Whether it's blogging, email marketing, copywriting for advertisements or your website (and the list goes on): Great writing is essential to increasing traffic to your site, connecting with customers, boosting conversions and much more.
But you don't have time to write everything yourself. Or maybe you realize that you don't have the skills to write engaging content. That means it's time to hire a freelance writer. A great freelance writer can help you craft written content that saves you time and helps you win customers. But how do you go about hiring the right person? It's not that difficult anymore since freelancing is on the rise. In fact, according to Intuit, 7.6 million people will be working in the on-demand economy regularly by 2020.
If you're ready to hire, take a look at these five tips for hiring your first freelance writer.
Stay away from cheap content mills
Many businesses hiring their first freelance writer might be tempted to go in search of cheap writers on content mills. You might think that you're saving money by hiring a freelancer who will write you a blog post for $20, but you get what you pay for. There are millions of freelance writers on these sites, and they're all bidding for their next job, so you're not necessarily getting a writer who cares about your business. Plus, the quality of writing you'll get from freelancers on content mills is typically sub-par.
Alternatively, you can also reach out to writers who are publishing content on your favorite industry websites already. Browse through articles on a popular, quality website and contact the writers of the post; they might be freelancers that you can hire.
Review published work
Hiring a freelance writer isn't like hiring for other positions with your company, you don't just have an interview and look over their resume, you need to see examples of published work. Reviewing a writer's work will help you avoid hiring someone with poor writing skills. Anyone can say they're a good writer, but you've got to see it for yourself.
You can prescreen candidates you find by checking out their website for portfolio examples and Googling their name to find other pieces they've written. You can also ask candidates to send you examples when they apply to your job listing.
When reviewing an article, use a plagiarism checker tool to ensure the writer's work is completely their own. You can also use a free tool like Grammarly to check for spelling and grammatical errors. Check to see if their examples are well researched and well written. If the article entertains you or helps you learn something new, that's the sign of a great writer.
Ask the right questions
Once you find a freelance writer that has great writing samples, you still need to interview them to determine if they're a good match for your business. Some questions you should be asking during the interview are:
What kind of content do you like to create?
What is your work schedule like?
How many articles/how many words can you comfortably write per day?
What are some ideas you have for content for my business?
What kind of SEO and keyword research do you conduct?
What are your prices?
Just like any job position, you need to make sure the freelance writer you ultimately choose is the right fit for your needs and has all the skills to produce the quality work you want.
Establish a communication plan
You and your first freelance writer will be in a long-distance relationship of sorts, so you need to develop a communication plan that works for both parties. You need to be able to contact your freelance writer to discuss new ideas, get progress updates and send revision requests, and they need to be able to contact you to answer any questions they have regarding a project.
Decide whether you and your freelance writer will contact each other by phone, email or Skype. You might want to consider a messaging platform like Slack that will make keeping in contact with your freelancers easy.
An instant messaging tool is a great way to work collaboratively as well. In fact, according to a ReportLinker survey, 49 percent of people say instant messaging enhances collaboration. You also need to set boundaries for when and how much you need to be in contact. You might think you need to speak with your freelance writer every other day, while they might only want to have one chat per week with you.
Create an onboarding process
Just because a freelancer writer is not one of your employees doesn't mean they don't need to familiarize themselves with your business and its processes. Once you've chosen a freelance writer to hire, you need to provide them with onboarding to get them up to speed on your company culture and give them all the information they need in order to complete their tasks.
Provide your freelance writer with all the details they need to know about your business, especially if they're going to be writing about your products. Give them videos to watch, a list of FAQs, a company style guide, introduce them to team members they need to know and give them a breakdown on your ideal customer. If your writer is going to be writing for your company and your customers, they need to know the ins and outs of your business completely.
Over to you
Words are powerful, which makes finding the perfect freelance writer such a vital task. Searching for a talented freelance writer can be a complicated process but with these tips, it won't take you long at all to find a writer who can help grow your company and boost your sales.