You know blogging is important for your business, and you know how to create great content, but how in the world do you carve out time to actually write that great content for your blog posts and the other copy your business needs to stay competitive?
Finding time to write can be just as stressful as actually writing, and if you don’t love to write, it may become one of those dreaded tasks that gets shuffled to the bottom of your to-do list (which translates into it never getting done). Instead of learning to love to write or having to write “when you get to it,” there’s a way to free up your time and still have great content. How?
Hire a freelance writer.
Basically, yes. There are some power strategies you can use to squeeze in time to write, but the strategies only work if you make writing a priority. So instead of focusing on organizing your time to write rather than spending it on running the business, check out these tips on how to find the best freelance writers. A competent freelancer will not only write for you but will write it in a way that makes your blog and business stand out from the rest.
Before you start searching for your perfect (writer) match, think about what you want in a writer, and about whether your budget—financial and time—will benefit from it. Some of the additional benefits of hiring a freelancer are that you don’t have to give that extra content-creation work to another employee, and you won’t have to create more office space. What’s more, freelancers don’t cost as much as regular, full-time employees. Only you can determine if hiring a freelancer is a budget-friendly move, but if you’ve decided it is the direction to go, consider the following:
First, ask yourself, “What do I want from a freelance content writer?” The following are a few helpful guidelines in determining this.
- What is the scope of the project you’re hiring them for? Blog content? Website content? Brochures and other physical copy? All of the above?
- Do you want lighthearted or more scholarly posts? Will the posts require heavy or light research?
- Do you want a writer who specializes in certain subjects that relate to your business, or is a general writer acceptable?
- Do you want ghostwriting (content that is written by the freelancer but it is published under your name, assuring your authority on the subject for your business), or are you willing to allow byline content (which is written by and published under the freelancer’s name)? Ghostwriting is usually more expensive than byline, and byline allows the writer to add the article to their portfolio.
- Look at your content calendar. How often will your writer need to produce an article? Can you give reasonable deadlines?
- Be aware of what content writers are not: most are not advertisers and marketing strategists, although most should and probably do know about SEO.
Now, take the information you’ve gathered from the questions above and write a clear, concise job posting you can upload to an agency or send out across your network.
Not sure where to send your job post? Try the following:
Companies such as Contently, Upwork, Freelancer, and WriterAccess all have databases of freelancers you can hire. The agency acts as a middleman between you and the freelancer. You and other companies like yours upload job postings to the agency’s site, and freelancers who have been approved by the agency apply for your job. You determine who is best qualified to complete the job by interviewing the candidates and hiring them through the agency.
- Tip! When hiring through an agency, only hire from reputable companies you’ve heard of and who have positive reviews. Check out this article by Hubstaff, which lists their top fifteen freelancer websites.
Since agencies have different rates and services that vary, you should research the agency’s offerings to determine which freelancer best suits your company’s needs.
- Decide if you want a freelancer whose work comes to you already professionally edited.
- Tip! Writers shouldn’t edit their own work if you want to get the best quality.
- Determine whether you or someone in your company will complete the invoicing and taxes, or whether you want a writer whose invoicing and tax-form preparation comes from the agency they’re associated with.
- Editing companies, publishing houses, and local colleges and universities are great places to find local writers who produce quality work.
- Ask colleagues if they’ve hired freelance writers in the past or currently use a freelance writer for their content.
Once you’ve got a few applicants, you’re ready to start interviewing. As with any other job you’re hiring someone for, you’ll want to be thorough—so you find a good match both for you and for the freelancer. Some things to consider:
- Review the writer’s résumé, referrals, and writing portfolio. Do you like their writing style? Are they able to tailor it to the company’s style and voice?
- Have they shown they are knowledgeable about the companies they write for? You want a writer who is willing to put forth the effort to learn about your company so they can write about it with authority.
- Do they consistently meet deadlines?
- Do they follow project guidelines?
- Do they avoid promoting their own platforms in their articles?
- Is their rate reasonable?
Now that you’ve found your freelancer, make sure you complete the necessary paperwork in order for them to start the job.
- Will you have them sign a contract? A nondisclosure agreement?
- Have you or the agency completed the W-9 tax form?
- Have you settled on a pay rate and determined the payment method?
Finding a freelancer may seem daunting at first, but perhaps not as much as the looming to-write list hovering over you right now.
Do these tips help? Have you hired a freelancer and have additional tips? We’d love to hear your thoughts!