Recognize that your business could benefit from a freelance writer–but have no idea how to go about finding one? Here are five simple things to consider when you’re ready to hire a freelance writer.
Have a budget. Whether you’re posting on Craigslist, Elance or some other industry site, have a firm number in mind. Not only will it help you to understand the level of talent your budget will buy, it tells freelancers that you know what you’re doing, and you’ve done your research.
Be clear on your needs. I’ve been a copywriter, a marketer, a PR person and now am a freelance writer. They’re not all the same job. If you need a writer, be prepared to tell that person who your audience is, and what makes them “tick,” so the writer gives you the product you seek. If you don’t know who your audience is, you don’t need a writer–you need a marketing consultant first. If you have a story but you just want to get it published in a high profile venue, you also don’t need a writer; you need a PR person. Though they are closely related skill sets, they’re not the same, and they each command different rates, and “rules of engagement.”
Don’t go for the cheapest person. One of my favorite sayings ever is “if you can’t afford a professional, you definitely can’t afford to work with an amateur.” While there are always those fresh talents out there, finding them isn’t easy, and if you’re budget really is limited, you don’t have the time or money to waste on finding that person. Suck it up, pay competitively, and the benefits you receive from working with a writer who makes your experience turn key will prove invaluable.
Reach out directly. You can post on job sites, but you’ll probably be flooded with responses, and left feeling overwhelmed. Look at the bylines of blogs and industry news that you read, and google the author’s name. Odds are, they’ve got a website. Reach out directly and find the talent you’re confident in, because you have already been wowed by their work.