How to Hire a Freelance Content Writer

January 17, 2019

Today, the majority of B2B businesses maintain a blog on their websites to drive traffic and increase sales. If you don't have a blog yet, you're behind the competition. Creating content for a blog can take a lot of time and energy you may not have. That's why it's important to hire expert writers that can create informative and compelling content whether you're an industry heavyweight, startup, or a small business owner.

Freelance writers are subject matter experts that can create everything from landing pages and product descriptions to social media posts and white papers. The job title doesn't just include content creation, most of these writers are also skilled in content promotion and are content strategists and content managers. They have excellent proofreading and writing skills.

There are several different ways to hire a freelance content writer. The best methods will depend on what type of content you want to produce as well as the budget and marketing goals of your company. Here, we'll break down the process of hiring a freelance content writer and give you tips to get the job done right.

Where to Find Writers

Contact Writers You Admire Directly

If you've made it to this page, you've likely been thinking about hiring or looking for a freelance copywriter or content writer for a while. You may have done some preliminary research and checked out similar sites for content that you enjoy. If you have come across a writer you admire, reach out to them directly and see if they have the bandwidth for additional projects.

You can reach out to blog writers you've worked with in the past or source new writers entirely. Many expert writers maintain websites where they feature their contact information and previous writing work. Don't be afraid to ask mutual contacts to connect you with writers that may be a good fit for your company.

Post A Job Ad

One of the most common ways to hire a web content writer is to post an ad on popular job boards. Job boards like LinkedIn and Indeed may have the largest reach for freelancers, but that doesn't mean they'll always return the best quality applicants. You'll typically get hundreds of responses, but only a select few will be qualified.

In addition, post your writing job ad on freelance specific sites such as Upwork and Freelance Writing Gigs. Expert writers looking specifically for freelance content writer jobs frequent these job boards. Applicants on these niche sites tend to be higher quality and have more experience. They also can sign up for new job alerts so your job posting will reach qualified candidates as soon as it's posted.

You can also post local job ads in newspapers or on Craigslist if you want to restrict freelancing writers to your region. You can post on job boards located in Los Angeles, Santa Monica, New York, Chicago, San Francisco, Boston, or any other region you'd like. On these sites, you can find high-quality full-time professional writers or part-time bloggers for your site.

What to Include:

Clear Job Description

Start by posting a clear job description that includes all expectations and daily job duties. Let potential job seekers know if you expect them to publish and edit their own articles or if they'll be joining a larger editorial team. Make sure to emphasize any skills necessary to write content including experience with software or other products such as WordPress.

What Type of Content You're Looking For

Highlight what type of web content you want the writer to create. Expert content creators can write email newsletters to drive engagement or write blog articles tailored to target keywords to increase your company ranking on search engine sites.

Search engine optimization (SEO) is key to driving organic traffic and a great content writer can help you reach your digital marketing goals. You can also hire a writer to create a social media content strategy to reach new customers.

Blog writing and content writing tailored to social media channels require different skills. Taking the time to establish what type of content you expect will help you find the ideal candidate to fit your needs.

Language and Legal Requirements

Many freelance writers are not based in the United States. Some of these individuals are expats living abroad while others are foreigners who have command of the English language. Be clear if you have any hiring needs that require an American citizenship or a certain first language.

Benefits For Writer

While potential candidates work freelance, they still have the goal of advancing their writing career. Make sure to include incentives that will encourage the writer to apply for your position. Benefits can include the standard offerings of good pay rates, healthcare, and retirement plans or they can focus on other benefits like these:

  • Creative freedom to create content they're interested in that will help build their portfolio.
  • Opportunity to give input on direction of company writing materials including blogs and campaigns.
  • Insights into how well their writing performs in terms of website content marketing metrics.
  • Opportunities to network with other writers and company team members.
Ask For Writing Samples

Always ask writers for writing samples so you can evaluate their work and establish whether they will be a good fit for your goals. Writing samples show you whether the writer makes silly grammar or spelling mistakes. These samples also give you an idea of the writer's voice and how well they write catchy and intriguing content.

Next Steps

Be clear and concise by telling potential applicants what they can expect from the hiring process. Let writers know if there will be one or two interviews and whom they should contact with questions.

Hire An Agency

Don't have a lot of time to focus on finding great freelance writers? Hiring an agency can help free up your time so you can focus on other things. An agency like The Writer Finder or AHA Media Group can help you find the writers you need for any project.

These agencies have databases of thousands of writers and can send you a few qualified options that fit your niche and brand voice. All you have to do is pick which one is the right fit and they can get started writing content.

The downside of agencies is that while they save you time, they also tend to cost a lot more than other alternatives. They are a great investment if you are looking to prioritize your time and have vetted writers hired within a week. Hiring an agency may not be the best choice for small companies or businesses that have tighter budgets.

How to Evaluate Writers

This step is key to finding a successful writer who will help your company grow. It's also the step where most companies fail. Evaluating a writer can be difficult if you don't know what to look for. Here, we'll show you how to evaluate potential writers.

Writing Test

You've found a few writers that seem to fit what you're looking for; the next step is to put them to the test. You cant just take the writer at their word when they say they have  experience with writing projects or blogging. Have the writer create a post that would appear on your site if approved. You can decide to pay the writer whether their writing test is successful or not. Alternatively, you can also choose to only pay the writer if they pass the writing test. Whichever method you choose, make your intentions with the writer clear before they begin the test.

Part 1: Topic Ideas

Have the writer submit 2 to 3 topic ideas that they think would be a good fit for your needs. If you're looking to hire for a copywriting position, look to see if the writer includes catchy headlines and informative marketing content. If you're hiring a writer for shorter content writing jobs such as email campaigns, look to see how well they present information in concise, but interesting ways.

Regardless of the type of writer you're looking for, the suggested topic ideas should be something your customers are interested in reading and learning more about. If the potential writer misses the mark, you'll know that they don't fully understand the values and direction of your company or its clientele.

Asking writers for topic ideas also gives you an idea of how well they work on their own. If they come up with quality content, you can rely on them to draft new topic ideas in the future. Only move on to the next step of the testing process if the writer performs well.

Part 2: Long Form Writing

Pick one of the topic ideas the writer sent you and have them draft an article or content writing articles. In this step, you need to evaluate the quality of the candidate's writing. Look for spelling and grammar errors and pay attention to whether the writer's voice fits your company brand.

If the piece has tons of errors or requires a lot of editing, it's best to move on to a different candidate. If the writer produces a quality piece, you can discuss a working relationship and start scheduling work for the writer. During the onboarding stage, you can decide how many articles the writer will produce each week.

Recap on How to Hire Freelance Writers

Whether you're looking for a blog content writer, an e-commerce writing expert, academic writing, or a writer familiar with social media marketing, you're sure to find what you need using the tips in this guide. Spending time to streamline your writer search ensures you find expert writers that create quality SEO content to drive your business.

When it comes to the best content development, a freelance digital content writer is an essential part of any marketing team. Remember that creative writing is vastly different from technical writing or blog writing. Decide what type of content you want to produce and hire writers that can produce that content.

Post your open freelance writing jobs on local, national, and writer-specific websites to reach expert writers. Be clear on what your writing expectations are and what the writer can gain by joining your company. Take time to evaluate writing samples and test the writer to ensure they are a good fit for your brand and marketing goals.