiring a freelance writer, look at their rates in terms of the value you are getting. Freelance writing rates tend to vary depending on how experienced a writer is and how much research they are willing to do on your project.

The Editorial Freelancers Association has a rate list that can be used as a guide, or see this interesting infographic.

What factors should you look at apart from rates?

  • Portfolio
  • Client recommendations
  • Academic qualifications – though not completely relevant, academic credentials can make all the difference in case of medical or technical writing.

While the above listed points elicit the advantages of hiring a freelance writer, it may not be the best option in all situations. For example, a retail e-commerce with hundreds of products and constantly changing inventory should consider hiring a full time writer. A freelance writer may not be able to allocate 40 hours a week to your work, in which case there are chances that products may need to be put on the website without an accompanying description.

Things to keep in mind when hiring a freelance writer

Though there aren’t many ways you can go wrong with hiring a freelance writer, there are some things you must keep in mind:

  • Always ask for recommendations from previous clients. A professional writer will always have these available.
  • Ask to see portfolio of work. This gives you a good idea of their writing style.
  • Look them up on LinkedIn. LinkedIn recommendations and bios provide a good insight into the writer’s work style and business ethics.
  • Browse their blog or website. A freelance writer will most definitely have a blog or website which provides more information about their services.
  • Ask for a video or phone call. This helps develop trust and enables you to understand how the writer plans to handle your project.

How can you find freelance writers?

  • Freelance job boards such as Elance, Guru, and oDesk have a large directory of freelance writers. You can post your project requirement on the website and wait for interested writers to place a bid on your project. If you choose to take this route, remember to hire a writer based on the value you’re getting. Cheap is not always the best, and the best may not be cheap.
  • Problogger has a job board where clients can add their projects for a onetime fee of $50 for 30 days. It is one of the most widely read blogs in the world so the chances of your RFP being spotted by interested writers are pretty good.
  • Your local Craigslist is also a great resource for finding local talent or you can post your RFP and wait to receive proposals for interested writers.
  • Do a LinkedIn search for writers and send them an email (if their email address is publicly listed), or contact them through the LinkedIn message board. You can even ask for writer recommendations through LinkedIn Answers.

Irrespective of the platform you choose, make sure you write a detailed description of your project. This will help the writer understand your requirements clearly, and will also avoid any future scope creep problems for you and the writer.

Article by

Khusboo Aulakh writes on behalf of Office Genie, which features the largest online listing of spare desk space for freelancers.

Khusboo has written 1 articles at iBlogzone.com

1 Nandita B June 21, 2012 at 6:45 pm

Hiring an affordable freelance writer for premium content is always advisable for small and medium business blogs.

Thanks.

2

Karen Dyosa

June 22, 2012 at 2:59 am

A freelance writer is your best option when looking for a writer who will write a beautiful and quality content for you. Yes, it is cheap and I guarantee that it is effective.

3

James Pruitt

June 23, 2012 at 2:02 am

one thing that I have found with hiring writers is that it is better to find one you can build a long term relationship with rather than just hiring who ever is cheap for a one time project. This will keep the voice in line with your branding, and it helps to have someone who really understands your vision for your site, which will develop as you grow.

4

Zaeem

June 23, 2012 at 6:13 am

Hi Khushboo,
There is no doubt that content is the most important aspect of any internet business.
So if one cannot write content for himself the choice is either buy plr or hire a writer. But beginners hesitate to spend as finding a good choice is not an easy task. However in this article you have guided to genuine writers.
Thanks
Zaeem

5

Elena Anne

June 25, 2012 at 4:42 pm

Thank you for the helpful tips on hiring a freelance writer. Fortunately there are lots of websites to connect us to people in need of work. In addition, check out my new blog post on saving costs: http://yourlifetube.com/vitacost_coupon_codes/.

6

Jane

June 26, 2012 at 2:54 am

It is very important to be careful in choosing freelance writers. I’ve had a few bad experiences in the past. But it is good to have a writer (or more) if you have a few sites up and running. I have a carefully chosen team of writers for my niche sites.

Good article Kushboo!

7 Khushboo June 27, 2012 at 1:43 am

Thanks everyone! Glad to know this article is useful for you guys.

8 Sanjib Saha June 27, 2012 at 9:09 pm

Khusboo Good list where one can find good writers. In Freelancer.com you can post jobs and get good quality writers. But the problem with hiring freelance writer is that you can’t be sure about who the real writer is. Sometimes it may happen that the one you are dealing with is not the actual writer, and instead he has a team of writers. In that case the problem can be- as he has many writers, the writing style of different person is different. So all may not be equally good. What do you advice in such case?

9

Khushboo

June 28, 2012 at 7:06 pm

Hi Sanjib,

You raise a very important point. Content farms dominate most freelance bidding websites and degrade the industry. In this case, I suggest clients check the number of jobs done by the contractor, rates, client feedback, and contractor profile.

A large number of jobs over a time frame of say, two months, is a good indicator that the contractor farms out work. Client feedback for content farms is reflective of the work they provide – shoddy work = poor feedback. Also, most content farms quote rates which are much lower than market rates and in most cases, low rates means poor quality.

Look for language in their profiles that indicate if they are a content farm. Often, contractors that include more than ten specializations are likely a farm.

Hope this helps!

Khushboo

10

sanjay

June 29, 2012 at 9:34 am

If ever I will hire a writer, I’d go with more experience or being referred to by a friend. Since hiring is really hard especially if you’re running a small business. Also look for someone who wants to grow with your company.

11

Adam Parnala

July 4, 2012 at 2:39 pm

I’ve been a freelance writer for a while now but I only get a few writing jobs. Maybe it is because I’m not that good in looking for my prospected employers..

12

Nathan

December 7, 2012 at 6:26 am

Great article Khusboo, it is informative and very helpful. Thanks for sharing these tip with us. I sometimes hire freelance writer and with these I can improve my hiring ability. Asking for referral from past clients is a great way to assure the person you are going to hire has the skills and knowledge to do the job. In my personal experience you can’t actually assure that the person you are going to hire is capable for the job even you get them from legit sites, unless you test them first before you hire them. A friend of mine recommended me to look for freelance writer from Staff.com. It’s been weeks now since I’ve hire a freelance writer and its working great.

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