The 9 Rules for Hiring Freelance Writers

Whether you’ve been working with freelancers for years or it’s a new process for you, there are certain rules that can increase your productivity and result in a smoother process for everyone. Don’t let these best practices slip through the cracks, or you could be left with content that simply isn’t

Freelance Rules To Live By

The professional relationship between you and your selected writer is a two way street. It requires transparent communication and a symbiotic understanding that you both benefit when you are happy with the assigned tasks. This mentality leads us to the first three rules:

1) Communicate clearly and effectively. —

This communication begins with the hiring process. You should clearly outline your content goals and expectations, so that a writer can decide if he or she is up to the task. Once you have created an order it is up to both you and the writer to maintain clear and open lines of communication.

2) Be receptive when a writer has questions. —

These might seem like “no brainer” questions to you, but usually they have significant meaning to the writer. Whether you’re asking if the content needs a call to action, if sources should be linked, or the identity of your top competitor, a writer’s questions are typically designed to gain an intimate understanding of the content’s final audience, as well as its goals within your larger marketing efforts.

3) Be patient. —

You are probably not the writer’s only client, but that not mean that you aren’t important to the writer! It simply means that he or she might be in a different time zone, held up with other orders, or otherwise unable to respond right away. Rest assured, a great writer will get back to you as soon as they can and always before the deadline is reached.

We can all become impatient, especially when we are answering to another person on the corporate ladder. However, the following scenario is not helpful to building a good relationship:

  • You to writer: 8:01am — When can I expect to see the revision?
  • You to writer: 8:30am — I haven’t heard back. When can I expect to see the revision? Are you able to complete the assignment correctly?
  • You to writer: 8:47am — Are my messages going through?
  • Writer to you: 11:00am — I am just seeing these messages. The order will be revised on time within the original deadline of 5:00pm today. Thanks!

The above scenario often happens when rules four through six fall through the cracks.

4) Do your research. —

If you need a paper written on the latest medical research tactics for cancer treatments, then you shouldn’t hire a writer who specializes in pet care. Freelance writers aren’t miracle workers, which is to say they can’t become an industry expert overnight. What they can do is write eloquent prose within their selected fields of interest or expertise.

5) When searching for a writer, ask the right questions and remember that you are also being interviewed. —

You should ask a writer the following types of questions to determine if it’s a good fit:

  • Will you be formatting the content?
  • Can I please see relevant writing samples?
  • What is your experience with this topic or style of publication?
  • What is your rate and expected turn around time?

You should also recognize that a writer might be asking you questions in return, such as:

  • Will you be available for questions?
  • What is your preferred communication style?
  • Can you provide me with samples of similar content that you like?
  • Are you interested in ghostwriting or a byline service?

6) Understand that you are hiring a writer not an ad agency. —

Many times revision requests come about when a client expects a writer to deliver not only the moon and the stars, but also the sun and the entire galaxy. While some writers are also marketing experts or brand strategists, as their professional title suggests, most freelance writers are individuals who can write well.

The final three rules to live by when hiring a freelance writer include:

7) Be mindful of your review and approval deadlines. —

Just as you want expect the writer to submit their draft by the deadline, the writer in turn expects you to complete your review process within the window allotted to you. The best freelance writers are very observant of the project timeline, and constant delays will delay the writer’s payout and could discourage them from working with you in the future.

8) Make sure that all requests are warranted. —

If you didn’t tell a writer that they need to provide images for your content, then you can’t spring this request on them in the last minute. In the same vein, if a writer has promised that they will format the order for you, then he or she should deliver content that is ready to be published. Ensure that specific requests are included in your original order instructions, so the writer knows upfront what you’re expecting them to do.

9) Personalities shouldn’t be ignored. —

Your freelance writer should be a part of your team, which means that personalities need to be taken into account. If the writer has an alpha personality when your team is in need of a beta, then it doesn’t matter if they can deliver amazing content because personality conflicts will inevitably arise.

The moral of the story is simple, save yourself the hassle of reading 1,000 words that you wish had never been strung together, and instead hire a freelance writer who can not only turn a phrase, but can do so in a manner that meets your branding goals.

Laura P has written 2,000+ articles, blog posts, product reviews, press releases, and website content for a multitude of clients. In the past 6 years, she has developed written, marketing, video, and web content for clients in the real estate, information technology, restaurant, auto, retail, equine sales, oil and gas, and public relations industries. Laura is highly proficient in SEO optimization, particularly in real estate and retail industries. She ghost wrote IT white papers, government contract task orders, RFIs, and RFPs that resulted in millions of dollars won. She has 6-years of experience working with and interviewing olympic athletes, small-business owners, CEOs, and SMEs on complex topics. As a professional writer, Laura strives to create content that is both meaningful and relatable to her readers.


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