How to Hire a Freelance Writer
When you look online for a Freelance Writer, it can be easy to feel a bit overwhelmed. After all, in many online marketplaces, there are hundreds—if not thousands—of writers. There are writers from nearly every country around the world and at nearly every price point imaginable. It can be very difficult to compare one writer in India who charges, say, $10/hour to a writer in the U.S. who charges $50/page to a writer in Ireland who charges €.05/word. That doesn’t even address any differences in skill, knowledge, or delivery speed.
So, how do you compare all the options and how do you find a freelance writer who can meet or exceed your expectations? Here are a few things you can do to ensure that you pick not only a good writer, but someone who is good for your project.
Understand Your Own Needs
The first step in hiring a freelance writer is for you to understand what you really need. This can be difficult if you’re not entirely sure what you want. But you should at least develop a minimal understanding of what you’re looking for—website copy, an ad campaign, blog posts, a whitepaper, etc. If possible, try to develop a brief that will outline the project requirements and your expectations.
Additionally, think about what you’re willing to spend. Even if you’re not sure how much something should cost, it’s good to have an idea of what your budget is. It’s important to have realistic expectations, of course. You won’t be able to hire a New York Times writer for $5/article, but you can likely find a good writer at a price you can afford. Typically, though, you get what you pay for.
Carefully Read the Writer’s Profile
The first thing you should do is to thoroughly and carefully read the writer’s profile. Does the writing in the profile engaging or boring? Do they have samples, and if so are they interesting to read? Does the writing seem professional? Do the samples read like it’s written for an adult or someone with a 6th grade reading level (neither are bad, of course, it’s just important to find someone who can write for your audience). If what you see online interests you, then it’s potentially a good match for your project.
But not so fast. It’s important to also look for any typos on both their profile and samples. Typos are a sign of someone is either too lazy to edit their own work or that they just don’t have the skills they claim to have.
Ask the Right Questions
There are a number of good things you can ask to get a better sense of whether someone is a good match for you. These include:
- What experience do you have that’s relevant to my project/industry?
- What do you need from me to get started?
- What is your delivery time for a project like mine?
- How do you handle edits?
- How would you approach this project?
- What questions do you have for me?
How to Judge the Writer’s Responses
You can learn a lot by how a freelance writer responds to your questions. While it’s hard to always tell if someone is truthful, you can at least judge whether or not the person is a good fit for your project and for you.
First, did they answer your questions clearly and thoroughly? Clear communication is an essential aspect to working with anyone, but especially a freelancer. If their responses were vague or unclear, then it’s possible they won’t be a good fit.
Second, were they both personable and professional? Depending on the nature of your project, you need someone with whom you can collaborate. If you don’t get a good feeling from someone, trust your gut. Conversely, if they seemed friendly and enthusiastic about your project, then it’s likely it’ll be a good fit.
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