Your First Freelance Writer

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.

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.

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.

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.

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