On The Hunt for a Writer? 5 Elements to Look For in Freelance Writers

Currently scouring the internet for the best freelance writer available? Even if that’s not on the agenda right now, a good writer is something many companies might need down the line—and it’s good to know what to look for when the search begins.
As of 2013, 33% of B2B marketing budgets are allocated to content marketing. Maybe a company needs blog posts written on a weekly basis and they just don’t have the time to handle it on their own, or maybe there’s a specific project where a dedicated writer’s expertise is needed. Here are a few key areas to focus on when hunting for a temporary or long term addition to the team:

  1. The Ability to Write on a Deadline– If a company needs something fast, it helps to hire a freelance writer who is good with deadlines. This information usually isn’t something you can uncover in a resume or interview, so try running a quick writing test if necessary. Ask a potential candidate to write on a new topic decided on in advance. If they keep asking for extensions—well, maybe the writer won’t be a great addition to the team.
  2. Interest in Proposed Topics– Many freelance writers have to fight for a gig, so they’ll want to make a good impression—even if they’re not over-the-moon about what the company needs them to write about. This is why it’s important to ask for relevant writing samples. Check to see if they’ve written about topics that are relevant to the company or if they’re interested in tackling something different than they’re used to.
  3. What They’ve Published Previously- What have they written before? Do they have any samples available online? Have they worked freelance for another company? All these questions are important in finding the right fit. Obviously all freelance writers need to start somewhere, so maybe they haven’t had anything published yet. If that’s the case, see if they run a blog of their own or they have other applicable writing skills. That should give some insight to their writing style and how seriously they’ll take the job.
  4. How They Communicate– There are times when projects will pop up and the freelance writer needs to be contacted for a task immediately. It always helps to give them ample time to finish a project, but this isn’t always the case in a fast-paced business. If a potential candidate takes days to answer an email or can’t be contacted in any other way, there might be a problem. Make it clear what their responsibilities will be and when they should be available online to avoid any confusion. Create a content calendar to make sure everything gets done on schedule and alert them if a task pops up unexpectedly.
  5. Their Payment Specifications– This might come as a surprise, but freelance writers want to be paid! And it’s up to the company to determine when they’ll be paid and how. Make sure those terms are laid out before they’re hired. Will they be paid by the article? Do they get paid by the word? Do they want something hourly? If a writer’s payment specifications don’t work for the company, don’t hire them! Pick the person who wholeheartedly agrees with the terms of employment.

Happy hunting! Are there any important tips we missed? We’d love to hear what you have to say. Share with us!

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