You’re feeling panicked.
Your blog hasn’t been updated in months. Your website has outdated information on it. It’s been so long since you’ve had the time to send out an e-newsletter that your subscribers may think you’re dead.
These feelings are common among nonprofit professionals, small business owners and marketing professionals around the world. If they resonate with you, then you’re probably in a position to hire someone to help. One inexpensive option to consider: a freelance writer.
How do I find a freelance writer?
Finding a quality freelance writer can be challenging, but it’s not impossible. And there are a few steps you can take to make the process less stressful:
- Ask fellow professionals for recommendations. – At least 90 percent of CorComm Creative’s business is thanks to client referrals. If someone has a good experience with a writer, they’re probably going to spread the word. Ask around, and you may be surprised to find you have many connections who have worked with freelance writers in their own roles, either one-on-one or through an agency. Although referral sites like Upwork, Freelancer and BlogMutt are available, we can’t speak for the quality of their work, and, ultimately, you’ll be happier choosing a writer who has worked with someone you know.
- Share your budget. – Being clear about your budget from the start can save angry conversations later. Before you hire someone, ask what he or she charges an hour and how long your type of project has traditionally taken in the past.
- Explain your deadline. – It’s important for the freelancer to know your deadline from the start, so they can assure you they have the capacity to meet your needs.
- Ask for references. – Anytime you hire someone, it’s a good idea to ask for references. They may have a list of testimonial quotes from happy customers they can share with you, or, better yet, phone numbers of clients who would be willing to share their experiences. Going through this process will help eliminate any red flags.
- Ask if the writer has experience writing for your industry. – A good freelancer should be willing and able to do the thorough research necessary to write for any industry, but if you can snag a writer who has experience in your particular industry, it’s an added bonus.
What makes a good freelance writer?
Once you’ve found a few options of freelancers you’re considering, check to see if they…
- …are grammatically proficient. The writer should be able to put sentences together, edit them properly and spell words correctly. Better yet, writers who have gone through a journalism track during college should be trained in AP Style, the official writing and editing reference used in newsrooms and corporate offices worldwide.
- …are thorough researchers. A writer’s research often goes beyond perusing the company website. He or she may ask you for additional print materials (brochures, fliers), news releases, reports or the chance to interview some key contacts. Your writer may also need to dig in further, seeking and referencing reputable online sources.
- …are able to meet deadlines. This is an important question to ask the people who referred you to the freelancer. Did this writer deliver your project when you needed it?
- …have work samples to share. If someone is promoting himself as a freelance writer, but they aren’t able to provide you with samples, that is a red flag.
- …can take constructive criticism. Most freelancers understand the job isn’t done when a first draft is sent for review. Part of the process includes accepting feedback from the client and incorporating it into the piece.
How do I get the results I want?
Hooray! You found your freelance writer! But your work isn’t done.
Tips for working successfully with your freelance writer:
- Be clear with your needs and goals. Help your writer understand what you’d like to see in the final product, who the target audience is and how you intend to use it. If you have an outline in mind of how you’d like the piece to flow, share that with your writer, too. There’s no such as providing too much detail, as it helps your freelancer to be able to provide work that satisfies your needs.
- Provide helpful research up front. If there are research studies, statistics or reports that you want the writer to cite in the final piece, be sure to provide that information up front. This will save you money in the long run because you’ll prevent unproductive (and billable!) back-and-forth later.
- Provide examples of work you like. Send your writer any examples of other pieces that you liked or that inspired this project’s idea.
- Explain any rules and restrictions that apply. Your writer needs to know if there are certain language rules or branding restrictions (style guidelines) for your company. Also, consider if you need to assign a word-count limitation – for example, “Stay within 350 words.”
- Stay accessible. Hubspot, a content marketing company, describes hiring a freelance writer as a “collaborative process.” Throughout your project timeline, you need to be available to answer questions, provide additional resources or help your writer reach people to interview.
- Provide thorough feedback. In addition to staying accessible, it’s important to provide thorough, timely feedback once you see a first draft.
As content marketing gains popularity, nonprofit and marketing professionals around the world will continue to find a need for freelance writers. With these tips in mind, you’ll be on your way to a successful partnership.
Need a writer? Contact us at CorComm Creative!
Our writers are trained in AP Style and have experience writing for various industries, including health care, accounting, lease management, small businesses and nonprofits working for social justice, community action and more. In addition to writing, we also provide design, photography, social media and project-management services, so we can meet all of your content-marketing needs from start to finish.