Having a top quality freelance writer produce articles for your blog can bring numerous benefits. Thoroughly researched and well-written articles help increase traffic to your site and create a community of engaged readers. Hiring writers is a normal cost of building a WordPress website, and having some else write your posts will free up your time, enabling you to focus your efforts on other areas of the business. But how do you go about finding and retaining a successful and reliable freelancer?
In this article, we will discuss where you can find a freelance writer and what you should look for when employing one. Importantly, we will then think about what terms you should discuss with a freelancer before they start writing for you.
Where to Find a Freelance Writer
There are a number of ways to find a freelance writer, and there are plenty of writers out there waiting to be found. However, the key is to look in the right place, so you end up with a top quality writer, suitable for your niche.
Place an Advert
One way to find a freelance writer is to place an advert on a prominent site like Upwork, PeoplePerHour, or Pro Blogger. These sites have large numbers of freelancers regularly trawling their pages looking for gigs. Depending on what you are looking for, you may find someone with the right skill set on one of these sites.
However, advertising for a freelancer can end up being a lengthy process. In reply to your advert you will be inundated by applicants. Among the candidates, there may well be someone very suitable for your blog. There will also be a lot of unsuitable responses, with people trying their luck in an area of writing they have no experience in. Often identifying the best writers can be extremely time-consuming.
Seek Out Writers
Seeking out writers can sometimes be a better way of finding high-quality freelancers. Look at blogs in your niche to see who is writing on them. Check out the author bio boxes at the end of an article, as these usually contain a link to the writer’s website.
A Google search is another way to find a freelance writer. By searching for freelance writers in your field, there may be a selection of writer’s websites that you can browse.
What to Look for When Employing a Freelance Writer
When selecting a freelance writer, firstly always look at their website to get a feel for what they do and what they offer. If, on first impressions, they are compatible with your blog and its needs, then you can continue with further checks.
When employing a freelance writer, you ideally want someone who has experience in your field. However, if this isn’t possible, you need to check that they at least write to the standard you are looking for.
A portfolio page on a writer’s website displays a selection of their work. It should show work from different sites and if possible from different genres. Here you will be able to gauge their style and quality, which will help you decide whether this writer is a good fit for your site.
If possible always try and look at a writer’s portfolio page before you contact them. This can save both you and them much wasted time if it turns out you aren’t keen on their work.
Most writers websites will include a testimonials page. This will help you understand what the writer is like to work with, if they are reliable, punctual and accurate with the work they turn in.
However, if a writer’s website doesn’t have many testimonials, don’t be put off. Testimonials can be overlooked if the work on the portfolio page is of high quality.
Check the Price and Availability
Freelancers will all have a ballpark price that they write for. A quote will be per article or per word, depending on what you ask for or what they prefer. Always ask their rates in the initial email so as not to waste time. They may be an amazing writer, but if you can’t afford their prices then there is no point going any further.
Never try to undercut a writer’s rates by too much. Although they may agree to your lower price, you work won’t be their top priority. And when a better paying gig comes along, you will be the first client to be dropped.
As well as price, always ask about a writer’s availability, or stipulate what sort of arrangement you are looking for. Many writers are very busy, but will prioritize regular work over one off articles. If you are offering work on a monthly basis, then a writer may rework their schedule to make space for you.
What to Discuss with a Freelancer Before Employing Them
Once you have found a freelancer that you think is suitable for your website, it is time to discuss the extras that make for a smooth working relationship.
Discuss before hand how you are going to stay in touch with your writer. Would you like a monthly Skype date? Does your company use Slack or Trello? If neither of you have a preference then email will suffice.
Have clear guidelines on what you want. Many employers create a Style Guide for their writers, so it is clear what is expected. This should include specifics like heading types and image sizes, etc. This will help increase the chance of getting what you want in a finished article.
Some employers like an article to be submitted by a set date. Others are just happy for articles to be handed in by the end of the month. If you have a specific timetable then let your writer know and come to an arrangement that suits both of you.
Check beforehand if your writer is happy to make revisions to an article if there is a problem with it. Most writers will review an article if necessary. However, if you are regularly returning articles then you need to look again at whether your writer is genuinely a good fit with your blog, or if you are being too fussy.
If there are any extras you want your writer to complete, aside from the writing, make that clear at the start. Do you want them to respond to comments on your blog, or share their work on social media? Most writers will be happy to do this but it should be discussed at the beginning so everyone is clear on expectations.
Most writers prefer to publish content under their own name. An author bio box under each article, containing personal information and a link to their website, is common practice. If you want someone to ghostwrite for you then you need to specify this when you first make contact with the writer. You may well need to pay more for someone to write under your name, so discuss this early on.
Method of Payment
Always check the method of payment before any writing commences. Most freelance writers use PayPal, so if you use another payment method check with them first that that option is ok. Remember, some freelance writers live overseas, and won’t have access to US bank accounts.
Also, check when your writer wants to be paid. Some are happy to send an invoice at the end of the month. Others will want to be paid weekly, or after each article. If they ask for payment up front make sure you are comfortable with the arrangement first.
Ask for a Test Article
If you are the cautious type, it is more than acceptable to ask a writer to produce a test article. This is a one-off article to check the quality of their work. If you are happy with the results, you can publish it, and then work with the writer on future posts. If you are interested in going down the test article route, bear in mind that you should always offer to pay a writer for a tester.
A high-quality and reliable freelance writer is worth their weight in gold. So once you have found one make sure you keep hold of them. Check in with them on a regular basis, give them useful feedback, and pay them on time.
And remember, writer’s rates go up over time. If you have a freelance writer that you want to hold onto and has been working for you for some time, be sure to offer them a pay rise.
What has your experience been with working with freelance writer? Please share in the comments below.