Not sure how to hire a freelance writer or what the process looks like? Outsourcing content creation can be a huge help for businesses of all sizes.
The benefits of hiring freelancers are immense. First, you free up your employees to focus on other tasks. Second, you get high-quality content from professionals who know how to engage your target audience, elevate your brand, and improve your SEO. Finally, you save money by not having to hire full-time staff or pay benefits for in-house content creators.
How to hire a freelance writer
The writers you hire will represent your brand, so it’s essential to find people who are a good fit for your company culture and know your industry well. You’ll also want to hire freelancers with the right general knowledge and experience to help you meet your content marketing goals.
Here’s a guide on how to hire a freelance writer to ensure successful results every time.
Clarify your goals
According to the Content Marketing Benchmarks, Budgets, and Trends report, 49% of respondents are using freelancers to create their content — and companies with over 100 employees are outsourcing even more than smaller firms. But outsourcing content is only a good investment if you begin with clearly articulated goals.
Start by outlining what you hope the writing team can accomplish:
- What types of content do you need (blog posts, white papers, ebooks)?
- What specialized knowledge or experience do you need from the writers?
- Who is your target market?
- What is your brand voice?
- How often do you need content delivered?
Answering these questions will give you a better sense of the kind of talent you should be looking for when hiring freelance writers.
Identify your budget
The next step to hire a freelance writer is to determine how much you’re willing to spend on content creation. Lower-priced freelance writers are available, but they may not have the skill to create engaging, SEO-optimized content that will reflect well on your brand and bring you the organic traffic you want.
A bargain-priced writer could be a waste of money if their work doesn’t bring you traffic. Badly written or poorly researched content could also damage your brand’s reputation.
Expect to pay more to hire a freelance writer with real-world experience and training — or someone with specialized industry knowledge. If you’re on a tight budget, you might consider publishing less often rather than sacrificing quality.
You should also consider whether you want to hire an individual freelancer or a content marketing agency.
Hiring individual freelancers may be the best option if you’re on a tight budget. However, your in-house staff will need to assign, edit, and evaluate the content if you work directly with writers.
Working with an agency may be a better investment if you need high-quality, consistent content. A fully-managed solution will include keyword research, ideation, writing, editing, and SEO verification.
Set up a system for managing projects
The next step before you hire a freelancer writer is to set up a system for managing projects.
If you’re working with individual writers, you’ll need to create editorial guidelines that explain your expectations for quality, tone, and style. You should also have a process for assigning work, describing the content you want, giving feedback, and making revisions. You can bring your freelancers into that system if you’re already using a team management software solution like Trello or Asana.
Consider these issues when you create your system:
- Who will be developing keyword strategies?
- How will you communicate your SEO goals to the writers?
- Who will be in charge of assigning topics and deadlines?
- How will you give feedback on drafts?
- What system will you use for revisions?
- How much lead time will the writer have to create the work? To submit revisions?
- How will you handle payments for the writers?
If you hire an agency, they will likely have these processes and systems in place. Be sure to ask about their project management methods before you make a decision.
When your goals are clear, and your systems are in place, you’re ready to hire a freelance writer.
There are a few different ways to find talented freelancers.
One option is to post a job on a marketplace with lots of freelancers for hire — like Upwork, Fiverr, or Freelancer. You can also search for writers on social media platforms like Twitter or LinkedIn.
Another option is to work with an agency that specializes in content marketing. At ClearVoice, we curate a network of more than 20,000 freelance writers, designers, and videographers. We can help you find highly skilled writers who understand content marketing and specialize in your industry or target market.
If you decide to hire freelancers on your own, vet each candidate thoroughly. Review their previous work, check for grammatical errors, verify their up-to-date SEO knowledge, and ensure their writing style is a good fit for your brand. You should also ask for references or testimonials from past clients.
Develop a checklist or rubric to evaluate freelance writer candidates. Here are some items you may want to include:
- Years of experience.
- SEO training/knowledge.
- Similar clients.
- Industry knowledge/experience.
- Rate per word.
- Turnaround time.
When you’ve found a few good candidates, reach out and explain your project in detail. Give them a chance to ask questions and ensure they understand your expectations. If everything looks good, it’s time to hire the freelance writer or writers you want to work with.
Manage your team
Once you’ve vetted and hired the writers you need, it’s time to start managing your team.
Whether you’re working with an agency or individual freelancers, it’s essential to be clear about your expectations for quality, tone, and style. You should also give your freelancers regular feedback to help them improve their work and better understand your preferences.
As we mentioned earlier, you’ll need systems and processes to assign work, give feedback, and make revisions. If you’re managing that system yourself, you’ll want to regularly evaluate how well your system is working.
Are deadlines being met? Are expectations being communicated clearly? Do your writers have adequate lead times and the resources they need to do a good job?
Finally, don’t forget to show appreciation for a well-done job! A simple thank-you note or positive review can go a long way in keeping your freelancers happy and motivated.
Test and revise
Content marketing doesn’t give the same quick traffic boost as advertising — it’s a slower ramp-up with longer-term results — but over time, you should see a steady increase in traffic and engagement.
If you’re not happy with the results you’re seeing, look at your processes and see where you can improve. For example, you may need to revise and hone your keyword strategy or publishing schedule to get better results.
Ongoing management and optimization are critical to a successful content marketing strategy. But with the right team in place, you can relax and enjoy the benefits of great content without all the stress.
Hire a freelance writer to level up content creation
Knowing how to hire a freelance writer doesn’t have to be difficult. By following the steps in this post, you can find talented writers, develop systems for managing your team, and create high-quality content to help you achieve your business goals.
If you’d like to discuss your content marketing with a professional, reach out to a ClearVoice content specialist today. We can help you hire freelance writers, develop your content marketing strategy, or manage the entire process for you.