Marketing

The Do’s and Don’ts of Hiring Freelance Writers

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Finding and hiring freelance writers who can nail your brand voice and turn in high-quality, in-depth, and factually accurate content every time can be a tall order — but it doesn’t have to be.

Here’s a list of do’s and don’ts for finding that perfect writer and a few tips for using ClearVoice to do just that.

6 do’s and don’ts for hiring freelance writers

Whether you’re looking for long-term help or one-time assistance, the following tips for hiring freelance writers will help you find the right writers for the job.

1. Do know who you want

“Freelance writer” is a broad term that applies to any independent contractor who writes for one or more companies.

There are different types of freelance writers, including:

Know the type of freelance writer you need before you start your search. And plan out your content needs. What type of deadlines will your writer need to fulfill? How much can you spend? Are you looking for in-depth, data-driven pieces or more lighthearted stories? What type of content needs do you have over time? Leave room for creativity, but have your expectations ready so potential writers know what you’re looking for.

2. Don’t settle

Your content is a reflection of your business. When it’s published, you’re putting your name and your company’s name behind it. Focus on quality over quantity when hiring freelance writers. Look for red flags when vetting them too. Read their past work and talk to their other clients.

Hiring a bad match — someone with poor writing skills who knows nothing about your industry or who can’t meet deadlines — spells doom for your content strategy. Use a service that vets freelancer writers, such as ClearVoice. When you create an assignment in the platform, the technology matches you with recommended creators who fit your parameters. You simply review their portfolios, choose your favorite, and get started.

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3. Do shop around and ask questions

This becomes especially important if you aren’t using a service that vets its freelancers. When interviewing potential writers, make sure to ask about their revision/rejection policy. Revision requests are a part of content life, and writers should be willing to make one to two rounds of revisions as part of the fee.

Also ask the following questions:

  • Can you tell me more about your favorite assignment and the research you did to complete it?
  • What do you know about our target audience?
  • What is your approach to content development?
  • What’s your biggest challenge in freelance work?

In turn, a good writer asks questions about you, your company, and your industry.

4. Don’t leave your freelancer high and dry

Follow the golden rule with your writers. Want to get your content on time? Pay them promptly. ClearVoice streamlines this process by transferring funds to your writer’s PayPal account the moment articles are approved.

Also, be timely in your communication with them, especially if you’re requesting revisions. Give them enough time to turn the revision around — two days is fair.

Provide your content creators with the resources and information they need to write. All too often, brands either withhold information or give vague direction. When hiring freelance writers, no information is too much. If there are certain features you want to be highlighted or certain statistics you want to be featured in a piece of content, tell your writers. Be explicit.

5. Do establish communication guidelines

Most relationships with freelance writers are long-distance relationships. You’ll likely be communicating via email or using ClearVoice’s Messages feature. Know the best way to reach your freelancer and whether there’s a time difference, and be responsive if they reach out to you.

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6. Don’t be afraid to give feedback

To help people and employees grow, feedback is imperative. Especially in one-off freelance jobs (when you and the writer only work together on one piece of content), it’s common for the freelancer to never hear back from the company after the work is submitted.

Feedback is valuable because it teaches a writer more about your industry and your brand. This way, if you ever work with them again, you’ve already built a foundation and template for the type of content you want.

Coordinate your feedback sessions if you have multiple people on your content team. Nothing frustrates a freelancer more than having to revise the same piece multiple times because the client was unorganized.

Build a mutually beneficial relationship with freelance writers

If you hire a freelance writer without putting in some effort ahead of time, the whole process can turn into one giant dead end. Start your search with clear expectations and instructions to ensure it’s as smooth and seamless as possible.

Many writers will go out of their way to create great content that makes you happy, but that requires reciprocation on your part. If you communicate clearly, pay promptly, and treat them respectfully, you’ll be able to build relationships with freelance writers who are invested in your business.

Need help hiring freelance writers and ramping up content production? Talk to a content specialist at ClearVoice and find out how we can help with everything from content strategy to creation.

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About the author

Minna Wang

Minna Wang is an analyst at Kickstart Seed Fund, associate editor at Beehive Startups and a freelance writer with great passion for marketing and the startup scene. Follow her on Twitter.