Are Freelancers Worth the Money?

Why Hiring Freelance Writers for Content Creation is Worth the Money

How big is your marketing team?

Chances are that if you’re Googling “Is hiring freelance writers worth the money?” – it’s not that big.

And you’re not alone.

An SEMrush survey of 1,200 businesses in 39 countries found that almost 80 percent of the respondents worked for business owners who employed small marketing teams, often with only one to three employees. In the newest or smallest companies, the business owner often handled most of their own marketing and had no extra staff at all.

And while its certainly impressive to wear so many hats and tackle so many tasks as one person or a very small team, it isn’t great news for your content marketing.

Successful content is both consistent and of high quality. And it’s very hard for someone who is pulled in many different directions to make that happen.

Here comes freelance writers to the rescue!

Like this but in sweat pants.

Freelancers are an excellent resource for companies that need great content on a regular basis but don’t have the resources in-house to make that happen.

I may seem biased given that 1) I am an on-again off-again freelancer and have been for 10 years; 2) I’ve hired and worked with freelancers at almost every single one of my previous jobs; and 3) I work for a company that helps people find freelance talent.

However, I’ve also worked as a full-time, in-house content creator.

I see the benefits and merits of each path. And I have a feeling that after you look at the benefits and weigh the pros and cons, you’ll be able to make the decision that’s right for your business.

Benefits of Hiring Freelancers
According to Unsplash, this is what freelancers do all day. #deathbeforedecaf

Benefits of Hiring Freelance Writers for Content Creation

Businesses rely on high-quality freelancers for a variety of reasons. Some don’t have the money to hire an in-house employee. Some may just not have found the right in-house employee yet.

Others may prefer to work with a larger team instead of limiting themselves to just one or two in-house hires. While other companies may just need a little extra help now and then with special projects that require more hands on deck.

Whatever your reasons for considering freelance talent, there are a wealth of benefits that can come from working with freelancers.

Get more out of your marketing budget.

Hiring freelancers is often more cost-efficient than hiring in-house. (More on that in the section about outsourcing vs. in-house hires below.) That means that you can often stretch your marketing budget a bit more if you’re hiring freelancers.

Freelancer earnings vary based not only on the professionals’ experience and skillset, but also their geographic location, cost of living, etc. That means that you may be stretch your budget even further by finding freelancers that work within it.

Hire specialists.

Freelance content creation goes beyond just writing. You can also find freelancers to work on design projects, animation, video, audio, editing, and content strategy. Whereas you may only have the resources to hire one in-house creator, your budget could go quite a bit further by working with different freelancers.

If you think you can find the perfect hybrid writer-graphicdesigner-videographer-strategist, then please introduce them to me.

Otherwise, start building a team of freelancers with diverse skillsets so that you can benefit from working with the best of the best.

Pay for what you need.

When you hire freelancers, you benefit from maximum flexibility. While hiring full- or part-time employees requires that you give them a set amount of hours of work each week, freelancers are another story.

Most freelancers are used to earning a living by piecing together different projects from different clients. While some businesses engage with freelance talent on an ongoing basis or through a retainer agreement, paying them for the same amount of hours each month, they still have the option to end this agreement when they need to.

This flexibility is not only great for budget reasons but also just from a needs perspective. For instance, some brands may need more content created during the holiday season and very little during the off season. Hiring a freelancer allows you to pay for content when you need it.

I promise.

Outsourcing Content Writing vs. Hiring In-House Content Team

There are benefits to having an in-house content team that is invested in your brand and can handle all of your content needs, including last-minute assignments or edits. However, there are also many benefits of hiring freelancers who provide your business with some flexibility along with fewer overhead costs.

Before you make the decision whether to hire someone in-house or outsource your content creation to a freelancer, think about the pros and cons of each hire.

Many Hats vs. a Singularly-Focused Professional

If you have someone in-house handling content creation, chances are that being a content creator isn’t their only job. They may work a full week handling other aspects of your marketing like social media management, PR, outreach, and other things. And even those who work solely as copywriters or content creators may just be overwhelmed by the sheer amount of content they need to create.

Not only does content creation often get pushed to the back burner in this situation. But this person may also feel rushed and overwhelmed. So they may not be in the right place to create their best work even though they’re a fabulous writer. 

An in-house content creator may struggle to publish consistently and create enough content to meet content needs and business goals, especially if they’re taking on projects outside of content creation.

When you outsource writing to a professional writer, you know that writing is what they do all day long. And most good writers have been doing this for years. The average full-time freelancer today is 40 years old

They’ve honed their skills. They stay current on best practices. And they’re trained in the art of writing compelling copy.

They have time to take online classes because they’re investing in their career. Writing for content marketing agencies and businesses on a contract basis is their life–and it shows in the high-quality content they can produce.

Digital Communication vs. Face-to-Face 

Most of us have gotten a taste of what it’s like to work with people remotely during the COVID-19 lockdowns. If you are a content marketer or small business owner that thrives on face-to-face communication, then 100% digital communication has certainly been an adjustment for you. However, most freelancers work remotely, so they’ve been honing their digital communication and time management skills for a while now.

Rest assured, just because you don’t see that freelancer working, doesn’t mean they’re not. Freelance professionals are used to meeting deadlines and expectations without regular face-to-face interactions. That being said, you may expect some built-in delay when communicating with freelancers given that they are often working on multiple projects throughout the day.

While COVID-19 has made it clear that many jobs can be done just as well or better remotely than in an office, some companies have built a culture that thrives on in-person communication and collaboration. If this is your business, then you may prefer to have someone in-house that can be present in the office each day.

Training & Development Freelancer’s Responsibility vs. Yours

When your goal is to outsource content creation, you spend some time vetting potential inbound marketing writers. And you expect them to already have the skill set you need. Most freelancers take on the responsibility of getting additional training and developing their skills so that they can offer clients more and better services.

But when you hire in-house, you have to invest in training to develop that writer. If you currently have a small team with a small marketing budget, you may not have the money to invest in their education and career development right away.

Open Relationship vs. No Conflict

It doesn’t come up often. But as a freelancer, I’ve had clients ask me how they can ensure there is no conflict of interest. They don’t want me working for them and a website that they’re competing with. 

I understand the desire to prevent this.

However, most freelance writers do write in a select number of niches creating the types of content where they have strong knowledge and skill. And sometimes they will be writing for you and your competitor.

If you need exclusivity, then in-house is the way to go. But even there, the person could leave after six months, and you have the same conflict.

It’s important to note that as a freelancer, I don’t take sides. I work to create the best copywriting every single time because I want to help clients meet business goals. This is how most freelance writers approach their work.

Control Over IP vs. Non-Disclosure Agreements

When you hire someone in-house to do content strategy and creation, you have a general expectation that they’re not going to disclose intellectual property that you don’t want to share. A freelancer managing content production will do the same because they need their client’s trust. 

But a freelancer is a self-contained small business. So like any business, they need to share samples of work to get new clients. Freelancers tend to be discreet because if they over-share, clients will not trust them. But if certain sharing is not okay under any circumstances, request an NDA.

You Control the Schedule vs. Freelance Writer Sets Priorities

When your in-house team manages content creation, you can set the priorities and schedule. You can also send a last-minute project and say, “drop everything. I need this today.” 

Outsourcing requires a little more planning and flexibility because, legally, a freelancer must manage their own workflow to be a freelancer. Otherwise, they’re an employee, and the IRS may be sending you a letter soon about those payroll taxes.

Freelancers are often working for several clients in a single day, and may not be able to take a last-minute project even though you’re a repeat client. But this can work to your benefit when you outsource.

A professional freelancer knows their workload capacity and limits. They understand that in order to deliver the best content in a timely manner, they need to avoid overbooking their schedule. And they’ll typically communicate with you regarding their bandwidth.

An in-house employee, on the other hand, may feel obligated to take on too much. You won’t get high-quality content out of someone who has too much on their plate.

That being said, if you expect someone to work during certain hours or days of the week, then you need to hire an employee, not a freelancer. With multiple projects going at once, freelancers set their own schedule and hours.

In-House Salary vs. Freelancer Fees

If you hire an in-house writer full-time, you may end up paying them less per hour, so in-house can seem so much cheaper. However, this can be misleading for several reasons. 

An in-house employee’s salary or hourly rate is rarely the totality of their compensation package. You may also be paying for their down-time when they’re sick and not very productive. If they make a mistake, you pay for the time that it takes to fix it, not them.

You have recruitment, interviewing, and background check costs.

Outsourced content marketing professionals do make more on paper. But you don’t have any of these added costs. When you outsource, they pay their own:

  • Payroll taxes
  • Insurance
  • Vacation time
  • Writing and editing tools
  • Time for re-writes and revisions
  • Sick time
  • Training
  • Office space
  • And more

Working with One Person vs. Many

When outsourcing content creation, most businesses can afford to build a small team of freelancers. Since freelancers work on a flexible schedule and take work as it comes, you can assign the work that you think fits best with each freelancer’s experience and skillset. With freelancers, you only pay for the content they deliver, so if you don’t need a freelancer one week, then you don’t need to pay them.

Having multiple content creators working for you allows you to benefit from a diverse skillset and range of voices. Not to mention, you have writers to back you up when others are not able to complete an assignment.

When hiring in-house, you may not have the budget to bring on multiple content creators since you have to pay them a part- or full-time wage, regardless of how much content they produce. That means that you’ll typically end up with just one or two content creators working with your brand.

Working with one or two in-house content creators can be a great experience because you are able to train them to create content that fits your needs and expectations. Working just with your brand, they will get to know your voice and style very quickly. But if your one content creator is sick or quits, then you are left with no one to pick up the slack.

Additionally, with one or two creators, you only have the opportunity to leverage their individual experiences and skillsets. Whereas, for the same budget, you might be able to work with 6 or 7 freelancers with a wider range of talents and experience.

Limited Knowledge vs. More Diverse Skillset

When you hire freelancers, you are more likely to be able to work with a handful of professionals, giving you access to a more diverse pool of skills from which to draw. Some freelance writers are great at video scripts. Some really understand how to create compelling Google ads or social media headlines. Freelancers who love to learn and be helpful often make great blog post writers.  Many freelance writers have invested in extensive SEO and content strategy to serve their clientele better.

No matter how good your in-house hire is, there’s a great chance that they as one human do not have the same diverse skillset and experiences as an entire team of freelancers. Even if they are great at creating any type of content, they only have one perspective on developing this content, which is based on their singular experiences as a content creator.

Freelancing Statistics
As G2 shows, freelancing isn’t just a young person’s game.

Slow to Scale vs. On-Demand Growth Potential

Recruiting and screening a potential hire is a much bigger investment than hiring a freelancer. So it takes more time and effort to get someone in and up-to-speed. It’s faster and easier to contract with outsourced employees, allowing you to scale up or down quickly as needed. This added agility can help you grow faster and save money at the same time.

For example, let’s say that you have a new product launch coming up and you need to create a lot of content for the launch. If you were to hire someone in-house, you’d need to take time to go through resumes, interview applicants, check references, and do background checks.

And this is just before you hire them.

After they’re hired, you need to take time to set up their tech stack, onboard them, and complete other new hire processes. During the time it takes to do all that, you could have had a freelancer already working on the content you need for your launch.

It’s not that you don’t need to vet and hire freelancers. It’s just that the process of onboarding a freelancer is often must less time consuming and involves far less paperwork.

In addition to being able to scale up quickly, you can also scale back down much easier with a freelancer than an in-house hire. While freelancers are used to the ebb and flow of their clients’ content, in-house hires need to have a consistent workload. That means that you can use freelancers to help create extra content when it’s needed, even if you have an in-house team.

Kiddy Pool vs. Olympic Size Pool

When hiring in-house, you may be limited to those who are looking for a full-time, regular 9-5 job where they have to put on professional clothing and come into an office every day. 

Not everyone functions well in that setup.

And when you narrow the pool further to just talented writers, this may actually be a kiddy pool of people.

However, when you open up your options to independent contractors that work on their own time under their own circumstances, you open up the talent pool considerably.

There’s a reason an estimated 35% of people are now self-employed. It’s so easy and freeing to write as an independent contractor from anywhere with an Internet connection. So writers who can work independently, prioritize well, and manage client relationships, often choose to freelance over a 9 to 5 job.

You’ll find a bigger pool of great writers in the independent contractor world – an Olympic size pool, if you will.

Huge Up-Front Investment vs. Pay As You Go

According to a Gallup survey in 2020, it costs around one to one and half a person’s annual salary to recruit, hire, and onboard. That’s a massive initial investment. Not to mention, a bad hiring decision can be a devastating blow, especially to a small business.

When you outsource, you pay as you go with little up-front costs. So once again, even if a freelancer charges more per hour than an in-house hire, you’re still saving money. And if the freelancer ends up not being a great fit, you can stop working with that individual without incurring any further cost.

Lengthy Vetting Process vs. Match Me Up Style Services

As already mentioned, it takes time to hire. It’s faster to find a freelancer with today’s technology and options. All you need to do is look on Linkedin, on content writing service sites like WriterAccess, or on freelance job boards to find the writer you’re looking for.

Given how important and popular hiring freelance writers has become, the industry has seen tremendous innovation over the past five years, such as companies who pre-screen writers, hold writers to standards, and even match up clients with writers who have the most experience in the desired content type, style, or industry.

In this way, hiring a freelance writer can be as simple as signing up for a content marketing service, being paired with a writer, and then paying that writer to create the content you need.

How to Evaluate and Hire Freelancers for Content Marketing

If you’re accustomed to interviewing, hiring, and working with in-house employees only, then consider the search for a freelancer to be an exciting learning experience – a learning experience that will open your business up to a whole new world of talent and potential. 

Where to Find the Best Freelance Writers for Your Content Marketing Projects

Often the best way to find freelancers – especially if you’re completely new to outsourcing talent – is to ask your trusted colleagues for referrals. You can learn from their experience working with freelancers and they might recommend a tried and true content writer, agency, or content marketing service they love. 

You can also search LinkedIn for freelancers, use a marketing agency to create white label content, work with a staffing agency that specializes in creative talent, post your job on the numerous freelance job boards online, or use a content marketing service like WriterAccess that makes it easy to find vetted writers with all sorts of different experience, specialties, and focuses. 

Wherever you choose to search for your outsourced talent, you will likely find countless options, which brings us to our next point: narrowing your search results. 

How to Narrow Down the Search for a Freelance Content Writer

The first step in choosing a freelance copywriter is to find someone with all the right qualities and qualifications. It might seem like I’m stating the obvious here, but creating great content (and great content marketing) simply isn’t possible without an equally great writer.

Look for the following qualities when choosing your freelancer:

1. Killer Writing Chops

You might assume when searching for a writer that most people claiming to be a writer can actually write well. Unfortunately, that’s not always the case. Before you select your freelancer, comb through the writer’s profile, website, and/or blog, keeping an eye on the actual writing. It’s also acceptable to request writing samples, especially if the writer doesn’t have any samples for your industry readily available on their website. 

If you’re not the best proofreader, then II recommend copying and pasting their words into a proofreading service like Grammarly or the Hemmingway Editor. These text editors will help you evaluate the writer’s grammar and syntactical prowess.

But being a great writer goes beyond the nuts and bolts of language. You’ll also want to read through to evaluate the writer’s capabilities when it comes to writing style and voice to determine whether that particular writer will be a good fit with your brand’s personality. If you don’t understand the piece or don’t like the way it’s written, that’s a good indication that this writer isn’t a good fit for your brand.

2. Industry Experience and/or Knowledge

Whether your content writer needs to have experience inside your industry depends on your industry and the type of content you need.

For example, any beauty writer can tackle a general article about clean beauty products or choosing the right foundation, but articles on manufacturing or distributing beauty products would require the writer to possess a higher level of expertise within the beauty industry. The same goes for more technical and instructive content in industries like finance, law, real estate, construction, health and fitness, medical, education, and more. 

When you’re looking for a freelance copywriter, first think about the type of content you need, your target market’s level of understanding, and how technically savvy your writer should be.

Are you a B2B or a B2C company? Generally speaking, B2B companies should find writers with experience working in the industry or at the very least, extensive experience writing within your industry. 

Before selecting a writer, find out whether they have experience writing in your industry and feel free to ask for writing samples for your industry to evaluate whether the writer understands industry jargon and commands a thorough understanding of the ins and outs of your business.

Choosing a writer with the right level of knowledge and industry experience will result in accurate, credible, and successful content. 

3. Marketing Know-How

The purpose of content marketing content is to help you reach goals like increasing brand awareness, lead generation, and sales. For this reason, it’s best to look for a writer with at least some marketing know-how.

Find a content writer with SEO skills and a thorough understanding of inbound marketing. Content creators that have an understanding of content marketing and its goals will be able to create the type of content that drives traffic to your website or directly helps you achieve other related marketing goals using things like keywords, backlinks, and calls to action

4. A Mindset for Success

While the first three qualities seem pretty straightforward, this one is often overlooked, but it’s extremely important to building successful relationships with freelance talent. 

There are two types of freelancers: those who are highly motivated and those who are slightly less motivated. You want to find a writer who fits into the first category.

Successful freelancers are much more than good writers with marketing and industry knowledge; they’re self-starters who choose to freelance because it gives them the freedom to dictate their level of success.

A freelancer with a success mindset:

  • possesses excellent time management skills
  • is responsive to communication
  • enjoys researching and learning
  • has repeat clients
  • has confidence in their abilities and a track record to back it up

Successful freelancers make a name for themselves and often have busy schedules, but because they love what they do and are good at time management, they’re often up for taking on the maximum workload.

How to Interview Freelance Writers: 5 Questions to Ask a Content Writer

Whether you schedule a conference call, video chat, or simply interview via email, you likely won’t get to interview your outsourced writer in-person (unless you happen to live in the same town).

However you conduct your interview, you’ll make the most of your time if you prepare questions and send them to your freelancer ahead of time. You can ask about your potential writer’s qualifications, experience, and even ask them to come up with a few ideas based on your content marketing goals.

The questions you ask will ultimately depend on what you need from your freelance content writer, but you might consider asking the following:

1. What kind of experience do you have in this industry?

This is probably a question to ask via email before you schedule a conference call with your writer – especially if industry experience is a deal-breaker. It’s usually best to select a writer who has at least some experience in and knowledge of your industry. You can decide how much experience you require (like real-life experience as a practitioner or simply writing experience) based on the type of content you need and the knowledge level of your target market. 

Although many freelance writers have active non-disclosure agreements with their clients, they can likely tell you the number of clients and projects they have completed in the industry, the topics about which they have written, and also the size of the businesses for which they have written. 

2. What is your availability?

Before selecting a writer, it’s smart to make sure your schedules will align. Before your interview, you should at least have a rough idea about your content strategy’s workflow and how much you will require of your content writer.

Let your potential writer know the word counts, number of individual content pieces, and research that will be required upfront. They will know whether or not they can fit your workload into their schedule.

3. What types of content have you created?

Do you need blog posts, journalistic articles, press releases, video scripts, white papers, or social media posts? Consider the types of content you’ll be asking your writer to create and find out what type of experience they have with those specific content assets. 

Look for a writer that is comfortable with and experienced in creating the types of content that you need created. To get an idea for their level of experience, you might ask them to elaborate on the process they use when creating *insert type of content here.*

4. Are you comfortable adapting my brand voice?

You want to find a freelancer who is able to adapt your brand’s established voice and tone in their content. If you have a website, social media presence, or blog, send your writer the links. This will help them get familiar with your brand voice.

Be ready to discuss your freelancer’s writing style and the style of content you’re hoping they will be able to write for you. You should be able to gauge their ability to “style flex” by looking carefully at the voices used in each piece of their portfolio.

5. What’s your rate?

Don’t forget to talk about pay. Consider your budget before you interview any writer. A good starting point is to ask your freelancer what their rate is for different types of content.

Freelance writers sometimes get paid per word or a flat rate per order. Some may even charge an hourly rate based on the type of project.

These rates vary based on availability, experience, and the technicality of the work. Be honest about your budget and don’t be afraid to negotiate. Just be sure to come to an agreement regarding the pay structure before you make a decision.

Freelancer Interview
Get a better understanding of a freelancer’s personality so you can make sure they’re someone you’d like to work with.

9 Best Practices for Working with Freelancers

Okay, so you’ve hired a freelancer.

Now what?

The working relationship doesn’t stop after you’ve hired someone. If you want to get the best work possible from a freelance content creator, you’re going to need to do the work on your side to foster a successful working relationship with your new freelancer.

Here are a few of my best practices for working with freelancers:

1. Set clear expectations.

Having been on both sides of this, I can confidently say that setting clear expectations is one of the most important things you can do when you start working with a freelancer.

As a freelancer, there’s nothing worse than not knowing what is expected of you. And as a business owner or content marketer, there’s nothing worse than getting content that doesn’t meet your expectations in any way.

To make sure that you and your freelancers are on the same page, set clear expectations and boundaries regarding the scope of work, deliverables, project deadlines, and the possibility for extensions.

A key component is creating a thorough content brief for your project that includes information such as:

  • Target audience profiles
  • Content objectives
  • Narrative voice
  • Stylistic elements
  • Formatting options

Having everything clearly spelled out (preferably in writing) removes any ambiguity and gives contractors something to refer back to while completing your project.

Even if you’ve worked with the same freelancer for a while, it’s still a good idea to send them a creative brief. They likely work with multiple clients and won’t remember every detail about your organization. Including a short brief with new projects will ensure freelancers stay up to date with your content needs.

2. Have a process for onboarding freelancers.

Sure, earlier in this post I said there was not much involved with onboarding freelancers.

And while you don’t need to have a complicated freelancer onboarding process, you do need some type of onboarding if you want freelancers to understand how they can work well with your team.

Remember, an independent contractor won’t have the same insider knowledge of your business as your regular team members. They won’t know your business values or the overall narrative you want to create with your content strategy.

You can use your creative brief to help onboard new writers by including some background about your company. If possible, you might also provide links to example content showcasing the tone or formatting you want. This will help ensure that freelancers have a better grasp of the nuance, voice, and spirit of your brand.

3. Review work quality regularly.

You should only hire freelancers that you trust to perform their due diligence in researching the topic and following your project instructions. You want writers who respect intellectual property, properly cite sources, and fact check, so your content doesn’t get your business in trouble for plagiarizing or spreading misinformation.

However, this doesn’t absolve you from reviewing the content they’re producing. To err is human, even for the most qualified writer, so always check the content to ensure it meets your standards. 

And when it doesn’t, let the freelancer know. The best freelancers will be open to and even welcome constructive feedback. They want to make you happy, so be sure to tell them how they can improve along the way.

4. Stay engaged with your freelancers.

In some cases, you can submit an order, wait for a few days, and receive a completed piece that perfectly suits your needs. However, more often than not, you’ll find that projects require some back and forth discussion. For more complex, long-term jobs, you might need to periodically check in to make sure everything is going as expected.

However, don’t go overboard. The more time they spend in meetings about the project, the less time your freelancers will have to get work done.

Successful freelancers are like any small business owner, namely they want to keep their clients happy. However, yours is likely not the only project they’re working on. This means it might take them a bit longer to respond or they might have limited time for meetings. Additionally, the technical considerations of remote work can influence communication time.

That being said, professional freelancers are used to fielding questions and requests by email, slack, phone, video conference, and any other remote technology you might use to communicate. So don’t be afraid to reach out if you want a status report or need to ask a question.

5. Encourage open communication.

Knowing how to provide constructive feedback is key if you’re not getting the results you expected. In many cases, you’ll find that the freelancer simply misunderstood your expectations. By giving respectful, constructive feedback, you can help successfully conclude the project and maintain a solid working relationship.

It is equally important to encourage the freelancer to ask questions or even make suggestions. The more they understand your needs, and the more invested they are in the project or your brand, the more likely they are to deliver terrific results. Also, don’t overlook the power of positive reinforcement. A freelance writer likes hearing “great job!” as much as any other person.

6. Treat freelancers as partners.

Freelance writers come from a variety of backgrounds and can be quite knowledgeable about the topics they cover — possibly even experts in their field. They can be partners in the success of your content, so respect their time and their expertise. Cultivate a long-term relationship by not just telling them what to do but rather asking what they think or encouraging them to provide recommendations.

Since they work with multiple clients, sometimes across different fields, independent writers can provide insight and access to resources you didn’t know about. This berth of knowledge can be invaluable, helping you think beyond the confines of your industry.

7. Understand freelancing laws.

When you hire freelancers, it’s important to be aware of any local laws related to their status in your location. You also need to be knowledgeable about co-employment regulations and ensure that your employees don’t cross any lines with contractors.

Familiarity with legal requirements is key to ensuring there are no lawsuits against your business as a result of unintended exploitation. Similarly, understanding and abiding by these laws helps you provide a more pleasant work environment for your freelancers.

8. Start small.

When hiring a new freelancer for the first time, use them on a non-critical project where you can allow extra time. Essentially, you want to audition them, testing their writing style, communication skills, and ability to meet deadlines. Also, consider factors like how many rounds of revisions it takes them to deliver satisfactory results.

This audition project also provides the freelancer an opportunity to learn more about you and your content needs. If you continue to work together, increased familiarity will help them produce high-quality content more quickly for your business.

I’d like to make it clear that you should always pay a freelancer for any test piece, even if you don’t end up using it. Freelancers trade their hours for money, so the time they spend on your test piece is time they could have spent on other billable work.

(And a little secret for those who have never worked with freelancers – most experienced freelancers won’t take on an unpaid test project.)

9. Don’t micromanage.

A successful freelancer is self-motivated and has good time management skills. However, when hiring freelancers, you do need to be flexible with their schedules and other commitments. A lot of people pursue a freelancing career because they want a certain amount of autonomy – so give them space to do their work.

If you’ve provided a solid project brief for the freelance job, with open lines of communication, you shouldn’t have to heavily manage them. Should they prove unable to produce quality results without you looking over their shoulder, it’s time to find a new writer.

Don’t Overlook Freelance Talent

Freelance writers can become an important extension of your marketing team. Whether you exclusively use freelance talent to create all of your content or just use freelancers to help bridge the gap between your in-house team and your content needs, they will quickly become an invaluable part of your content marketing process.

As someone who has both worked as a freelancer and hired freelancers, I have seen firsthand how freelance talent can help a brand grow their audience, scale their content marketing, and convert visitors into brand advocates.

So what are you waiting for?

Special thanks to the WriterAccess freelancers who contributed to this post: Marilyn K.Leigh M.,  Jennifer G., and Lessa K.


Sarah Jane Burt Headshot

Sarah Jane Burt is Sr. Content Strategist at WriterAccess. For the past decade, she’s helped brands big and small, from tech giant IBM to the local plumber, tell their stories and create strategies for customer-driven content. When she’s not working on developing and implementing our content strategy, she’s writing blog posts that help demystify content marketing and strategy for entrepreneurs, small business owners, and enterprise content teams.

Find her on Twitter or reach out on LinkedIn.


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