One of the main reasons many people end up doing their own content is that they cannot find a freelance content writer that truly seems to ‘get’ them and their business. Finding a good freelance blogger or writer is not unlike finding a good au pair, dentist, doctor or even an accountant. Entrusting someone to summarise your business and speak for your business is not always the easiest task. In fact, it can be downright scary if you do not feel as though the writer on question truly understands your business.
Unlike an in-house writer, who is conveniently based in your office, right there where you can monitor and oversee things, a freelance content writer is typically based remotely. Sometimes, not even in the same province or country as you, let alone the same city. How do you know you have made the right choice? What should you be looking for in a freelance writer to forge a lasting relationship?
Finding the Right Freelance Content Writer
The first thing to know about choosing and working with a freelance content writer is that it is all about building relationships. If you do not feel comfortable with your writer, chances are good that you will have communication issues. When this happens, it becomes even harder to get your point across in a way that ensures well-written content. It is also worth noting that the qualities that you may look for in a writer might well come down to your specific industry and even your personality and how well it fits with your writer’s personality.
What else should you know about finding your dream freelance content writer? Let’s have a look…
Above all else, the writer should be a good fit for you and your business. This matters far more than experience, skill or anything else. The reason for this is that it will be far easier to build a relationship when you both feel comfortable. Look beyond experience for writers who know your industry well, use language similar to yours, communicate in a way that feels easy and low-key, and generally gets on well with you and your team. You will need to use your gut, here, but you can always start off with small jobs at first to get an idea of whether it truly is a good fit.
Experience is also important – more so than education and training. You could have a copywriter who has completed the highest standard in journalism or communications, without having written a lot of blog posts. Likewise, you could have a self-taught writer who has been writing blog posts extensively for a few years, even without a degree or diploma. Rather than asking for resumes, ask the writer to send through examples of recent work. This will give you an idea of how much experience they may have.
Needless to say, expertise is another thing to consider. Be wary of writers who blog frequently, but make many typos and errors in all of their content. Anyone can be a blogger. Not everyone can make a living as a professional freelance writer, however. One way to find skilled writers is to ask around in your network to see if anyone you know has worked with a good writer. Another is to do online searches and then go over the websites you find carefully to see how well these are written. You could even ask prospective writers to do a short copywriting test or do a trial page or blog post to see how well writers do.
Attitude is another thing to consider. Did the writer in question respond to your enquiry, quickly and politely? Did you feel as though they listened to your needs or did you feel as though they were trying to push you into something before you were ready? Do they seem flexible at all or are they more rigid when it comes to deadlines, deposits, payments, drafts, and other things? How much of a time-frame were you given for your project? Did the writer offer any help or offer guidance to get your project off the ground or did they simply send you a rates card and then leave it at that?
There is a rather entertaining freelance meme that states you can choose two of three things: fast, cheap or good. Rather than looking at things from a price perspective, it is better to look at things in terms of value. Most writers set their rates according to industry standards. Here in South Africa, the SA Freelancer’s Association does annual surveys across various freelance groups that include writers. As tempting as it is to find the cheapest option, this will not always be the best option if it means sacrificing quality. Instead, look at what value the rates provide. Do you get keyword research included? Are any rewrites included? Will the content help you grow your business? If you are getting value, then it makes your content a genuine investment. If you are getting a high estimate that does not offer much in the way of value, it may not be as worthwhile, of course.
Read my tips on choosing a freelance writer for even more things to consider in your search. If you’d like to learn more about working with a freelance content writer with over 12 years of writing experience, get in touch today.