Top-quality copy is a pre-requisite for any business and there are several ways it can be produced. You can write it yourself, task an employee or hire a professional freelance writer. All have their merits, but hiring a freelance writer can be a great move for your business.

It’s a fact that you can’t be good at everything in business. There’s always going to be an occasion you’ll need help with.

Businesses use freelance writers to produce engaging website landing page copy, blog posts, white papers, case studies and other copy. Freelance writers are also hired to ghostwrite articles, speeches, newsletters, technical writing and e-mail campaigns.

Take a look on Google and you’ll see there are thousands of freelance writers out there. With just as many different specialties and price structures, deciding on the perfect writer for your business, blog or other undertaking can be difficult.

The following basic guidelines will help you find the best freelance writer for your needs.

Flexibility

The reason most writers freelance is being able to set their working hours. This can be beneficial to you, the business owner, as well as the freelancer.

Your freelancer might be editing your website, adding blog posts and dealing with social media posting/responses long after your business is done for the day and you’ve gone home for the night. You could e-mail a list of tasks to your freelancer on a Friday and find them completed and earning money for you on Monday.

Immediacy is closely related to flexibility. Freelance writers are also business owners who they know they’re more likely to make a profit when they meet your deadlines and exceed your expectations.

Are You Experienced?

Every job they work on, and each client they’re hired by, add more knowledge and more skills to their resume. As a business owner, you then reap the reward of this experience as the writer brings a combination of industry and writing experience that can boost the quality of your copy.

• A good freelancer writer doesn’t have to know your industry inside and out to be the right choice
• A good writer should be able to apply research, interviewing skills and brainpower to learn any topic quickly
• A good writer will have experience from working with a lot of different businesses

Read Their Published Work

The only way to have any idea what to expect from a freelance writer is to read their work. If your possible choice doesn’t have a website portfolio, ask for samples, preferably samples relevant to your industry. This way you can determine if the writer will be competent when it comes to working for you and your business.

Don’t eliminate a writer who doesn’t have the necessary experience in your industry immediately, as they’ll still possess research and writing skills that’ll do your business justice.

Referrals

You may be confident about hiring a freelance writer, but where is the best place to start?

Consider contacting some of the writer’s referees. A writer may have glowing testimonials posted online, but speaking with someone the writer worked with is very useful.

Ask someone you trust – a dependable colleague or friend who’s hired a freelance writer before for a referral. Make sure they refer someone who not only wrote well, but is someone they also enjoyed working with. Good work ethics and communication are paramount when hiring a freelancer.

The Price Is Right

Budget can be a deciding factor when choosing a freelance writer as no two freelance writing projects are ever the same. But by sharing the basic details of your project, such as type of project, length of project (number of words/pages), the timeframe required and the nature of copy needed (general versus technical), with a possible freelance writer choice you should have an estimate fairly quickly.

A good writer’s prices can run from the affordable to hundreds of dollars per blog post. In most cases, the higher the pricing, the higher the level of experience on offer – but not always.

You may find someone who is affordable and has the right amount of experience for your business. This is where the points about referrals and experience come in.

Get Connected

Most professional freelance writers have a list of connections. They may be able to recommend a web designer, graphic designer or social media specialist if needed. Freelancers know their way around when it comes to social media. If they agree to share your blog on their own social media outlets, that’s more publicity and promotion for your business.

Communication, Communication, Communication

It’s possible that you’ll have a long-distance relationship with your freelance writer. The preferred method of communication between writer and client is normally e-mail, with an occasional phone call. Do whatever works for both of you, but make sure you establish your methods of communication in advance of starting the job.

Questions To Ask

• What Search Engine Optimization (SEO) do you do?
• Do you provide images?
• What is your revision/rejection policy?
• What do you need from me?

Security and Confidentiality

• How will your chosen writer deal with your confidential information?
• How, and where, will it be stored?
• How will it be protected?
• Does your chosen writer work remotely via a WiFi connection in a work-sharing space or the local McDonalds, Dunkin Donuts or Starbucks?
• If yes, how will the writer ensure your confidential information and work product don’t get lost or stolen?
• Are thumb/flash drives, mobile devices or Cloud storage used to store your work?
• What is the writer’s attitude toward privacy and personal security?
• How does your writer treat your working relationship – as something confidential or as something that can be shared on Facebook, LinkedIn or the writer’s blog?

If client confidentiality is an important consideration to you, take a look at the writer’s social media profile before hiring. Then agree in advance about confidentiality requirements.

Technology Practices

• Will the writer regularly back up work to off-system and off-site media and how frequently?
• Will the writer send your copy or confidential documents via free e-mail or FTP services?
• Does the writer have a secure e-mail server and secure e-mail account?
• Does the writer have a clear telephone line for use in conducting phone interviews or engaging in conference calls?
• Does the writer run a second digital voice recorder when carrying out important interviews with a product expert or customer?

Business Practices

• If the writer works from a home office, will there be distracting background noise during calls?
• Does the writer speak clearly and is easy to understand during calls?
• Does the writer listen?
• Does the writer type notes while conducting an interview instead of focusing on the interview and content collection?
• Does the writer understand business e-mail etiquette?
• Does the writer understand that e-mails may be instantly forwarded to others?

Start Small

Why not start your working relationship with a small project – some blog posts or a couple of articles. This allows both of you to see how well you work together with minimal cost and risk.

If you need to start on a big project immediately, make sure you have a contract drafted that lays out the scope of work required and the expectations of both parties. A simple e-mail describing the terms of your agreement will be fine. This makes sure that everyone is clear on how things will proceed. If the project does not turn out as well as you both hoped, you are free to part ways upon completion.

A good professional freelance writer will work hard and go out of their way to write great copy for you. They will be invested in you and your business – your success is also, by association, their success – because they need to eat and pay their bills.

By doing your homework, investing time setting expectations and treating your writer with respect, they will take good care of your copy/content needs.

Photo – http://www.imgtrendy.com

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