Hiring freelancers is the best way to fulfill the needs of your editorial content calendar. Anyone who has tried to write all their online content can tell you how time-consuming it is.
When you’re saddled with trying to outdo your competition, coming up with engaging topics, and writing content without the benefit of having actual writing experience, hiring freelancers comes as a welcome relief.
What to Look For When Hiring Freelancers
Of course, there are freelance writers, and there are freelance writers. That is to say, some actual professional writers earn money for their skills and work on a freelance basis. Then some people write but have no real value beyond putting words to paper—or words to screen, as the case may be.
The freelance writer that you’re looking for — the kind of writer who all successful business owners, site owners and content marketing managers are seeking — is the freelance writer who exhibits the following traits:
- Demonstrates mastery of the language
- Practices professional business behaviors
- Stays up-to-date on the latest SEO strategies
- Is responsive
- Strives to understand each client’s business model and needs
- Is aware of own limitations
- Has extensive experience with online content styles
If this list reads like it’s very demanding, that’s because it is. Hiring freelancers means that you and/or your business are investing time and money into recruiting, screening and paying your writer. You deserve the best.
Now we’ll explain how to find the best freelance writer for your needs.
Recruiting and Screening Freelance Writers
Nothing makes the internet feel so vast as when you have a piece of content that needs to be written and you’re searching online for a freelance writer to get it done. Ever dropped a valuable article of jewelry at the beach? You sift and sift and all you come up with are handfuls of sand that slip through your fingers.
Until someone comes along with a metal detector. Now you can disregard the sand, stones and shells and target your search to only attract metals. That’s what hiring freelancers the right way is going to do for you.
1. Determine Your Needs
You don’t know what you’re looking for until you know what you’re looking for, right? So, first, you need to figure out what you need, and it needs to be specific. This step can be completed by answering a few simple questions:
- What kind of content? Press release, blog post, white paper, etc.
- What’s the purpose? Get the news out, inform investors, drive organic traffic, etc.
- What’s the topic? Choose a title or have it chosen?
- What’s my style? Serious, trendy, humorous, etc.
2. Recruit Freelance Writers
How you present your content needs will influence which writers are attracted to your content request. When you use a content platform such as WriterAccess, you have ample space on the order form to explain your content needs in your voice. This content request will become visible to your selected pool of writers once you submit your order.
On the WriterAccess platform (where, by the way, you can get a free trial), you can easily recruit freelance writers using the Casting Call feature.
This is where you have an opportunity to recruit writers who fit your unique content needs. You may also attract writers who don’t exactly match your needs, but you’ll be able to identify those pretty quickly during your screening process, which comes a little later.
In your casting call, include the following information:
Explain your brand
If you wish to remain anonymous, you can. Just explain the brand in general.
For example: We are a civil rights legal firm, based out of Atlanta.
Include some information about your brand so the potential writer can grasp your business model
For example: We provide pro-bono legal defense services for underprivileged residents of Atlanta and beyond.
Divulge your intent. What do you hope to achieve with this content?
For example: We need to drive traffic to our website so more people can learn about our services.
Explain how much content you need and what you’re willing to pay:
For example: We’re looking for a steady stream of weekly blog posts over the next three months, at a rate of .15 per word.
This information will give prospective writers all the information to make an informed decision about whether to apply for your casting call.
3. Screen Writers
Now it’s time to screen the applications that you receive from prospective writers. When hiring freelancers, remember that they come from all sorts of backgrounds, so the applications will vary considerably. On a general level, look for applications that:
- Are not generic “form” applications
- Are unique to your casting call
- Reflect the tone and style that you are looking for
- Specifically, look for applications that:
- Sound professional
- Reflect thoughtfulness
- Resonate with your expectations
Once you have a shortlist of possible freelance writers, it’s time to test their communication skills. Message each writer. Tell them that you’re interested and ask a few pertinent questions, such as their anticipated turnaround time on a 500-word blog post.
Here’s the test: See which writers answer you on time. You should receive a reply no later than 24 hours later, but ideally within a few hours.
Lastly, once you have found a writer you think you like, review their profile. Read their sample pieces and past professional experience. The writer profiles at WriterAccess are robust, so you should be able to tell if your chosen writer will be up to the challenge of your content order.
There are all sorts of ways to recruit and screen freelance writers when hiring freelancers. But as a professional freelance writer myself, I’ve found that this is the method that works best for my clients, based on their feedback.
The final step is, of course, placing your order! This part is easy because you can sign up for a free trial right now to get started today!