Sooner or later, in the life of every leader committed to great online marketing, a startling realization occurs: “Holy cow! Content creation requires an awful lot of writing.” At this point, whether the leader is an engineer, a scientist or a motivational speaker, this realization leads to a quick conclusion: “I need help from a professional writer!”
But just how do you go about finding one? Here are few things to consider when hiring a freelance writer.
- Determine Timing
First, figure out when it’s time to hire a Freelance Writer. The simplest answer: When the demands of creating content outstrip the ability of the leader – or anyone else on the internal team – to keep up with the creation of blogs, social media content, whitepapers and other downloadable content. If you are not blogging regularly, if your website hasn’t been updated in a while, or if you have a stack of content ideas that you “just can’t get to,” then it’s time to seek professional help.
- Start Looking
Second, begin the hunt. But where? As with any other need for your organization, the Internet offers a wide variety of opportunities. Take a look at the major freelancing websites.
- Seek Out The Right Attributes
So let’s talk attributes of good freelance writers. There are a few that, in my experience, are non-negotiable:
- The first may surprise you: Curiosity. A good freelance writer should want to learn as much as possible about you, your organization and what you do. This is critical because this is the raw material that will power your inbound marketing. If a writer “knows it all,” or seems disinterested – that’s a writer to avoid.
- The second attribute is an ability to write on deadline. The gaping maw of the Internet waits for no one. Fail to post a blog today, and that’s an opportunity lost. Remember: the reason you want to hire someone is because you’re not meeting your deadlines now. You don’t do yourself any favors by outsourcing the problem!
- Technical proficiency is another non-negotiable attribute. This means the writer can spell, put sentences together, and oh yes, that he or she is “creative,” meaning that what he or she writes is worth reading, whether it’s about weddings or widgets. It does NOT mean creative in the sense of using your website as a billboard for their personal creative ambitions.
- Determine Compensation
Once you’ve determined if you need help, where to find the help and have a few ideas about what makes a good writer — how do you engage a good writer financially? After all, writers (like other professionals) do expect to be paid. Here are a few recommendations to get you started:
- First, commit to a mutual trial period of 30 or 90 days.
- Payment for writers typically follows one of these formats: By the word, by the piece, by the hour, or by an ongoing fee or retainer. Each choice can be right for you and the writer, depending upon your circumstances.
- Look for Red Flags
This is great, right? Well, there are red flags. The ability to hire writers who are remote is a great benefit of our web culture. So you can no longer look someone in the eye, or take the full measure of him or her in person when hiring. So look for other telltale signs including taking a look at the samples they send.