If you’re looking for a freelance writer who can hit the ground running and provide solid articles within a framework you set, pay close attention to writers’ profiles and clips. Look at the entire package for each writer — experience, pitch and clips — and try to get a feel for whether that writer has a future with you.
Perhaps you have some specific attributes you’re looking for. That makes sense, but keep an open mind. You may run across an enthusiastic, engaging writer who is short on experience in your field, but has some marvelous clips on a variety of topics, each of which she nails. Give that writer a shot.
To really get an idea of who and what a writer is, you need a trifecta of information:
- A solid explanation of what he has done in the past — the kind of writing he’s done and the work environments in which he has written.
- Several clips of sufficient length to judge writing style, on diverse topics. Ideally, one or two should be on a topic that fits your needs or is at least within the neighborhood, but it may be more important that the clips indicate good flow, engaging content and an opening that makes the reader want to know more.
- A convincing argument for why the writer is well-suited to write for you. Read this carefully, as the writer will likely put his best foot forward for this and could lay it on a little thick. If it fits in well with the experience and clips, you can probably take the pitch at face value.
When you find who you think is the best person when looking for a freelance writer, you don’t have to lock yourself into anything long-term. Assigning articles to several people is a good way to test their writing skills, research and approach, as well as see how quickly they can turn around a story and how well they communicate. Even when you feel you know what someone has to offer, you can be surprised.
Nicole Madison, freelance writer, editor and virtual assistant, says in her blog that hiring freelance writers, rather than writing your own online articles, is good time management. It allows you to focus your time on other priorities, by allowing the writer to use his skills to produce quality content. The better the writer, the more you can relax, so the time involved in finding someone who fits the bill is a good investment.
Laurie S is a freelance writer available on WriterAccess, a marketplace where clients and expert writers connect for assignments.