So, you have a great idea, but you don’t know how to get it down on paper or make it work for your business, customers, or clients. QUICK: You need to learn how to hire a freelance writer.
However, hiring a freelance writer can be intimidating and confusing . . . not to mention, you can waste a ton of time and money hiring the wrong person and then being forced to hire another writer (and spending more time and money) because the first one didn’t work out.
So, how do you hire a freelance writer that is perfect for your job?
First, let’s take a look at . . .
When To Hire A Freelance Writer
So, when should you hire a freelance writer (and when should you just do it yourself)?
You should hire a freelance writer if:
• You don’t have time to write what you need to write.
• You need a subject matter expert (SME) that fully understands the topic.
• You need to build your website or business expertise in an area outside of your own experience.
• You need a specific degree, certification, or credential attached to the content to give it authority.
• The project needs extensive research along with the writing (and you just don’t have time for that).
• You don’t want to write about the topic.
• You can’t write.
Now that we’ve covered WHEN you need to hire a freelance writer, let’s take a look at how to hire a freelance writer.
How To Hire A Freelance Writer
1. Determine Your Project Scope
Before you do anything else, you need to determine your freelance project scope, including project goals, deliverables, tasks, costs, and deadlines.
It will be tough for a freelance writer to provide a project quote (both price and timeline) without a full understanding of the project.
Before you start contacting freelance writers, you should prepare to answer (at the very minimum) questions like:
• What is the project / project scope?
• What is your budget? How do you pay?
• What is your timeframe? (When do you need the project completed?)
• Is there a style guide that the writer needs to follow?
2. Search for Niche Writers
So, you’re probably wondering:
How do you find freelance writers?
How do I hire a good content writer?
(Or even, How do I hire freelance bloggers?)
—The first thing you want to do is search for freelance writers in your niche.—
If you need a specialized healthcare writer, it doesn’t make sense (or help save your sanity) to comb through a mix of writers that include children’s book authors or freelance writers who specialize in topics about engineering or other topics that have absolutely nothing to do with the niche you need.
Instead, you’ll want to niche your search according to your specific topics / needs.
Do this by:
• Searching online for freelance writers [your niche]
• Searching online for freelance writers [specific degree, credential, or certification]
• Looking for freelance writer boards/sites in your specific category or niche
• Checking out professional organizations in the desired niche and contacting them for recommendations
• Finding well written articles online in your niche and then contacting the author
3. Don’t Just Go For The Cheapest Writers
Stay away from sites that offer free or cheap freelance blogging jobs or have claims of the “fastest and cheapest” writing services from freelance writing job boards.
A seasoned, professional writer with the background and experience that you need is not going to work for five dollars (and they’re especially not going to offer follow-up and rewrites).
(Trust me, I’ve received many writing contracts where a business decided to go cheap first to save money for the budget, but then had to spend additional money when they hired me and I had to redo the entire writing project.)
—If you want quality work from freelancers, you need to pay for it.—
While you can negotiate with freelance writers, don’t disrespect their business and experience by trying to hire them for the same price you see on those dollar job boards.
Also, if you need a quick turnaround, be prepared to pay a little extra for that.
4. Invite Quotes on Freelance Projects
Once you find a few freelance writers of interest, start contacting them.
The first thing is to reach out with an email to see if they have availability for your project.
In the email, include:
- Short introduction of you/your company.
- Description of project. (You don’t need to go into the full scope of the project during this introductory period.)
- Inquiry on timeline and average price for this type of project.
- Ask to see some writing samples.
- Close out the email by letting them know you’re happy to answer any questions and inviting them to bid on the project. (Be sure to include the due date for the bid!)
5. Select The Best Freelancer For Your Project, But Don’t Burn Bridges
Once you’ve reviewed all the responses and quotes/bids for your project, then it’s time to pick a freelance writer.
Remember, don’t just go for the cheapest!
Review all of the information and make a choice based on expertise, experience, and price.
TIP: If you’re unsure, ask to speak to the writer on the phone or on Skype to get a better feel for them and their personality.
Once you’ve chosen a writer for your project, it’s common courtesy to let the other freelance writers you were talking to know about your decision so they don’t keep time blocked off on their calendar for your project.
If there are other freelance writers that were of interest that you aren’t using for this specific project (for whatever reason), let them know.
Be sure to say something like, “We’ve gone a different way for this project, but I’ll keep your information on file for future projects.”
This can be a huge time-saving step when you need other writers or if it doesn’t work out with the first writer you choose.
6. Put Everything In Writing
If you’re going to hire a freelance writer, you need a contract of some type to:
- Ensure that everyone is on the same page.
- Outline scope of project, pricing, and deadline.
- Protect yourself should something go wrong.
At a minimum, your contract should include:
- Contact details for both parties
- Effective date
- End date
- Full scope details of the project
- Payment amount and how the freelancer will be paid
- Verbiage that the freelancer is not an employee
- An “out” clause that allows you to pull the project with no repercussions
Search for free contract templates to make your own or talk to an attorney about legal information to include.
Both of you should sign the contract and you should provide a signed copy to the freelancer.
7. Solidify Details
When emailing a signed copy of the contract, it’s a good time to solidify details.
The main thing to ask at this stage is, “When do you anticipate getting started on the project?”
Also, remind the freelancer of the best way to get in touch with you and encourage them to reach out with any questions.
If this is an extended project that takes a few weeks or months, it’s OK to periodically check in with the writer to see how things are going. This is especially a good idea as the deadline gets closer. You want to make sure your project will be finished on time!
How much does it cost to hire a content writer or a freelance writer?
Since freelance writers come from a wide span of background, education, and experience, costs for hiring a freelance writer are going to vary greatly.
You may get bids on your project from writers willing to do it for a few dollars all the way to $10,000 and up, depending on the project and scope.
Remember, you really do get what you pay for in life (and freelancing is no different)!
So—I REPEAT—do not just look for the cheap freelance writer and go with that person!
What freelance writers charge will depend on:
• Education, Degree, Certification, Credential
• Scope of Project
• Timeline / Due Date
• Additional Things (Incidentals / Travel to Meetings, Participation in Weekly Meetings, Overseeing Others In a Project, etc.)
Traditionally, a freelance writer will include reasonable edits, rewrites, or changes in the price of the project.
Be sure to understand what your writer considers part of the scope of the work (included in the price) and when it is considered work above and beyond the contract for an additional charge.
In some cases, a freelance writer may ask for some of the payment upfront (especially if this is a new working relationship). This is normal in the freelance industry and protects the writer should they perform the service and then not get paid by the people that hire them (which, sadly, happens sometimes).
One Last Note About the Negotiation
Don’t be offended if the freelancer negotiates the price with you. This is a normal part of the process.
And, just like you don’t want to overpay for a freelance project, the freelance writer doesn’t want to get underpaid based on their expertise and experience.
Most professional freelance writers will provide reasonable quotes based on their experience with past projects.
Don’t be afraid to pay them what they’re worth, while still sticking to your budget!
And, remember, it is possible to successfully hire freelance writers online!