Hiring freelance writers requires you to spend a considerable amount of time, resources, and emotional labor. And if you can’t seem to find a reliable writer, you’ll end up stuck and frustrated.
Wouldn’t it be great if the effort and resources you spend looking for a freelance writer paid off within a few weeks (or even months) after hiring them?
Better still, how about having a repeatable process that you’ll always fall back to whenever you need a content writer?
You won’t spend days and weeks in fear of ending up with a writer who isn’t a great fit for you. Or one who will ghost you when you have a ton of content awaiting delivery and submission.
In this post, I’ll walk you through a three-step process that will help you find a freelance writer for hire — one who understands your niche, and will deliver high quality content consistently.
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Table of Contents
Step#1: Where to Find Freelance Writers for Hire
When looking for a professional freelance writer, cast your net wide enough to make sure you have the best candidates to choose from and work with. There are different candidate sourcing techniques you can use to find the right fit.
Focus on these four places:
- Your personal network
- Sites whose content you enjoy reading
- Social media
Let’s dive deeper into each of these places and talk about how to use them to find freelance writers for hire:
1. Your personal network
This, by far, is one of the best places you can find writers and reduce the amount of time it will take for you to interview and hire them. If you’ve worked with a couple of good writers before, reach out to them and explore the possibility of working together again.
You already know them and you’ve seen their work, so you may be able to skip the interview and focus on whether they’re available and what their current rates are.
If your personal network doesn’t have the kind of writer you’re looking for, reach out to your friends or colleagues via email or social media. Ask them to recommend any good writers they know of (especially if they have worked with them) then start reaching out to these writers.
For instance, a Facebook group such asSaaS Growth Hacks, is a good place to find referrals for SaaS writers:
In addition to getting good hiring advice, you’ll get a ton of recommendations from others who have worked with talented freelance writers before. Plus, writers in these groups might reach out to you too.
If you’re not active on Facebook but you’ve built great connections on LinkedIn, add a note on your LinkedIn headline showing that you’re hiring.
Your network will see this as they read the content you post and share it. You’re giving your network (and other writers) an opportunity to reach out to you with questions about the positions you’re looking to fill and provide you with relevant recommendations:
Look out for potential writers who come up often in your recommendations. Reach out to them and get to know them better as you evaluate their ability to deliver the type and quality of content you’re looking for.
If you end up with a huge list of recommended writers, don’t discard it. Keep it handy so that whenever you need a professional writer in future, you’ll have a list to work with.
3. Sites whose content you enjoy reading
Some sitesaccept guest posts but aren’t open about it to avoid getting unsolicited submissions. However, if you’re keen enough, you’ll notice that a good number of their posts have different authors, giving you an opportunity to reach out to them. Here’s an example from Jeff Bullas’ blog:
If you identify a site that takes this approach, you might be able to reach out to contributing writers to see if they’re interested in taking on more work.
Take a look at the articles you’ve bookmarked before and see whether these sites have multiple authors. If they do, read the author bios to learn more about them.
Chances are, those writers might have a website and instructions on how to reach out to them. This makes your work easier because you’ll be able to view their writing samples on their blog and evaluate their skills long before you reach out to them.
4. Job boards
ProBlogger — This is one of the most popular job boards out there, and as of this writing it costs $70 to put up a freelance writing job ad running for 30 days.
The only downside is that you’re likely to get a ton of applicants for the jobs you put up on the site, so you’ll need to filter through them (more on that in the next section).
If you don’t have an account yet, head over to the employer dashboard and create an account, then create an ad that lists the details of your freelancer position.
We Work Remotely — Posting freelancer ads on this job board is slightly expensive — $299 for 30 days. There’s a wide range of job postings looking for programmers, product managers, and accountants, and designers.
The application process is similar to ProBlogger and if you want your job ad to stand out, you pay more for that.
Here’s an example of a boosted job ad:
Step #2: Shortlist Your Freelance Writing Applicants
You want to find the writer you need as fast as possible and hire them. But you don’t want to wade through a ton of applications to find the writers you’re looking for.
So, create a detailed job description covering the scope of the work you want done and what you expect from freelance writers. This will discourage some writers, but the amount of detail you include will help you attract the writers you need.
Here’s how to do that:
1. Be open about your business and your hiring process
Assuming the writer hasn’t heard of you before, your job ad needs to include information about your business, who you work with and the kind of results you deliver for clients.
Also, depending on your hiring process, you may have several rounds of interviews (both virtual and location based ) or a written test to evaluate a writer’s skills. How much time will it take to hire a writer? Be open about your process so that writers set the correct internal expectations from the beginning.
2. Mention the skills you’re looking for
Do you need an expert writer e.g. a freelance copywriter to create copy for your landing pages, email sequences and sales pages? Or do you need a blog writer to help you implement your content strategy?
What soft skills are you looking for in a writer? You want to avoid working with a writer who takes feedback personally because it will lead to unnecessary friction.
3. Filter applications through a simple test
When looking for writers on a freelance marketplace, you want to avoid wading through a ton of applications to find the writer you’re looking for. Filter applications by providing a simple test for you to review their application.
It could be asking them to use a specific email subject line and then setting up a filter in your email account. This way, you’ll only review applications that came in using the subject line you provided.
Another way to filter applications is through using forms. They allow you to get the information you’re looking for from a potential writer quickly and efficiently. Here’s an example of a content writing application form on Google Forms:
Using this will help you save time when reviewing applications from writers, making it easier for you to shortlist them from the responses you get, or you could also use a Google Forms alternative to create an application form
Step #3: Evaluate and Hire the Writers You Shortlist
This is a critical step as it allows you to evaluate their skills and whether you would enjoy working together.
When evaluating their skills, you want to get a clear picture of their level of knowledge and hands-on experience in your niche. Are they beginners, intermediate, or experts? Can they produce great content?
The more skills and hands-on experience they have, the better. Experienced writers will provide high quality and in depth articles that won’t require as much editing.
Look at the samples they provided and evaluate them using your content quality standards checklist. Do these samples match what you and your readers are looking for? If they don’t, let the applicants know and thank them for their interest in working with you.
This doesn’t mean that you should ignore a talented writer who doesn’t have a ton of experience. If you receive a good writing sample from a potential writer but they need to improve their skills and knowledge, evaluate their attitude. This is how you’ll know if it is worth giving them a chance to learn and grow as you work together.
Give your shortlisted applicants a paid test and compare what you receive with the samples they provided. If there is a huge disparity between the two, let them know you won’t be moving forward with their application, and thank them for their interest in working with you.
For the remaining shortlisted applicants, offer suggestions for improvement and highlight mistakes in their work, giving them a chance to review and improve it.
Here, you want to see whether they will get defensive or simply admit to making errors in their work and show willingness to learn how to fix them.
When getting to know if you would enjoy working together, you want to evaluate their attitude and character. Do they take feedback personally? Are they open to learning and growth? Can they admit when they make a mistake without a fuss?
If a writer does not meet the standards you’re looking for, be kind enough to let them know and why. This kind of closure is reaffirming because it makes them feel valued and leaves them with feedback for improvement.
By now you have a good idea of the freelance blog writers you want to work with so it’s time to let them know of the next steps in your hiring process.
Hop on a call with them to get on the same page concerning the expectations each of you has as you work together. For example, you want to let them in on your content marketing goals that are aligned with your content strategy, discuss rates, and payment dates.
Once you’ve done this, get things up and running smoothly by onboarding new hires to get up to speed with your content creation process. Remember to use tools such as Trello, Asana, and Google Docs to streamline your workflows.
Treat your writers well. Respond to any questions they have and be kind whenever you’re providing feedback. And of course, pay them well and make sure that you do it on time.
As a content marketer, finding and hiring a freelance content writer can seem daunting. But it shouldn’t be that way anymore. You now have a three-step process that will help you find reliable writers.
As you follow the process as we’ve discussed, it will get easier over time. You’ll know where to find good writers from the four places we discussed, have an easier time shortlisting and hiring a qualified freelance writer.
The result? You’ll save more time and money when hiring writers and have your efforts paying off within weeks (or months).