How to Hire a Freelance Writer

I’ve got bad news for you: the odds are good that you don’t know how to write effective copy. Even if your 9th grade English teacher praised your writing once in a while (and let’s face it – most of us didn’t do very well in high school English) writing consistent, quality copy is hard to do. It takes a certain amount of skill along with a certain amount of artistic flair. That’s why many people decide to turn to freelance writers.

This Is Not about the Fiverr Deals

Look, if your goal is to hire a writer who will do an article for five bucks or less, you can stop reading right now. Yes, they exist. Some may even be mildly competent in their writing skills (I’ve seen very mixed results myself). However, just because they know how to string English words together does not mean that they know how to keep people interested in what they have to say.

The fact is that most of these so called writers will take an existing article, spin it enough so that it passes Copyscape and then call it a day. It’s not that they’re dishonest; it’s that five bucks (or sometimes as little as $1 or even less) is just not enough to hire a good writer who can take the time to do proper research. Think about it – if it takes them an hour to write your article, they’re earning less than minimum wage. This means they need to pound out at least two per hour in order to make something just barely over the poverty line. Good writers who know their stuff simply don’t work for so little because they don’t have to be bothered. Mind you, it’s vaguely possible that you’ll find someone cheap who is good, but it’s unlikely.

So How Much Should You Expect to Spend?

The real question to ask is, how much should you expect to earn? Professional Internet marketers will happily pay more than $200 for an article (and more than $1,000 for a landing page) because they know that they can use that material to make back ten times that amount of money. It’s all a matter of how you promote it and whether or not you hire a writer who is actually good at what he or she does.

For those just starting out though, expect to spend anywhere from $20-$50 for a basic article which is reasonably engaging. Don’t expect New York Times quality for that price but do expect something that at least holds a reader’s interest and doesn’t sound like an encyclopedia entry.

Ask for Samples

Now just because you are willing to spend more money doesn’t mean that you’ll get someone good. So, you need to ask for samples. Now before you go out and give potential writers an assignment to write for you which you promise will “turn into lots of work if this free sample looks good,” I’m not talking about free samples. If a writer offers to write a free sample for you, he or she is not a professional and is probably not worth talking to. As a matter of fact, most professional writers will either not respond or will refuse to work with you if you ask for a free sample.

Instead, either ask for a sample which you’ll pay for or ask to see a portfolio of work the writer has done for someone else.

Consider the Style

Good writers have distinctive styles. You may not realize it unless you read a great deal but it’s usually possible to tell that a piece was written by a specific writer. See if the material that they send you matches a style you like. Everyone is different so what speaks to one person may seem awful to someone else.

Build a Relationship

Finally, once you find a writer you like, build a relationship. Offer him or her regular work and occasionally consider sending them a bonus when you are particularly impressed with their work. Good writers are in high demand and if you don’t treat your writer well, they may abandon you for other clients who pay better, are less demanding or who offer them steady work.

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