Content writing is the new darling in the world of marketing. In this super-connected world, businesses use content marketing to increase their site’s traffic and result in greater conversions, sales, and profits. Well written web content can help companies to reach their marketing goals. However, not all your in-house employees have the expertise and skills required to deliver such awesome content, which is why freelance writers can be an essential asset when you need to feed the ever-hungry marketing funnel.
Here is what you need to know when working with a freelance writer, all beautifully organized under six very handy questions you should know the answer to.
#1. Freelance Writing, What Is It?
Freelance content writers produce a great variety of content for numerous professional businesses. They are self-employed and typically work with several different clients. Great content writers can produce anything literally and can switch their writing style, method, and approach depending on what they are writing.
They can switch from weekly lively social media content to thorough industry reports, to specific SEO pieces, and so on. Your freelance writers may work with you for one short-term project, such as creating your Location Specific content or website core content. Alternatively, they may come on board for a longer on-going project, such as a weekly blog or social media update, or monthly newsletter. They may be technical writers who will create your white papers, or they may be copywriters or SEO writers.
The beauty in working with a freelance writer is that you can hire one who is the perfect match for one project and work with a new one for a completely different project. Costs are kept to a minimum, which means that even small businesses can enjoy the magic of a freelance writer and reap the benefits of their stunning content.
#2. Why Not Just Hire A Marketer Or An In-House Writer?
A marketer has the knowledge required to market your business, but it does not necessarily mean that he can write. A writer has the writing skills, but that does not mean she can promote your brand.
A content writer, however, is the best option of all possible worlds. He embodies the perfect blend of marketing knowledge AND writing skills all wrapped up into one. Your freelance content writer can intuitively grasp your brand’s vision and use blog posts, landing pages, web content, and social media to promote this vision to your targeted buyers. Above all, she can optimize any content to increase SEO rankings for your pages.
Sure, everyone can punch a couple of words on a keyword. But it takes the creative spark and ingenuity of a content writer to transform these words into a masterpiece. Presenting information in an engaging way to ensure that your reader stays on your page for more than the 8 seconds of your average share is a daunting task that few can pull through. And if there is one person that can do it, it is your content writer. Not your marketeer, not your ordinary writer. It is your freelance content writer.
#3. What Type Of Content Writer Are You Looking For?
To successfully answer this question, you must know exactly what your specific needs are. Sure, you may love the nonchalant, humorous storytelling style of a blog writer, but if you are looking for someone to provide detailed information on the technical aspects and how-tos of your brand, then you are best to hire a technical writer. If, on the other hand, you are looking into connecting with your buyers and establishing trust through storytelling, then a writer with a creative writing background is your safest bet.
You may also need to hire someone who is a native English speaker. Granted, most writers are fluent in English and are well versed in grammar and spelling. But this does not equate to being a native speaker: only a native speaker can use phrases, jargon, and cultural jokes that will resonate with your audience.
Similarly, you may be looking into someone with a writing degree or someone with several years of experience. Beginning writers always pose a greater risk, and their ability to produce exactly what you are looking for is a bit touch and go. However, fledgling writers can save you some serious money since their lack of experience makes it necessary for them to work for less money in order to remain competitive. If they can’t compete in terms of experience with other writers, then they might as well compete in fiscal terms.
Always request a portfolio when searching for writers. This allows you to understand if they are a perfect match for you and your brand and if they can deliver what you are looking for. You can also get a feel of where this writer’s expertise lies and whether he has written for big-name publishers or other competitors. If they are ghostwriters, this might be a bit trickier to assess but they can always provide you with their google documents link and the link to the site their work was posted on.
Be careful who you hire. A content writer can make or break your brand. There are a bunch of writers out there. Some of them are good, some of them are bad, and somewhere in the middle, you can find an exceptional writer who is a real gem.
#4. Where Do You Find This Gem Of A Writer?
There are several options out there if you are looking into hiring a freelance writer. Platforms like LinkedIn offer a world of opportunities for finding and hiring your writer. You can post an ad and have writers send you their bios, or you can contact writers yourself. Job Boards are easy to navigate and will definitely yield a greater pool of writers to choose from rather than google searching blindly on the web.
Alternatively, you could search around various freelance marketplaces and land on a writer that is a real gem. The beauty of freelance marketplaces is that you can browse through sites (Blogging Pro, Freelancer, Upwork, etc.) that work as a mini-portfolio and have a first look to see if you like the writer’s style.
If you are looking for something more specifically tailored towards your needs, you can look for writing agencies and make the entire writing process flow seamlessly. Writing agencies have several in-house writers, and your chances of finding the perfect match increase exponentially. The agency owner knows his writers’ style and will assign your project to the one that will best capture your vision and promote your brand the way you want it done.
Between Job Board Platforms, Freelance Marketplaces, and Writing Agencies, you are certain to find what you are looking for. However, there is one underlying universal truth. Whatever you do, whichever way you choose to follow to find your ideal writer, you must absolutely ensure that you sign a contract before any work transactions can begin.
#5. How Should You Write Your Contract?
Always, always, always sign a contract. I can’t stress this enough. It will offer legal protection for you and your writer alike. Your contract should absolutely include these parameters:
1. Terms of Service
You need to explicitly state the terms of service in your contract and outline exactly what it is that you want your writer to do. Whatever you expect of your writer should be included in the contract. SEO? Blog posts? Ghostwriting? White paper? Landing pages? Whatever it is, just state in the contract.
2. Price And Payment Terms
Your contract should explicitly state how much your writer is expected to get paid and how often and in what way (refer to #6).
3. Due Dates
Due dates must be clearly stated on the contract for each individual project. For instance, blogs must be delivered at the end of each week, newsletters at the end of each month, social updates every other day, and so on. As an added safety net, you may also include potential penalties for late delivery.
4. Termination Clause
Even the most ideal, perfect, mellow relationships can fall out and turn sour over a dispute or disagreement. So your contract should include a termination clause. If it ever gets to that point, you are best to have it covered legally and in written format.
5. Rights To Content
This is a bit tricky, but your contract should absolutely include this. You are paying for the content you receive, so your writer should not claim any rights to the content, nor should she resort to self-plagiarism when writing for other brands. Make sure you are explicit about rights to content before any content can be created and published online.
# 6. What About Payment?
Your contract should explicitly state payment terms. Will your freelancer be paid on a per-project basis? Will they be given a set fee for the entire month if they provide several content pieces? Will they be paid per word? Or will their payment depend on the type of work they provide? (SEO Vs. Landing pages Vs. Blog posts Vs. Social media updates). Some writers will have fixed pricing and will not be willing to negotiate. Beginning writers will be more inclined to lower their prices to get the experience needed and build their portfolio. It all depends on what exactly you are looking for and who your ideal writer is.
How should payment be made? Most freelance writers operate on a remote basis. This means that your business may be located in one part of the world and your writer in another. The good thing is that technology and the internet have no physical barriers. So payment should not be a problem, as it can be transacted online.
However, there are some fine lines and shady areas that need to be discussed ahead of time. For instance, most writers get paid via Paypal. While a very reliable and trustworthy method of wiring money, there are fees incurred. So, to avoid any misunderstandings, it is best to agree beforehand who will pay for the fees and how often payment should be made.
When it comes to business transactions, the topic of spending money or making money can turn your business liaison from fruitful to sour, real quick. You want to start with your writer on the right foot, so it is best to make sure that you and your writer see eye to eye from the get-go.
Content Writing and All that Jazz
When hiring a freelance writer, you need to understand that you are actually hiring the person that will take your brand and put it in front of your potential buyer. So, it is not enough to hire someone who writes well in flawless English. On the contrary. You need to hire someone who excels in the art of writing, engaging and riveting content that will excite your audience to turn them into buyers. You need to find and hire that gem writer who will catapult your brand and skyrocket your sales. Because, in today’s marketing and cut-throat competition, content writing really is all that Jazz.