How to Hire a Freelance Writer for Your Company

Hiring a freelance writer to work with your company on website or blog content is one of the best moves you can make. While you focus on other elements of your business, your freelance teammate can produce a steady stream of content for readers. It’s like you’ve doubled your productivity without even going through the formal hiring process. So, if you’ve been asking yourself how to hire a freelance writer, this blog is for you.

1. Ask for recommendations

Freelancing is only becoming more popular. In 2019, research found that 57 million Americans freelance in some capacity. This makes up over one-third of the workforce at 35 percent. With limited budgets, companies choose to hire a freelance writer instead of bringing employees on full-time. If you’re looking for a writer, ask other business owners in your same or similar industry whom they’ve partnered with on a previous project. Chances are they have a freelance writer who has helped them with their website content, blog, or another project.

In addition to asking for their name and contact information, I recommend asking why they’re recommending that individual. This could give insight into whether the freelance writer will be the right person for you to collaborate with as well, and it can also help you craft that first message or email to enlist their help.

2. Use a freelance marketplace

If you don’t have anyone in your industry to get recommendations from, don’t sweat it. A freelancer marketplace is full of competent people — if you know how to use it — and you can use these sites to hire a freelance writer. Marketplaces like Fiverr, Upwork, Contra, etc. connect freelance professionals with businesses at all levels. Depending on the site you select, you’ll be able to look at portfolios and message a freelance writer or post a job and let writers bid for your project. Each approach has its own advantages.

I’ve always worked on Fiverr, which prioritizes faster deadlines compared to other marketplaces. On Fiverr, I have buyers directly approach me and place an order from my services. I’ve never once bid for a job as is common on Upwork. However, some buyers prefer this bartering style over Fiverr’s more traditional approach.

I recommend the following when looking for a service provider on Fiverr:

  • Read reviews to see what other buyers have said
  • Message the freelancer to understand what you need to provide to have a successful order as well as what package you should purchase
  • Request a work sample before purchasing

3.    Compile a list of 3 to 5 names

While you’re shopping around to hire a freelance writer, don’t just narrow down one person. I recommend compiling a list of anywhere of 3 to 5 names to work with. Here are the core reasons:

  • Your top choice may not be available

I receive dozens and dozens of messages each week on Fiverr, and unfortunately, not all the jobs are right for me. I tend to take on only those that I’m well-suited for because they’ll guarantee high-quality results (and satisfied customers). With that, I sometimes find that some potential clients write their (well-intentioned) messages as if I am the only one they’re writing to. They’ve picked MY profile out of thousands and are just convinced that I’m the right one for the job.

While this is absolutely better than the copy/pasted alternative that I also commonly receive, it does highlight the fact that sometimes the service providers we love on the page just aren’t available for one reason or another. I’d love to be able to help everyone…but I simply don’t have the capacity at this time. But don’t worry, if you’ve compiled 3 to 5 names, you have some others to look to if your top choice isn’t taking on orders at the moment.

  • You may find that some have a better understanding of your topic than others

I’ve written thousands of blogs on dozens of topics. However, there are some topics that I either don’t excel at (i.e., technology) or don’t enjoy writing about (i.e., CBD). I turn customers down every week (if not every day) because they need blogs on these topics. I’d rather point customers to my “competition” than risk providing less than a high-quality product. Having 3 to 5 people in mind will, hopefully, help you find someone who can write on your niche.

  • You may do a test article and not love the result

You’ll read more in the next section about how you should conduct test articles with freelancers. However, if you choose to go this route, and I recommend you do, a test article will allow you to see if the partnership has longevity. You may decide that a particular writer doesn’t suit your brand’s style. No hard feelings — just go to the next on your list. Having a list of 3 to 5 names ready provides a backup. You won’t feel unprepared or pushed back to square one when you hit such an obstacle.

4.    Get sample work done

Before you hire a freelance writer for a long-term project, ask them to do a single paid test article. Keyword: paid. Too many clients will ask freelance writers to perform unpaid work to “earn” their jobs long-term. While I’m a legitimate seller on Fiverr having earned top seller status, I have never done free work. I’ve discounted my work; I’ve provided packaged deals, but I’ve never given a client a free test run.

Why? Because in my opinion, it completely undermines the business relationship before it even begins. I am a service provider, and I deserve to be paid for quality work. Because of this, I won’t ever rush buyers into a decision or ask them to sign a contract to work long-term before all parties are comfortable.

The best way to discover whether a long-term partnership is mutually beneficial is to do a test run. In some scenarios, you may find that a writer produces quality work, but their style just doesn’t quite work with your brand or website. That’s okay. There will be a freelance writer who is able to match your tone and branding.

I once had a client who purchased 5 test articles from 5 different freelancers. However, I wasn’t aware of this until after the fact. Once I had submitted the article, the client messaged me to let me know that my sample had been the best compared to all my peers, and they couldn’t wait to continue working together. 

5.    Google every freelance writer you’re considering

Google is free — use it to your advantage when you want to hire a freelance writer. If a freelance writer is a top earner in their field, they should have both a website and personal blog that they’re cultivating. You may also find out about additional interests or passion projects that a writer has if you found them on a freelance marketplace. Bonus: if you were originally planning to work with a freelancer on a marketplace, you may decide to order from their website instead. This arrangement often offers better deals and more flexibility.

For example, if a company seeking a freelance writer were to Google my name, they’d find my website, personal blog, and interests (including international travel). These topics are often brought up in the first messages clients send to me, and it helps both parties deduce whether the partnership will be a good fit long-term. I’ve also had some clients purchase my book after seeing it featured on my Fiverr profile.

Final Thoughts

That’s the long and short of how to hire a freelance writer that aligns with your company’s goals. While it may seem like a daunting task now, remember that most freelancers are working with new clients each day and want to find long-term clients to partner with. Reach out to a handful — either through recommendation or on a freelancing platform — and start the process today.

You can contact me about freelance writing inquiries here.