Hiring a writer or outsourcing any work is stressful. With so many freelancers to choose from it’s hard to work out who would be the best fit for you and your business.
Trust is also an issue for all concerned. No one wants to be left with shoddy work or lose money.
Knowing which questions to ask can not only help you to find your ideal writer, it can also help you avoid the pitfalls that give outsourcing a bad name.
Who are you looking for?
This may seem a silly question but in order to find your ideal freelancer you need to be clear on the services you need. Are you just looking for a few pieces of content or do you need someone to write regularly to build your audience? Do you want someone to upload content to your website and respond to comments? Do they need to be familiar with SEO?
Think about the type of person you would like to work with. What skills do they need? Would you prefer they had qualifications in copy writing or experience in your industry?
Who are they?
What have they written before? Search them out on Google and see what they share on social media. Most writers will have a portfolio. If they are a ghostwriter, you can request writing samples or testimonials from clients.
Find out how knowledgeable they are about your industry, are they asking questions to find out more? Are they interested in you and your company – or are they just spinning content for cash?
Ask for contact details and when they are available – not all freelancers work 9-5 but you should be able to narrow down a time when you can speak to or email them. Don’t panic if they can’t be contacted outside agreed times. Many people have other commitments, including other clients and family, it doesn’t mean that your work isn’t important.
How much research will they do?
If you aren’t looking for in depth articles this may not be an issue. If the writer is an expert on your topic they may not need to do much research. However you want to ensure their work is accurate before putting your company name to it. Most writers will be happy to provide references to other work which can back up their points. Providing references within your copy can also help you to be seen as a trusted source of information.
If you aren’t giving your writer sources they can use for research they may add extra time for this to their quote.
How much time do they have for your work? When can they start? When discussing deadlines you should take into account time for rewrites and changes.
You should ask for a timeline of when you can expect the first draft and when you need the final piece.
Will they find their own photos?
Many bloggers will do this as an extra service or part of a package. Finding good photos unrestricted by copyright can take time, so it’s worth weighing up the extra costs against the time you would spend doing it yourself.
If they charge by the word you may end up with fluff and filler. That’s not to say these are bad writers, but we all have bills to pay. Why write concisely if you get paid less for it?
Most professional writers either have an hourly rate or charge per post or project. For example £120 for a post of 1000 words or £30 per hour for 4 hours work.
Ask them about their payment terms and how they will invoice you. It may be 30 days from their invoice or on receipt of the final draft.
Of course every writer likes to think that they can get it perfect the first time. If they are very familiar with the topic, maybe they can. But there will always be changes or tweaks you’d like to make.
Some writers charge for rewrites, others will include a certain number of rewrites in their quote. Other writers, like myself, don’t charge for rewrites at all. I do however ask for clear direction and constructive feedback
Being able to talk to your writer and give them feedback is an essential part of your working relationship. Any person willing to improve their skills will be willing to accept constructive criticism.
By the same token, you should also be willing to take on board the advice of the professional writer you hire. Use their experience to benefit your business. After all, your success will benefit their business too.