How to find the best freelance writers
Look before you Leap
More than 15 million Americans are working as freelancers, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.That’s a large talent pool to tap into, but how do you find the actual talent? First and foremost, you need to know what you and your company need from your freelance writer.
Some helpful questions to ask yourself:
- What kind of article will your freelancer be writing?
You want your writer’s tone to match the tone of your company. A writer who’s great at Buzzfeed listicles may not nail the polished tone of Entrepreneur.
- Where will the article be published?
Know your audience. Not all readers have the patience to scroll through large chunks of text, while others might be annoyed by lots of gifs and graphics.
- What kind of writer do you want?
Do you need an expert in a particular area, or are you open to a novice writer with a style that speaks to you? Is it important that your writer stirs up conversation in their comments sections and has an avid online following? Or is popularity secondary to their way with words?
Think about these questions before diving into the talent pool, so you don’t waste valuable time and energy by casting too wide a net. Knowing what you need in a freelance writer will streamline your search and put you on the path to the best candidate for the job.
Once you know what you want out of your freelance writer, be they talented rookie or seasoned professional, you can deploy your hiring strategy. The internet makes it easy to connect with freelancers remotely - a simple Google search for “freelance writer” will get you thousands of results. But you don’t have time to wade through thousands of links - which will get you the best results? It depends on what you’re looking for.
Is there an article from an industry-related website or blog that you find yourself reading over and over again, or sending to colleagues and employees? Reach out to the writer directly to see if they’d be interested in freelance work. Most writers include their contact information in the bios, making reaching out to them just a click away.
If no articles come to mind, you can scan industry-related websites. The Forbes 8 Must-Read Publications for Entrepreneurs lists some excellent online publications that can jump-start your search for freelance writing talent. If you like their work already, that’s one less step in deciding whether they’re the best writer to hire.
Professional Networking Websites
There’s a reason LinkedIn calls itself the world’s largest professional network, simply because it is. An all-encompassing search technology and its reach across the globe, almost every freelance writer is guaranteed to have a profile on LinkedIn. The access to talent is incredible, although it takes a skilled recruiter to get quick results from the search engine. Though many potential recruits on LinkedIn are passive, if you’re looking for a freelancer they will most likely be ready to listen to your offer. Even if they can’t take on additional work at the moment, they’re likely to need it at some point.
Contently’s writers home page features big-name logos including The Wall Street Journal, Vanity Fair, and Popular Science under the slogan “The world’s largest premium writing network.” Contently allows users to look at the portfolios of respected writers across a multitude of content, spanning from reporting to white pages to social media and blog content. However, this platform won’t allow you to connect directly with freelance writers - instead Contently functions as a sort of virtual agent. You can use the platform to view writers’ portfolios, and will negotiate rates for your requested project. Their pay rates reflect their high-end talent, something to consider if you’re on a tight budget.
With nearly 2,000 freelancers, Ebyline promises to make up in quality what they lack in quantity, with “the right, vetted freelancer that suits your job and budget.” Though it may not offer the variety of other marketplaces, the website offers ease of use with “four simple steps to getting quality content” by directly connecting publishers with freelance writing talent. You post an assignment to the platform, and if a writer is interested, they can pitch to you. You select the writer you want based on the success of their pitch. The site features an easy-to-use interface that assists with interface between publisher and writer. You can test drive Ebyline’s services for one week for free.
Reddit For Hire allows freelancers to post that they’re looking for work, and managers to post job openings. The website allows publishers to narrow their searches by location - useful if you prefer to meet you freelancers face to face - and by profession - so you don’t have to wade through pages of designers and dog walkers to find the writers. But the search engine is basic compared to LinkedIn, and your access to information about the writers is more limited.
One thing to remember moving forward is that you often get what you pay for. Though going with the lowest bid may save you dollars on your budget line, finding the right freelance writer for your company can be worth the extra fee.
Once you’ve hired your freelance writers, you need an efficient way to manage and pay them. That’s where Bonsai comes in. This Freelance Management System make finding and connecting with freelance writers efficient and easy. Bonsai makes managing and paying your freelancers efficient and easy.