What to Look for When Hiring Freelance Writers for Your Business
Hiring people to write for you is a delicate balance between finding a wordsmith and finding a business-oriented professional. Excellent prose is great, but if a person can’t be trusted to deliver work with all your requirements, then they aren’t the right writer for the job. There are several things to consider beyond writing ability — like personality, knowledge, and experience — when choosing who to hire as your new freelance writer for your business.
Decide What Kind of Writer You Want
Not all writers are the same. Each has a different set of talents, abilities, and competencies. Some writers are experts on science but don’t understand economics. Others can write about business with ease but stumble when it comes to technical specifications. Decide what professional experience matters to you before you start. While you can tell a lot about a person’s writing style from samples and communication, you don’t want to go through a lot of applications that don’t fit your requirements because you were too general in your job posting.
Communication and Experience
Evaluate people who reply to your job posting by looking at what they say and whether their communication style is professional. If a writer can’t email you for a job without spelling or grammar errors, you might want to look elsewhere to hire someone. You should also ask the writer to include something about their experience in their cover letter or resume and what they’ve published before. Good writing in an email doesn’t always translate to good writing on an important project.
It’s important to select a writer who either has an understanding of the subject you’re working with or who is skilled with research. Some indications of this can be found in their past experience. For example, someone with an English degree is likely to be able to analyze and research well. Someone with a business degree is probably skilled with financial and economic concepts. Ask questions about the topic for which you want a writer so that you can gauge the depth of their experience and understanding. Decide what experience you’re going to prioritize before you choose your writer.
Check for Samples
One way to get a quick idea of whether a writer is the type you’re looking for is to ask them for samples that they’ve published or sold previously. You don’t need to read every sample from every person — once you’ve narrowed down the candidates based on their letters and qualifications, you can let their samples help you make the final decision. Look for how they word things, what kinds of resources they use, and whether their style fits with your project.
It’s best to look at published samples if you can. That way you can see an indication of the kind of work they deliver, rather than what they wrote to impress potential clients. Of course, many writers are just getting started in their careers and are capable of living up to or exceeding the samples they send you.
Different writers bring very different styles to the table. For example, some writers are excellent at creating advertising copy that sells products and ideas to readers. Others are able to create a word picture with their writing which can help clarify difficult concepts or devices for a person who doesn’t yet have an understanding of them. Still others are better with technical details and able to communicate to an audience who understands the concepts and is looking for a deeper analysis of your niche. You should consider what style of writing you’re looking for when you look at the samples and competencies of your candidates. You might be surprised at how much even great writers can differ from one another — and each can bring something different to the table.
Communicate Your Expectations
Most people don’t want to take a job that they can’t perform well. If you communicate your expectations clearly to potential writers, then you’re more likely to have people who aren’t qualified weed themselves out before the job starts. Sometimes you don’t want to share everything about a project in the job listing — some things aren’t necessarily meant to be made public.
When you write to the person or people you’re considering hiring, make sure that you’re clear about the job requirements, time commitment, and salary. While it’s possible that all candidates are prepared for exactly what the job entails, it’s still better to get the nuts and bolts out of the way before you do any paperwork. It just saves time for later.
Look at Reviews
A lot of sites that help you find custom writers also have reviews from their current or previous clients. While one bad review might be an aberration, multiple bad reviews or bad reviews that mention the same issues should be a red flag. Take reviews with a grain of salt, but factor them into your decision-making process if they’re available. Someone who’s pleasant and professional should have a good relationship with most of their previous contacts. If they don’t, chances are they aren’t someone you want to work with.
While you don’t usually have to work directly with a freelance writer you hire, it is important that they have a personality that meshes with yours and that helps you create good work. One area to consider is their attitude toward the project. If they bring a negative energy or lack of focus that rubs you the wrong way, it might be time to consider going in another direction. Ultimately you have to choose what you can work with — and there are plenty of qualified writers out there who will be a great addition to your team.
When you choose a freelance writer, you’re choosing someone who can take concepts and ideas you create and use them to sell, advertise, or catch the interest of your audience. It’s essential that you pick the writer who has the know-how and ability to create the kind of content you’re looking to publish. By considering each of these areas before offering a writer a job, you can be sure that you’ve hired the best person.