You might have heard the saying ‘If you want to go fast, go alone, but if you want to go far, go together’. This is especially true when it comes to your content marketing efforts. When you have a fantastic remote content team of freelance content writers, you can supercharge content production and maintain content quality at the same time. But if you have never worked with freelance writers before, you may be asking yourself: How do I hire freelance writers? Where would I find them? How can I evaluate their writing skills? What’s the process for bringing them on board?
Well, we’ve got the answer to all your questions. In this guide, we’ll help you navigate the ins and outs of hiring freelance writers to build your remote content team.
Here’s everything that will be covered in this guide –
- Choose your hiring channel
- Put chosen freelance writers to the test
- Interview the shortlisted candidates
- Ensure rate alignment with freelance writers
- Extend an official offer to the selected freelance writers
- Design a seamless onboarding experience for your freelance writers
Assembling the A-team: How to hire freelance writers?
The number of freelancers in the United States has seen a significant jump – from 53 million in 2014 to 60 million in 2022. (Statista)
Freelancing is on the rise, not only in the US but globally. And that means that there is no dearth of freelance writers who can make a great addition to your content team. But with such a vast talent network of writers, it can be hard to pick the right one. And that’s what we’re here to help you with.
Before you can even begin the process of searching for full-time professional freelance writers, you would have to do a little preparation of your own. Sort out your needs so that you can communicate your vision to the freelance writers you hire more clearly.
To make the process of hiring freelance writers more streamlined and manageable, we’ve broken it down into three stages –
- Stage 1 – Preparation
- Stage 2 – Writer Discovery
- Stage 3 – Hiring and onboarding
The first stage will focus on setting the foundation for successful freelance writer hiring. The second stage is when you’ll get to identify and select the most suitable freelance writers for your project. And the third stage deals with integrating the chosen freelance writers into your team and project workflow.
Let’s take a closer look at all these stages and the individual steps involved in each.
TL;DR here’s a quick video summarizing this article.
Stage 1: Prepare to hire freelance writers
One of the biggest reasons why many businesses find themselves unhappy with the quality of outsourced work is that it doesn’t capture the company’s vision accurately. And that’s probably because they failed to communicate that to the freelance writer. When you hire a content writer on a freelance basis, it can be a great way to bring in some fresh perspective. But there is also a knowledge gap that you will have to fill.
Take a step back and sort out your needs so that you can better communicate your expectations to the freelance content writer you hire. This stage is all about preparation.
1. Define the scope of content projects
When you outsource content creation to freelance writers, you would have to provide them with details about the content projects you’re hiring them for. Defining the scope of your content projects is the first step of the preparation stage.
Are you looking to hire blog writers to publish a series of blog posts? Or do you want to hire writers to draft whitepapers, eBooks, or build an email marketing campaign? First, decide what are your content creation needs and objectives. That way, you’ll have a few ideas up your sleeve to talk about during the interview process. It will make it easier to explain what kind of content you’re looking for and how you want it to be used.
Defining your content projects will also help you better understand how you should approach the search for freelance content writers. You might want to hire article writers working in a particular niche or hire different freelance writers for different content projects.
2. Create a brief overview of your content strategy
Most freelance content writers will ask for some information about your content strategy. The experienced ones will, at least. Providing them with this information is crucial if you want content that is actually aligned with your needs.
Gather all the relevant information about your content strategy and create a guide of sorts. We recommend you include the following –
- Content style and brand guidelines
- Detailed audience personas or information about your target audience
- eBooks, whitepapers, guides, or any other resources and product documentation that might help them understand the product features/services
- Any content that you would want to promote through CTAs or linking
- Your overall content SEO strategy including keywords, link building, or anything else
- Information about your direct competitors
- Your overall content marketing objectives
If you’ve already decided on the content projects and topics, you might want to provide your writers with a content brief too at this stage. Narrato AI Content Workspace comes with an AI-powered SEO tool that can help you here – SEO content brief generator. With this tool, you can create a topic-specific and SEO-focused content brief for your projects in a matter of seconds. It gives you a keyword list, target paragraph/heading/word count, questions to answer, competitor references, and more.
You can also add a ‘note to author’ and style guides for each content task, complete with project-specific guidelines like brand voice, tone, readability standards, formatting standards, words to use/avoid, and more.
Stage 2: Finding the best freelance writers for your needs
Although there are ways to streamline the process of selecting freelance writers, it’s still quite tricky to navigate. Especially if you’re looking to hire different freelance writers for different types of content projects.
Here is a step-by-step process, along with some great tips, to help you select the best freelance writer to build your remote content team –
1. Choose your hiring channel
There are many different channels you can use to source freelance writers for your content projects. We recommend that you approach this process by testing each hiring channel/method, and seeing what brings you the best results.
1. Job boards
Job boards, also known as job portals, are sites where you can post job listings to hire freelance content writers for your business. Think about LinkedIn Jobs, ProBlogger, Craigslist, etc.
In this method, you would start by posting a job listing, specifying the details of the freelance writing job, the skills you require, the compensation you’ll offer, etc. Writers interested in the job submit an application, and then you can start the vetting, selection, and hiring procedure.
The good thing about job boards is that it gives you access to a wide range of freelance writers. This increases the chances of finding writers with specific skills and expertise.
There are drawbacks to this approach too. You’ll probably get hundreds and thousands of job applications for every job listing. And that will make the process of selection all the more difficult and drawn out. You might even be tempted to cut corners and hire freelance writers without thorough vetting.
- Wide range of freelance writers to choose from
- Job boards can drive down pricing
- Quality of writers can vary
- Limited interaction before hiring decision
- Large volume of applications makes the hiring process tedious
2. Freelance writer platforms
Freelance writer platforms are websites that connect freelance writers with those who need their writing services. It’s a great place to hire freelance writers for one-off jobs or even on a recurring basis. The platforms often facilitate communication and payment transactions, and sometimes even provide dispute resolution and other services.
Different freelance writer platforms operate in slightly different ways. Some of them, like UpWork, PeoplePerHour, and Freelancer.com, allow you to post a content project and invite bids on it from freelance writers. These are known as bidding platforms. While hiring from these platforms is easy, there’s no way to ensure that the freelance writer you find is going to be reliable.
Non-bidding platforms operate a little differently. When you post your content needs, the platform matches you with the most suitable freelance writer based on your needs. And the freelance writers you’ll find on these platforms usually undergo a quality-vetting procedure before they are added to the ‘freelancer pool’. This means that you’ll always get high-quality content from highly rated freelance writers.
Narrato’s Content Marketplace is a good example of a non-bidding freelance writer platform. It offers thousands of quality-vetted freelance writers to choose from, besides a range of other services –
- Easy content ordering (order up to 1000 content pieces in one go) at affordable rates (starting at $1.9 per 100 words)
- Intelligent writer matching to get the right freelance writer for your needs
- Option to float your content projects to a selected set of writers
- Quick turnaround time (24-48 hours)
- Unlimited and quick revisions
- Quality control
There is also a Managed Service option, in which you’ll get a dedicated account manager who will ensure the timely delivery of high-quality content.
So, whether you’re looking to hire freelance copywriters, technical writers, SEO writers, or bloggers, a content marketplace like Narrato can connect you with good freelance writers in your niche.
- Diverse and global talent pool of freelance writers
- Streamlined hiring process where quality-vetting of writers is already done for you
- Quality assurance with quality control measures, feedback mechanisms, and rating systems
- Fair pricing and payment protection
- No long-term commitments
- Direct contact with writers limited
- Freelance writers may not be able to work solely for you until project completion
You can also find some good freelance writers through word-of-mouth recommendations or referrals. This approach is particularly useful when seeking freelance writers with specialized knowledge or industry-specific expertise. Industry connections and colleagues can recommend successful freelance writers who have relevant experience in your specific niche, thus ensuring a better fit for your content project. This approach also saves you the time and effort that usually goes into searching, screening, and vetting potential candidates.
You can also turn to social media platforms (LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook) to ask for freelance content writer referrals. You might have to go through tons of messages and comments to narrow down your list, but it’s still a great way to build your remote content team of freelance writers.
- Get insight into freelance writer’s skills, reliability, and professionalism
- Since referrals come from trusted sources, there is a higher likelihood of successful collaboration
- Save time and effort in the hiring process
- Relying solely on referrals can limit your pool of available freelance writers
- Referrals may come with inherent biases
- Availability of referred freelance writers may not always align with your project’s urgency
4. Content bylines
If you’re looking to hire freelance writers for your blog writing projects, we’ve got a one-of-a-kind writer discovery strategy that could come in handy.
Search for engaging blog posts or articles in your niche. If you come across one you find particularly engaging, scroll down to the byline and find out who wrote it. The great thing about this strategy is that you’ll be able to find freelance writers who will be able to deliver the type of content you want.
- Target writers who are already producing content in your niche
- Get proof of writing skills
- Writers might not be actively seeking new projects
- Many freelance writers have full-time writing commitments
- Writer may or may not be the perfect fit for your content project’s needs
Quora and Reddit are platforms where people from different walks of life come together to share knowledge and discuss niche topics. And this makes it a great place to find specialist freelance writers for your project needs. Using Quora and Reddit to find writers gives you the opportunity to check out their writing abilities and style before making a hiring decision.
- Helps you gain a better understanding of the writer’s ability to articulate ideas
- You can find some knowledgeable experts or people passionate about a subject
- Challenging to find writers who are actively seeking freelance opportunities
- Quality and reliability of writers can differ vary, thorough evaluation and scrutiny may be required
2. Put chosen freelance writers to the test
Once you have chosen some potential freelance writers for your projects, it’s time to put them to the test. You can request a writing sample or assign a small writing task for the purpose. This will help you evaluate a freelance writer’s skills and determine their suitability for your projects. And you can then make an informed hiring decision that aligns with your content requirements and quality standards.
While writing samples are definitely a good indication of the content quality you can expect, there’s a huge possibility that the content might’ve been edited by someone else. A writing test might help you better understand if the writer will be a good fit for a project.
Note: If you choose to hire freelance writers through Narrato’s content marketplace, you can skip this step as the freelance writers on the platform are already quality-vetted.
3. Interview the shortlisted candidates
After the writing exercise, you’ll have a list of shortlisted candidates that you can then interview. At this point, you will have their resume, writing samples, and some maybe references. You can also do a little digging yourself and examine their online presence. See what clients they have previously worked with. If they claim to be subject matter experts, have a look around to see if the proof is in the pudding (their published content). And then, it’s just a matter of setting up an interview call with the shortlisted candidates to find out more about them.
When interviewing freelance writers, remember this one thing: It’s just as important for you to get the writer interested in your project, as it is for them to showcase their skills. The preparation and planning you did in the first stage will come in useful here. Be open and honest about your budget, expectations overall content goals. The more information you can provide to the freelancer at the start, the easier the hiring process becomes.
Stage 3: Hiring and onboarding freelance writers
This crucial stage ensures that you not only find the right talent but also set them up for success within your organization. Here are the essential steps in this stage –
1. Ensure rate alignment with freelance writers
Before you can hire freelance writers, you have to make sure that you both agree on the rates for the content project. By prioritizing rate alignment, you can build a strong foundation for collaboration and ensure that the value provided by freelance writers is appropriately recognized and compensated.
Start by setting a standard rate for each type of content project. For example, if you need the writer to work on case studies, the compensation would have to be more, since the work would require more in-depth research. On the other hand, if you only need some listicle-type blogs, it wouldn’t take the writer as long to complete. The rates for this could be lesser.
This is a step that you’ll have to go through with all types of hiring channels, except one – Narrato Marketplace. When you choose this content marketplace to hire freelance writers, you will have the option to select between 4 plans – Basic, Standard, Premium, and Elite. With the base plan, you’ll get access to newbie freelance writers, who will still be able to write quality content but may not have topic expertise. As you move up, you can avail the services of more experienced freelance writers. Since the rates are fixed, you wouldn’t have to go through the hassle of having this discussion with the freelancer writer.
2. Extend an official offer to the selected freelance writers
Once you’ve selected the freelance content writer(s) and decided on a rate, it’s time to officially hire them. You can email them the offer, along with information about the terms and conditions of the project, scope of work, payment details, etc.
Providing a clear and concise offer not only demonstrates professionalism but also establishes a strong foundation for a successful working relationship. Once the offer is accepted, you can move forward with the onboarding process.
3. Design a seamless onboarding experience for your freelance writers
To build a successful remote content team, provide your freelancers with all the tools they need to get started. A well-thought-out onboarding process ensures your freelance writers feel welcomed, informed, and equipped to deliver their best work.
Of course, your onboarding process will be largely dependent on your unique content requirements, but there are a few things that could be included in every onboarding flow –
- Outline of the step-by-step process, including milestones like content revisions and finalization
- The preferred communication channels (email, Slack, project management app,) for seamless collaboration
- Examples of reference content
- Brief overview of your desired tone and style
- Invoicing process with specifications about the payment terms
- Legal instructions (Contractor Agreement)
- Internal resources on products/services
If you give them all the information they need upfront, they can always refer to it if they have any questions. And as you can see, the preparation you did in the first step does come in useful here.
With each of these steps checked off, you can build a remote content team of talented freelance writers who know how to get the job done. From defining your content strategy to finding the perfect match and seamlessly bringing them on board, every stage plays a crucial role in building your dream team.
So, whether you’re an individual/startup looking to make your mark or an established brand seeking fresh perspectives, it’s time to embrace the freelance revolution and build your remote content team today.