A professional freelance writer can turn your content from drab to fab, drive readers to your door, and write engaging copy that will help make conversions. Finding the perfect writer for your business, blog or other endeavors can seem daunting, but it really comes down to a few basic steps and guidelines.
Whether you are looking for a ghostwriter for your blog, a copywriter for your website, or a business writer to create smart marketing content, the following guidelines can help you find the best freelance writer for your needs.
1. Know What You Want
Setting expectations upfront gives your potential writer a clear picture of what you’re looking for so they can help determine the best approach to content, pitch topics, establish a delivery schedule and set a reasonable fee structure.
Some things to consider before you hire a freelance writer include:
- Scope – Even if you are just looking for someone to write a single article or blog post, your project contains a range of expectations, including deadlines, word count, keyword usage, images, etc.
- Research – Are you looking for short, lighthearted topical blog posts or in-depth academic articles that require boatloads of research?
- Budget – How much can you spend over how much time?
- Calendar – Set deadlines and give your writer plenty of lead time.
Create an editorial calendar with detailed job descriptions, but don’t get too bogged down by the small print; leave room for your writer to work some magic.
2. Look at Published Work
One of the best ways to hire a freelance writer is to take note of the articles and posts that get your attention and contact the authors — more often than not, they’d love to have you as a client.
However, don’t automatically cross off writers who don’t have experience in your industry. A professional freelance writer will have the research and writing skills to do your business justice.
3. Ghostwriting vs. Bylines
A ghostwriter creates content that you publish under your own name. Ghostwriters help establish you as the authority that you are. However, writers do love a byline, and if ghostwriting fees are too high for your budget, consider offering a byline for a lower price. That way, you still get great content, and the writer adds another piece to his or her portfolio.
4. Know What a Freelance Writer is Not
Thanks in part to shows like Mad Men, many people read the word “copywriter” and expect that a freelance writer will come up with an entire advertising slogan and marketing campaign.
A freelance writer is not an ad agency and usually isn’t a brand strategist. While a good writer can offer suggestions and create alluring copy, articles, guides, and social or blog content, most of them are not equipped to help you design a logo, create an advertising strategy, or give feedback on images or website design.
5. Establish Communication Plans
You and your freelance writer will likely be building a long-distance relationship. While you may prefer daily phone calls or Skype sessions, your writer probably won’t.
Email is the preferred method of communication between writer and client, with occasional phone calls to touch base and stay on track, and sometimes even texts for a quick check-in. However, your relationship with your writer is unique; do whatever works for you both, just make sure to set communication expectations upfront.