Freelance writers can take work off your plate and offer expertise you don't have — in short, they make your life easier. Learn how and where to find good freelancers so you can focus on other marketing endeavors.
Freelancers can revolutionize the way you create content. These outsourced specialists can help you create more and better content, saving you both time and money. We know — we’ve built our entire company around software that connects freelancers with marketers like you. ClearVoice Marketplace connects you with the generalists, subject matter experts and influencers who can meet all your content needs.
In this post, we’re sharing how freelancers can help your business and where to find them.
The content marketer’s dilemma
Let’s kick things off with a few stats about content marketing:
- 89 percent of B2B marketers use content marketing in their marketing mix (Content Marketing Institute/MarketingProfs)
- 78 percent of CMOs think custom content is the future of marketing (DemandWare)
- 70 percent of B2B marketers plan on creating more content in 2017 versus 2016 (Content Marketing Institute/MarketingProfs)
Most digital marketers understand the benefits of content marketing. It builds trust with audiences, nurtures leads down the sales funnel and boosts your brand authority and voice. Thing is, just because you know content marketing can help you doesn’t mean you can successfully execute a content marketing strategy.
One likely culprit: Lack of time and resources. Whether you were hired to work specifically on content or have a multitude of other responsibilities, today’s marketers are more overwhelmed than ever. It’s nearly impossible to strategize and create great content at scale while juggling distribution, analytics, email marketing, social media and everything else. How can you create high-quality content that builds brand awareness, brings in new leads and solves customers’ problems?
That’s where freelancers come in.
You’re not alone
Freelance writers and content strategists support your content marketing efforts. Great ones make life a lot easier. Here’s how freelancers can help your business:
Take work off your plate. Not only are you expected to come up with a content strategy, but you’re also expected to create and promote the actual content, connect with influencers and optimize your site. You might find yourself dedicating a little bit of time to all your tasks, rather than going deep to make sure they’re done right.
Freelancers can take work off your plate, so you can focus on things only you can do. If you provide a freelancer with a blog topic or a fleshed-out outline, they can write while you focus on other things.
Complement what you’re already working on. It’s easy to feel as though you’re the only one who can work on a particular project. Have you ever thought things like:
- “I’m the only one who understands our brand voice.”
- “No one else would get what we’re trying to accomplish.”
- “Everything is such a mess. How could I get someone up to speed on all these tasks?”
Hire freelancers to complement what you’re already working on. If you’re redoing a support site, you can lay out the site architecture yourself, then pass it off to a freelancer. If you’re working on an ebook, write the outline and then pass it off to a freelancer.
Freelancers specialize in finding ways to help you. Good ones can help you become more efficient, and even offer guidance on how they can help you with what you’re already working on.
Offer expertise you don’t have. You were hired because of your skill set and past experience. Maybe you specialize in SEO or social media. Maybe you were able to grow blog traffic by 300 percent in your last role. Maybe you have a little bit of experience in all areas of digital marketing. Whatever the case, you’re not an expert in everything.
A lot of content marketers outsource content simply because freelancers are better writers than they are. Or, maybe the topic would be better handled by a subject matter expert who can offer insights that people want to read. Take a hard look at what’s most difficult for you. Is it impossible to write enough blog posts per month? Are you struggling to understand technical SEO? Whatever the case, you can find a freelancer to help.
What freelance writers can help you with
Freelancers can help with all kinds of initiatives, but here are some of the most common:
- Blog posts
- Ebooks, whitepapers and guides
- Case studies
- Customer interviews
- Landing pages
- General web copy
- Copy editing
- Social media copy and management
More economical than full-time employees
It’s pretty daunting to see that the best freelance writers are charging $500 per blog post. You’re not sure you have that kind of budget or can convince the boss to splurge.
Here’s the thing: Freelance writers are a lot cheaper than full-time employees. If your company hires someone full-time, they’re not only responsible for a salary, but they also have to provide benefits. There are additional taxes to pay as well. According to CNN Money, companies generally pay 18 to 26 percent more than an employee’s salary to have them on the team.
The beauty of freelancers is you use them whenever you need them — you’re not on the hook for providing them with a full-time job. You can hire a freelancer for a few projects or a few hours a week. Use them as you need them, in an à la carte fashion.
Know what you want
You wouldn’t believe how many freelance writers are out there. According to a 2014 report from the Freelancers Union & Elance-oDesk, there are approximately 53 million people who do freelance work in the U.S. If you take a look on any of the large find-a-freelancer sites, you’ll see thousands working from all corners of the world.
Freelance writers all write, but most specialize in certain areas of writing. For example, some consider themselves editors or blog managers while others are copywriters. And of course, there are journalists, SEO specialists, content writers and a slew of others.
Here are a few of the different types of freelance writers out there:
- Copywriters write promotional and advertising copy for print or online media. Because copywriters write with the intention of selling something, they’re often used for landing pages and conversion-driven campaigns.
- Content writers write blog posts, articles, ebooks and other types of long-form content. Sometimes content writers get a byline and sometimes they function as ghostwriters.
- Content strategists are (usually) strong writers who can also build your content strategy from the ground up. They learn your audience’s pain points, build your editorial calendar and generate content topics that will resonate with your audience.
- Influencers are people who are well-connected and influential in a particular industry or niche. Usually the most expensive type of writer on this list to hire, they’re considered authorities in the space and come with decent-sized social followings.
- SEO specialists specialize in search engine marketing and have the technical know-how to get your website more visibility in search. SEO specialists use content to meet their goals, but oftentimes, they’re not content writers themselves.
Determine which type of freelancer you need and how much experience they need to have to help you reach your goals. Many companies are happy to hire someone green as long as they’re good with words. These freelancers are less expensive but require more time training. Other companies sell something very technical, such as software for developers, and need content writers who understand the technology inside and out. Ask yourself:
- Does my freelance writer need to have experience in my industry, or can they learn about it?
- Can I afford the premium, specialized freelance writers?
- Do I need help with developing content topics, or do I just need someone who can write?
- Do I need someone to help with SEO and keyword research?
Answering these questions will help you determine who you should hire.
Where to find freelancers
Once you’ve determined the type of freelance writer you need, it’s time to find them. Many turn to large freelance marketplaces like UpWork, Fiverr and PeoplePerHour, but these sites are difficult to sift through. Yes, there are talented writers on these sites, but you’ll have to do a lot of legwork to find the real deal.
These are easier routes to good freelance writers:
Ask your colleagues for referrals. Your colleagues are the best place to start, because they understand your business and your needs. Start by asking around your office. Has anyone hired freelancers before? Do they have some go-to freelancers whom they love working with?
Ask existing freelancers for referrals. This strategy works if you’re already working with freelance writers and are simply looking to find more. The freelance community is tight-knit, and almost all freelance writers manage high demand by referring clients to other freelancers. Be specific about what and who you need — do you need a carbon copy of them, or do you need someone with a totally different skill set?
Read your favorite blogs and approach writers directly. Look at who’s writing the content on your favorite marketing and industry blogs and assess which voices you like. Many articles are written by freelance writers, and with a quick Google or social media search, you should be able to find the ones you like and contact them directly.
Post on job boards and Craigslist. No matter what you’re trying to do, Craigslist is a total mixed bag. You might be able to find a deal on a gorgeous piece of furniture, or you might find a piece of junk that belongs in a landfill. When it comes to hiring freelance writers, it’s the same deal. Job boards, such as LinkedIn, Indeed and Problogger — as well as Craigslist — can connect you with great writers. You just have to be willing to sift through the less-than-desirables to find the good stuff.
Use ClearVoice’s Content Studio and Marketplace. ClearVoice offers two tools to help you find freelance writers and influencers. First, there’s Content Studio, our database of the most popular writers and publishers on the web. Search by topic to identify the most-shared writers in your industry. Then there’s ClearVoice Marketplace, software that connects you with freelance writers looking for work. Our technology matches you with content creators who fit your budget, topic and timeline needs. You can do all this without ever leaving the ClearVoice workflow.
Reach out on social media. The best freelancers have robust social media profiles, and some are very influential in their industries. Influential freelancers can help you promote your content, ensuring it gets seen by your target audience. You can search for freelance writers on LinkedIn, where you’ll find loads of recommendations. You can also search for freelancers on Twitter, and then create Twitter lists to learn what makes target freelancers and influencers tick.
Now you know where to look for them
Next week we’ll discuss what you need to ask and know before you hire a freelance writer.
Our latest ebook explains how to leverage freelance writers to improve and grow your content creation efforts. For the complete guide, download “How to Successfully Find, Hire & Work With Freelancers.”