7 Questions to Ask Before Hiring a Freelance Writer

Here are seven questions to ask to help you pick out the best freelance writer.

1. What type of content do you need?

Before you decide on the type of writer you need, identify what you want the writer to do. You may encounter a freelance writer who creates a great article, but when faced with writing a compelling press release, he or she fails to pull it off. Ask your preferred candidates about the type of content they create — articles, white papers, blog posts, resumes and cover letters, business proposals, etc.

A good freelance writer for hire is capable of writing more than one content type, but find out the categories they emphasize most, as some have more transferable writing expertise than others. Ask for samples around your niche and those related to your industry. For example, journalists are more likely to make excellent bloggers than writers in the marketing industry. You need to ensure the writer’s skills meet your needs.

2. What are your rates?

Rates are based on word count and project deliverable. A freelance writer for hire might work on an hourly, per word count, per-day or per-week basis. Many freelancers work on a per-word basis and require one-third to one-half of the total pay upfront.

Before you make a hiring decision, I recommend you do some research on pay rates for different skill sets. This will help you easily remove the lowest and highest bidders. Writers’ rates vary widely as I have listed here:

• New freelance writers charge less than $50/hr.

• Established freelance writers charge from $50 to $100/hr.

• Writers with years of experience or high client demand are likely to charge more than $100/hr.

Be wary of freelance writers for hire who are too cheap. You may end up paying a lot more than you expected in the long run when you will have to hire a different writer; instead, find someone qualified, with reasonable prices.

I recommend you place quality over quantity. Your content marketing goals will be better served by hiring a freelance writer who gives you quality content.

3. What does the cost include?

Will the writer expect to be compensated for long-distance phone or Skype calls for research? Are you expected to find photos for the blog posts or will the writer complete the search? Will he/she come up with SEO keywords for your content? How long do you expect the piece to be? Does the fee include revisions? If it does, how many revisions will they provide?

These are some of the questions you need to ask when hiring a freelance writer, just to be sure you know what you are paying for.

4. What is your turnaround time?

Let’s face it, writers need to be mindful of time management and meeting deadlines. Depending on your content, you may want certain articles written before specific dates. Set a realistic turnaround time for the completion of the project. Confirm the deadline with your freelancer in writing to avoid any misunderstanding.

If the writer cannot fit you in, he or she is probably too busy to handle your assignment. Perhaps, you may want to wait for a highly qualified writer with a high client demand, and it will be worth waiting if you have a flexible deadline.

5. Who will be the named author?

Are you hiring a ghostwriter or a freelance writer who wants recognition for their work? Most writers love a byline, but others are happy to have the blog under your name. Make sure you discuss this with the writer to decide on who will be cited as the author of the content.

6. Who owns the content?

Authorship is different to ownership. When you hire a freelance writer to write content, you only pay for use of the piece, not its ownership. If you want to retain the rights to the content, make sure you ask about ownership in the agreement. Ownership will give you the rights to modify the content for other different uses.

7. How will you communicate?

Communication is very important when a writer is handling your project. These days, more and more freelance writers are communicating via instant messaging and email. Others also work by phone and fax. Make sure that you both are flexible enough to communicate in time.

Before hiring a writer for your business, make sure you know what you are getting. Setting expectations will help both parties have a happy and long-term relationship.

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