How to hire the best freelance writer

Need to hire a freelance writer or copywriter? Discover where and how you can find the best freelance writer for your business.

Whatever type of business you own, there may come a time when you need to hire a freelance writer or copywriter. Perhaps you need your website overhauled, a blog or essay written or some powerful sales emails.

But how do you find the best freelance writer for the job? Finding the right writer isn’t always as easy as it can first seem. Do they have the right expertise for your niche? Are they specialists in the type of writing you need? And are they even any good?

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To help you find and hire the best freelance writer for YOU, here are some tips.

Look in the best places for freelance writers

So where do you even find freelance writers? There are plenty of sites touting cheap writers, such as Fiverr, but will they deliver the quality you are looking for? It’s probably unlikely.

The best places to look for professional freelance writers are directory listing sites like FreelanceUK where you can browse through profiles of freelance writers and check out their personal websites. Other sites where you can find freelance writers include People Per Hour, Freelancers.netUpwork and Smart Writing Service.

The great thing about freelance writing is that you don’t need to meet your freelance writer. Which means you can hire a writer from anywhere in the world – as long as you’re confident they understand your business and target audience, and can write in a style that will appeal to them.

Check their writing experience

Many freelance writers will specialise in, or have greater experience in, particular sectors or types of writing. So one of the first things you should look at when making a decision is their expertise.

Have they ever written your type of copy before? For example, if you need a blog, essay or white paper written, and this requires an element of research, you may decide that you want a specialist on your niche. And certainly you need a writer who is used to these types of projects.

Equally, if you need a website written, you want to make sure you hire a freelance writer who is experienced in online copy and SEO.

All that said, an experienced freelance copywriter will often be able to write about any industry to a degree of depth. Their specialism is in understanding how to present your business in the best light to your target audience and to encourage them to do what you’d like them to do. And this expertise can be applied to any type of business.

Read freelance writers’ reviews

An important thing to check out when you’re choosing a freelance writer or copywriter to hire is their reviews or testimonials. Who have they written for, and what did they think of the work? And just as importantly (if relevant), what results did they get from it?

An experienced writer will have reviews or testimonials on their site, or be able to provide you with some. So make sure you read them – they’re a good sign that this may be the perfect writer for you (or not)!

Ask for samples of their work

Another good way to check the ability and experience of a writer is to ask them for samples of their work. They may direct you to websites or live blogs they have written, or email you samples of previous pieces of work.

Either way, it’s important to read actual work they have written. Do you like their style? Are they able to write the kind of material you need? Can they demonstrate a range of tones and styles?

If you need a specific piece of copy, for example a sales email, ask to see something similar a freelance writer has done. If they can’t provide you with an example, or convince you that this is something they are experienced in, how confident can you be that they will produce the results you need?

Talk to them

In order to produce quality work, a freelance writer needs to understand exactly what you want them to do. So before you commit to hiring one, make sure that you can communicate well with them. And this involves talking.

If you really want to, you can ask to speak to them over the phone or Skype, but emailing them works just as well too. You simply need to feel confident that they grasp your business and your brief, and know what they need to do.

Communicating by email is also a good way to assess their writing skills. If they can’t win you over by email, and produce well written emails with no grammatical or spelling mistakes, how do you know they’ll produce high quality work for you once they’re hired?

Get a quote

Before you get too excited about hiring your perfect freelance writer, ask them for a quote. A really great freelance writer probably won’t come cheap, so you need to make sure you can afford their services before getting too far down the line.

Most clients ask for freelance writers’ hourly or daily rate, but this isn’t the best benchmark of quality or value for money – it doesn’t tell you how fast a writer is, or the standard or work they can turn out in a particular length of time.

Instead, ask them for a ‘project price’ – how much it will cost to write a particular piece of work. Ask them to include two rounds of amends in the quote (this is usually enough to complete a project) too.

This is a much more accurate way of measuring writers against each other for cost. But bear in mind, especially if you want a piece of copy written for branding or sales, that hiring a freelance writer is an investment. Brilliant writing will deliver more brilliant results, and sometimes going cheap is a false economy in the long run.

Give them a small job to start with

Sometimes businesses ask freelance writers to perform an unpaid copy test before hiring them. But this often weeds out the best writers – after all, if you are a successful, busy freelance writer, why would you work for free? So insisting on an unpaid copy test simply lands you in a pool of inexperienced or not-that-great freelance writers.

It’s also not a terribly ethical approach. How would you feel if a customer insisted on sampling your products or services for free before *maybe* hiring you or buying from you?

Instead, if you aren’t 100% confident you have found the right freelance writer, or even confident that you know how to pick one, ask your chosen writer to work on a small job first, or a small part of your larger project. That way you can see how your relationship works, and check you like their style/they ‘get’ you before leaping in with both feet.

If you love what they do – great, you can proceed with the rest of your work. If not, you can pay them the agreed fee for their time to date and part ways.

Hire the best freelance writer or copywriter for YOU

If you take just one piece of advice away from this article, make sure it’s that you need to hire a freelance writer or copywriter with care. You need to find a writer whose work you like, who has happy clients, who works within your budget, and who you feel comfortable communicating with.

Get all these things right, and it’s much more likely that you’ll end up with copy you love – and that delivers the results you need.