August 27, 2020

How to Hire The Best Freelance Writers for Your Content Needs

If you want your blog to be a lever for business growth, you'll need to create high-quality content on a regular basis.

Most business owners and founders start by writing their company blog posts themselves.

After all, who knows your business better than you?

If that's the case, it's time to stop.

I'm a firm believer that people in charge of departments (founders, CEOs, CMOs, Head of Marketing...) shouldn't be the people writing your company blog posts. There are exceptions, of course. You might want to write a piece that showcases a unique insight you've picked up growing your business. You might be so early stage that you can't afford writers.

But if your business is already growing, it's time to start outsourcing your content writing.

You'll save days of work every month, and still get high-quality content that you can publish as and when you need to.

Why Finding Great Writers is Key to Getting Results with Content Marketing

There are a ton of great writers out there, don't get me wrong. But finding writers who understand your industry is harder.

If you go for a cheap writer without domain expertise, your readers will be able to spot it a mile away. The writing won't resonate with them, and your blog posts won't get results.

Good writers will charge more (check out our guide on Content Marketing Pricing here). But it'll be worth it in the long run thanks to the compounding nature of content.

Where to Find Experienced Writers

Head to Freelance Marketplaces like Upwork

Pros: Quality applicants that you can approach or be approached by. See reviews from their other clients.

Cons: Hit or miss. Can take time to find the right person.

Upwork can be hit or miss. There are thousands of writers on the platform, making it a good places to get in touch with people.

You post a job, and people apply.

To filter out applicants who don't fit what you're looking for, you can add extra fields for applicants to add details such as past content they've worked on, their rates, and how long they usually take to write a blog post.

use sites like Upwork to hire writers

You can also see a freelancer's "Job Success Score", which is an Upwork metric that shows a score calculated based on factors like well how highly past clients rate them.

Upwork sometimes gets a bad reputation as a place to find workers on a shoestring budget, but there are definitely experienced writers on there, if you look for them.

Keep in mind that the best writers may be already booked up, and might not be applying to new jobs, so run a search and invite freelancers who look like they're a fit to your job for the best results.

Post in #Hiring Channels in Slack Groups

Pros: Often free to post. Easy to start a conversation, and you may get referrals.

Cons: May not get many applications

Communities on Slack are another place to find hidden gems.

There are a variety of marketing-related Slack groups like Online Geniuses, Demand Curve, Content Marketing Career Growth. All of these have members who are freelance writers.

marketing slack channels

If you post a job there, you'll usually get at least one person replying to you, or, someone referring a writer they've worked with before and had great results.

Get Recommendations in Industry Facebook Groups

Pros: It's hard to beat a trustworthy referral

Cons: Don't have direct access to writers

Similar to Slack groups, you can find a variety of Facebook Groups that are a handy place to find freelance writers.

Contrary to popular belief, I'd recommend against joining groups specifically for hiring writers. They'll have tens of thousands of members, and you'll get 50 comments and DMs for every ad you post.

Instead, join groups with people who run similar businesses to yours.

If you run a SaaS business, join groups like SaaS Growth Hacks. If you're in ecommerce, join a group with people in your niche.

Then, ask other businesses who they're using to write their blog content.

You'll get personal recommendations from business owners and marketers that you know you can trust.

People are happy to help others out and point you in the right direction.

Find Good Job Boards

Pros: Get your job seen by a large audience of writers looking for work

Cons: Pay to advertise without guarantee of results

There are a variety of job boards that you can use.

These are a more traditional method but they're still worth trying.

Some job boards are focused specifically on writing jobs, like the ProBlogger job board.

job boards to hire freelance writers

There are a ton of niche job boards out there, so do some research and find the best places to post your job.

The applicant quality will vary, but you might find well qualified writers who are actively looking to take on new work and will be hungry to impress.

Go Headhunting using Blog Bylines

Pros: Find and contact the best writers with proven experience

Cons: Time-consuming process, no guarantee they have availability to work for you

If you're willing to take your time to hire but care about quality over everything, this strategy is for you.

Go to your favourite websites and popular sites in your industry.

Head to their blog and look for the author bylines.

Most sites will show them. Here's what Privy's looks like:

find writers on popular blogs

You can then look up the author on LinkedIn, and see if they're a freelance writer.

Even if they're already employed full-time, many will be open to writing a one-off article for you, as long as it's a topic they're knowledgeable in, and you're willing to pay them what they're worth.

Advertise on Your Careers Page

Pros: Free. Full control over the fields someone has to complete to apply

Cons: Only get people actively job-searching

Another way to find writers actively looking for work is to post a job on your own careers page.

You don't have to make the position full-time.

Many writers want to be freelance or on shorter contracts with set terms and deliverables.

You'll attract writers who are actively looking for work, so make sure to add instructions on how to apply.

To qualify applicants, make sure to ask for a portfolio and examples of past work.

Many writers will send Google Doc links or attach Microsoft Word files - these are fine, but personally, I've found that the best writers are willing to share links to live, published articles that they've written.

I'd also recommend making your job ad relatively broad. Give an indication of topic, but don't make it overly specific. For example:

  • Job ad one: Hiring writers to write list posts on marketing automation tactics
  • Job ad two: Hiring writers with a background in B2B marketing

Job ad one is okay. You'll get applicants that fit your specific criteria.

Job ad two is better (in my opinion). You'll receive applications from writers with different areas of expertise, but all in your industry. You can then assign articles to different writers based on their areas of expertise.

Having a roster of writers gives you extra flexibility. You can write about a variety of topics and be confident that you'll have a writer in your network who can write a great post for you.

Work with an agency or done-for-you content service

Pros: Access to a pool of experienced writers, content proof read and edited for you

Cons: Can't hand-pick your writers

Alternatively, you can work with a marketing agency, or done-for-you content service like Contentbulb.

hire writers via an agency

You'll be able to get access to experienced freelance writers (who might be otherwise booked up) and have the process facilitated by a third-party.

Some people prefer to have more granular control over the hiring process, but if you find a good agency, you'll get great results without having to manage the process as much as you would if you hired multiple, individual freelancers.

Content agencies will also be able to ask for more affordable rates from freelancers in exchange for a high-volume of regular work, and you might get that discount passed on.

What to Pay Freelance Writers

Now, the burning question - how much will it cost to outsource your writing?

Common payment structures for freelance blog writers are:

  • Pay per word
  • Fixed price per project
  • Hourly

Most writers will tell you how much they charge upfront, so you'll never be surprised when you receive an invoice.

As a rule of thumb, for high-quality blog posts around 2000 words in length, expect to pay $200 - $1,000.

Wrapping Up

Hiring writers is a time-consuming process that you need to get right.

There are a variety of places you can hire freelance writers, and the best will depend on your needs and time-scale.

If you need high-quality, SEO-friendly content on a regular basis, I'd love to see if Contentbulb is a fit. Schedule a time to chat here.

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