The process of hiring a freelance writer for the first time can be gruelling process.
You can spend days just trying to find somebody that can write in fluent English – only to discover that they always turn in their assignments late.
So you end up starting all over again, feeling more and more exhausted each time you do it.
What if there was an easier way to tell who was going to be a great freelance writer before you take them on?
Imagine not needing to spend so much time finding a writer, and saving money by only taking on the ones that can deliver what you need, when you need it.
So what signs should you be on the look out for when hiring a freelance writer?
1. You talk to an individual
Agencies and content mills will take on anybody who can string together a sentence.
You’re unlikely to find a talented freelance writer when looking at these kind of sites because they consistently attract low paid work. You might not want to break the bank on a single article or blog post, but the kinds of writers that hang around these sites looking for work do so because they lack the writing skills that are needed to successfully approach businesses, wow them with their content, and set a fee that works for both parties.
2. They have experience
When a business starts looking for a new employee, the best thing a candidate can bring to the table is knowing how to succeed in their new role because they’ve already done it.
With a freelance writer, it’s no different. The best writers are not only experienced as writers, but have knowledge of your industry or niche that can’t be gained by googling it. If you want the content they produce to have any value to your customers and clients, it has to bring something new. Bad writers simply rehash what others have already done, and this damages your brand because it makes you look like you’re simply a second-rate copycat.
3. They are great communicators
The last thing you want to be doing is chasing after a writer to know when a piece will be ready. By being open with you about how their work is progressing, great writers help you keep your work-related stress levels down.
Good communication skills are one of the most important qualities a writer can possess for large projects too. If you need to co-ordinate between a photographer, journalists, your creative team and a writer that’s putting together your press release – the last thing you’ll want to do is discover that the writer has decided to take a holiday on the one day you’ve managed to gather everybody else together. Good communicators avoid that by keeping you in the loop.
4. They aren’t always available
This might sound like it runs contrary to the last point – but bear with me here.
The best writers are in demand. If you want to work with the best, you have to get in line. The only kinds of writers that are available 24/7 are the kind that aren’t good enough to have clients begging to work with them again and again.
But a great writer is business savvy. They won’t just tell you “No, sorry.” If they like working with you, then they’ll do their best to make it easy to continue doing so. If they absolutely cannot manage another assignment that week, they’ll be happy to tell you to try them again next time.
This means you’ll have to be a responsible client too. The last thing you’ll want to do is burn your bridges with a great writer. Don’t take a refusal as an insult, just understand that quality can sometimes be a curse.
So what should you do in this situation?
Ask the writer if they could recommend anyone else to do the assignment. Success, like misery, loves company. Great writers are generally well connected with others of a similar level – and they will be happy to point you in their direction.
This isn’t a fool proof method. After all, people are conned every day by somebody that can act well. However, keeping these principles in mind will make it easier to find the kinds of writers you want to do business with on a repeat basis.