How long is your process when hiring a freelance writer?
Believe it or not, hiring a freelance writer is an important task for your agency. Finding the best writers can be challenging and time-consuming for business managers.
In fact, with all the freelance websites on the market, it's easy to hire a writer. You can find someone for a specific project in no time. But, one problem will always remain: how do you get quality writing?
There is no barrier to entry to become a freelance writer. To start, a writer just needs a laptop, an internet connection and 30 minutes to create a profile. No skills test is required! Now, your job when you are hiring a freelance writer is to identify the best talent out there.
Do you want to spend money and time on random picks for writers?
You don’t want to spend hours of your time guiding your new hire. It’s not your job to teach them how to write and help them with strategies. Your job is to bring in new clients and convert these leads into money for your agency.
It's the same thing with your in-house writer if you have one. You are running a business… you are not at school. When you choose to work with a bad writer, you accept loss of time, money, and leads.
Hiring a freelance writer should be an investment, not an expense. That’s why I’m going to reveal 20 things you need to know before hiring a freelance writer. I will share with you hidden tips and the best place to hire a writer today to scale your agency.
Before thinking too far… STOP!
Let’s start with the fundamentals of building a strong hiring process. Your first step is to establish your goals. Yes, please take your time and set your goals. Ask yourself what you want to accomplish in the next few weeks or months with a freelance writer.
Make sure your goals are Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time-bound (SMART). To learn how to set SMART goals, read this Hubspot article.
Here is an example of a SMART goal: In the next 3 months, the writer will increase my site traffic by 10% per month. They will write one blog post per day. The writer will help my business to reach 5,000 visitors per day in 3 months.
Once you know your goals, decide how many freelance writers you need.
Be logical and think about a safety margin. Don’t put too much pressure on your future writer. Take into consideration the research needed for your project to make sure you have quality content.
Let’s continue the first step from the example: You need one blog post per day. With what you just read, does it sounds logical to hire only one writer? A logical move would be hiring three writers and assign them 2 or 3 blog posts each per week. It’s impossible to sustain 1 blog per day for a single freelance writer for a long period of time.
If you want to outsource some writing projects, you will need to establish a budget to pay your freelance writer. Make sure you plan your budget based on your needs.
Don’t forget to see your project as an investment. You are outsourcing the job to make money. Here’s a quote from Benjamin Franklin you need to keep in mind when planning your budget: "The bitterness of poor quality remains long after the sweetness of low price is forgotten."
The next step is simple but fundamental. You need to fix the deadline for your project. Scheduling your needs can help you to visualize where you want to be in the future. Also, when hiring a freelance writer, expect that asking for a deadline will be one of their first questions.
Freelance writers need to organize their schedule. If you don’t have a deadline, you might be the last priority for them. That’s why you need to fix a logical timeline for both sides.
Tip: It’s part of the process for the writer to ask for a week’s delay before starting to work with you. They use this time for audience and market research. It’s essential, and you should be careful if they don't ask.
Your audience is the essential information you need to provide when hiring a freelance writer. From content articles to paid ads, your agency needs to provide the target audience.
Give the writer everything you have about your buyer’s persona so they can speak to your potential client anytime they write. A professional freelance writer will use it to start their research. They will be on the right path, and it will accelerate their learning curve.
Before writing one word, freelance writers like to know how your sales funnel looks. Selling is like fishing. If you don’t fish at the right spot with the right bait… good luck.
If you have a diagram of your sales structure, prepare a copy for the writer. This step will paint the picture of your buyer’s journey in the writer’s mind.
When they work with clients, they like to know what kind of lead generation method they will apply. It will allow the freelance writer to align their writing with the stage of the buyer’s journey. They want to know if they use:
As I said, it will help the writer with research, and it will accelerate their learning curve.
The next thing you need to establish is the kind of content required for your project.
You have 3 choices: educational, inspirational, and entertaining.
Be clear on what you want to accomplish with your content. Every writer has strengths and weaknesses in these three spaces.
Hiring a freelance writer without signing any contract is like gambling… you don’t know how it will end! Protect your agency with a solid contract explaining the project details with the writer.
By the way, this step is for both sides. The writer will also want to include some clauses in the agreement to protect themselves. The contract is a way to avoid any potential disputes for both parties. If you want to learn more about writing a contract, you can read this article.
Tip: Make sure you clarify payment and usage rights between the writer and your agency.
Do you need a non-disclosure agreement?
While working on your project, the writer will have access to confidential information. Ask the freelance writer to sign a non-disclosure agreement (NDA). An NDA is the best way to protect your agency from leaked information.
You probably don't want to see your future project in your competitor’s hands. Here is an excellent article about NDA on Forbes.com.
Before hiring a freelance writer, you want to update your team's contact information. This step will be beneficial for the writer to connect with your team. They will be able to reach out to the right people for their questions and needs.
Implementing this step can save time for everybody if you have communication protocols.
Since you have done the last 10 steps, you are now ready to look for a writer. Just before going further in the process, look back at what you have established so far.
What kind of expertise does your writer need to have? Do you want to hire a freelance writer who specializes in a specific niche? Maybe you want to hire the best email writer or a Facebook ads master.
You need to choose between a generalist or a specialist to create your project. If you plan on hiring an expert freelancer, make sure your budget fits with your needs.
Hiring a freelance writer is like hiring a lawyer. You pick a generalist if your legal case is common and easy to defend. But, if you have a particular case, it’s different. You might want to have the best lawyer who knows every little detail about the subject. That’s an expert!
Since you clarified all your needs for your project, now is the time to talk about the hiring process. So, where can you find the perfect writer for your needs? Here are some places where you can reach them:
Within your network
Popular website blogs
It’s important to remember, the quality of the writer will be different depending on the platform. You should read this article before making a decision to hire freelance writers on content mills.
There are a lot of good writers out there. But there is a problem! Professional freelance writers have many clients because of their skills. You might stay on the waiting list for a while if you want to work with the best.
Depending on the platform, you will need to write a project plan. If that's the case, write as many details as possible to attract the best writer for your project needs. Show them what they will get working with you.
Tip: Don’t use first person "I" or "we". Instead, focus on them, so they feel more engaged with your offer.
Try to write sentences like these: "While you will work with us, your goal is to craft world-class articles. If you can craft great blog posts, you can stay with us long term. You will earn bonuses for writing fantastic content because we want to work with the best."
Can you see how engaging this copy is?
You are not talking about only you… it’s more like a team. These kinds of sentences are powerful and persuasive. In fact, you will be able to speak their language.
Now, you will have a list of writers. Before hiring a freelance writer, in particular, you should first find the 5 best candidates. After that, do a bit of research on each applicant.
Do you like what you see?
Do they write for authority websites?
How many years of experience do they have?
What is their niche?
Are they experts in what you need?
Do they look professional?
Tip: Rank them from 1 to 5 and don’t hesitate to drop some if they don’t meet your requirements.
You should now have your top 5 ready for your next step.
The final stage before hiring a freelance writer should be the interview. Again, this is your last chance to see which of your picks will fit best for your project.
To be time-efficient and equal for all 5 freelance writers, set a call duration. Be clear about your time limit at the beginning of the call. If it’s 20 minutes per writer, don’t overextend. Prepare a series of questions and listen to their answers.
Tip: Don’t talk too much. It’s their interview. Here are a few questions you can ask:
What is your niche?
What kind of content do you like to create?
How many articles/words you can write per day? (Pay attention to this one, you can learn a lot about the writer research process.)
What is your research process before writing any content?
What is SEO? (If you hire for content writing, this question is essential.)
What is your work schedule?
What are your rates?
Once completed, I'm sure you'll have a gut feeling for who is best for your agency. Don’t forget to align your decision with your needs and goals.
Call back the winning candidate and ask them if they are ready to work with you.
You have now found your freelance writer, but you still have to clarify the payment method and schedule. There are many solutions out there, but you need to be careful with some options.
You want to look for transaction fees, processing time, country availability, currency support, payment method and transfer limit. Since you want to build trust with your writer, make sure the money aspect of the agreement is bulletproof!
Here is one of the best articles I found on freelance payment methods.
Tip: Don’t forget to sign a contract and a non-disclosure agreement if needed.
While you are still talking with your new freelance writer, you want to set a communication plan.
Again, this is a crucial step because you want to have some news about your project. Your writer might also need some clarification during the process.
You see, that’s why you want to set at least one 30 minute meeting every two weeks. It can be one per week if necessary but set a time to communicate. Some writers like to get feedback while working on projects. But they don't all work the same way.
You want to give your writer access to statistics after you start using their work. As a lead generation agency, you have access to powerful tools to help your writer. This way, they will get feedback from the marketplace.
A good writer will use these statistics to test new headlines and optimize some parts of their copy. You can also give them verbal feedback about their work during your weekly meeting. These statistics will help the writer and your agency to grow.
After hiring a freelance writer, you need to think about a way to introduce them to your team. If you are an agency, you are not working alone. Set a team meeting and make sure your new team member knows who the key persons are:
If you apply this onboarding process, you will accelerate your writer’s learning curve within your agency. You will also have more free time because everything will be clear for your team.
Tip: Assign your new freelance writer to a team member who has the time to answer the writer's questions and concerns.
There is one last thing you want to know before hiring a freelance writer. Your writer will be happy to get any guidance on what you don’t want. Here are some examples of what you should clarify with your writer:
If you don’t want a blog post under 1,000 words
You prefer to text message instead of talk on the phone
Your agency does not tolerate lateness
If you don’t want low authority backlinks on your website
Start your relationship on a solid foundation so you can partner for the long run. Good freelance writers are hard to find. You don’t want to end your relationship because of easy to fix details.
As you can see, there are many things to know before hiring a freelance writer.
Hiring a freelance writer isn’t an easy task, especially if you're not familiar with what good copy looks like. To add to this process, you could be wasting time on these steps:
Writing the contract
Writing the non-disclosure agreement
Looking for the right place to hire a writer
Writing a project plan to attract a writer to work for you
Reviewing the writer's experience and portfolio
Selecting a payment method
Scheduling the payment
While you're working on this process, you're not not generating leads. What if you could fast track your research with one call and save time?
Every copywriter on copywriter.com is certified and we track their work. They all have the same basic training to generate leads with their copy. We will also match you with a compatible writer for your niche.
If you want to test the fastest and easiest way of hiring a freelance writer, take action now. Book a call today so you can see how much time you can save using copywriters.com.
Alexandre Tremblay is a bilingual copywriter. His passion for stock market investing and business growth makes him a versatile pick. He is a fan of progression and long-term vision. Also, the French language is part of his versatility.Hire Alexandre