Are you looking to hire an awesome freelance writer but hesitant to trust someone else to tell your story?
It’s a legitimate fear. After all, a freelance writer is responsible for the words that bring your company to life.
Yes, good writing is sound thinking that is clear and concise.
But it’s more than that. Compelling writing touches the reader emotionally and leads to the behaviour you are seeking to create.
Subsequently, the freelance writer you hire is one of the most important marketing decisions you make as a business owner.
So, how do you pick the right person for the job?
Here are some tips to assist you in your search for an awesome freelance writer.
This notion seems obvious, but a deep dive into a writer’s portfolio will reveal the scope of their work and their ability to write different types of content.
Most writers post samples on their website, but you can also search online to find additional bylines. Many writers host blogs on their websites as well, which are useful to read through.
By reviewing the writer’s work, you’ll get a sense of whether their writing style will work for your audience. Their writing samples will reveal their ability to research, interview, and source subjects for their work.
As a reminder, solid writing is:
- Easy-to-read; logical order
- Clear and concise
- Appropriate in tone
- Appropriate in vocabulary
- Well-researched and sourced
The next point goes hand-in-hand with ability, but as they say, the devil is in the details.
A writer’s demeanour says a lot about how they value their work. Freelance writers are business owners, and how they run their business is a good indicator of how they will conduct themselves with you and your team.
Some things to consider when looking for a freelance writer:
- Do they respond promptly to your emails and phone calls?
- Are they polite and respectful in their communication?
- Do they respect your deadlines?
- Will they agree to two rounds of revisions?
- Are they confident enough to reach out with questions to ensure the highest quality work?
- Does the writer have a professional website and social media channels that they consistently update?
- Do they have a strong company brand?
Yes, to all of the above? Great! You have a writer who will likely understand and meet your expectations as a business owner.
There are two types of freelance writers — generalists, who write on a variety of topics, and niche writers who focus on a few industries or types of writing.
Most companies prefer to hire niche writers for a few good reasons:
- Research: niche writers spend all of their time on a specific topic; consequently, they learn a ton of background information relevant to their client’s industry.
- Language: niche writers are familiar with the vocabulary and style used by companies in their niche.
- Audience: niche writers are better able to understand and write for a company’s target audience if they’ve written for them before.
- Experience: niche writers have proven experience in the industry and may even have some client testimonials (more on that below!).
Another massive advantage of hiring a niche writer is that they are usually very passionate about the subject matter. After all, they chose that niche for a reason!
Marc Anthony’s quote, “If you love what you do, you’ll never work a day in your life” applies here; you will benefit from their passion.
A quality writer who specializes in a subject is always researching new developments and trends. After all, good writing starts with ideas.
I am a voracious reader, as most good writers are. I keep a pen and paper nearby at all times to jot down ideas with specific clients in mind. Then I email them to see if they see the same value in the brainstorms as I do.
This process is the foundation of a good working relationship. Your writer should not only execute briefs but also contribute to your company’s broader content strategy and play a vital role in it.
In a niche writer, you not only have a writer but a fountain of creative ideas.
Recommendations are a great way to learn about the writer’s work and professionalism.
A client testimonial is a big deal, so most writers proudly and prominently display them on their website.
How to Effectively Vet a Freelance Writer
If you’ve gotten to the point where you’re ready to engage with the writer but are still unsure whether they are precisely the right fit for your company, there are a few options.
- Have a brief conversation to try to clear up any reservations you may have.
- Assign a short blog post or article before committing to a longer, more expensive piece.
- Request a pitch with three post ideas.
How to Get the Best Work from a Freelancer
Excellent freelance writers will be able to take your direction and run with it. Nevertheless, they need clear guidelines and expectations if they are going to hit the mark.
It is realistic to expect a detailed questionnaire from your new writer about your company and the project.
And it’s a good sign that your writer is on the ball and understands what goes into a successful piece of work.
I promised to warn you of a few missteps to avoid when engaging a freelance writer.
Here they are:
Resources such as time and money are invaluable, and you can save yourself both by hiring a professional writer worth their chops.
Many content mills exist, and many writers will offer to do the job at a cheaper rate than the standard. However, there is usually a reason for it.
You’ve invested so much in your company; you owe it to yourself and your customers to hire a writer that can do it justice.
When you enter into a discussion with a writer, you’re right to assume that the person you are talking to will be the person who is doing the writing.
But this might not be the case. You would be surprised at the number of writers who outsource their work.
And it rarely works out well.
In light of all the considerations above, you must have a direct line to your writer.
The writer you choose is one of the most important decisions you can make for your marketing efforts.
Don’t sell your company or your audience short. If you follow the guidance above, you will find the best writer to meet your marketing goals.
If you’re looking for a freelance writer who checks all of these boxes, please contact me. I’d love to learn more about your writing needs!