Dos and Don’ts of Hiring a Freelance Writer
By scaling up from one blog post a week to four, businesses can increase their traffic by 3.5 times current levels, according to HubSpot. Freelance writers can assist with content strategy and content creation to help companies boost traffic and ROI. Yet how should companies hire freelance writers? Here are do’s and don’ts for pre-planning, screening writers, and starting the content marketing relationship.
DO know what you need.
You can only make a good hiring decision when you understand what you are looking for in a writer. Questions to ask include:
- Are you looking for a writer who can help with content strategy, or will you provide blog topics?
- Will the right person have specific expertise in a niche?
- Should a writer turn around blog posts twice a week, or do you want all the content at once so you can schedule it throughout the month?
- Is it important that the writer live in your service area or time zone?
- Is it more important to get high-quality writing or stay within a tight budget?
DON’T dive in without a plan.
Give yourself time to think about what you need and to sort your criteria by priority so you can screen writers. You wouldn’t rush a hiring decision in your company, so you shouldn’t rush this either.
DO communicate clearly and set expectations.
By communicating clearly when you’re screening writers you can weed out writers who aren’t a good fit for your needs. Communication sets expectations around the working relationship, which benefits both sides.
You’ll be able to learn how a particular writer works and find out what their experience is in your niche, so you know you’re getting someone who really “gets it”—who can create content your customers will love and trust.
The writer will understand your needs around content style, timeline, target audience, and other variables. This helps them deliver strong content.
DON’T settle or rush.
The right writer will create great content that positions your brand as an authority, guides users toward purchasing a product or booking your service, and delivers a significant return on investment. It’s exciting to dream about these benchmarks—but don’t let this excitement rush your decision.
Nor should you settle for someone who doesn’t have the right qualifications. That blog post will live on your company blog, perhaps with your name attached to it. You deserve content that adds value for your customers.
DO be specific.
The more specific you can be with your writer, the more satisfied you’ll be with the process. Leave specific instructions around blog post topics and keywords or request they submit content ideas for your approval. This decreases the odds you’ll need revisions.
DON’T expect mind-reading.
Keep lines of communication open when you start working together. Suggest blog topics to your writer, offer feedback for a job well done or let them know when something isn’t working. Your writer can integrate your feedback into future assignments.
With these do’s and don’ts, you can find the right writer to fill your blog with high-quality content that boosts your business above the competition.
Lindsey D is a regular blog contributor, social networking maven and research professional who makes a living as a freelance writer specializing in travel, lifestyle, LGBTQ, personal finance, and web copy for small businesses. She holds advanced degrees in creative writing and information science.