When you are looking to hire a freelance writer, there are a few key skills that you should try to look for in your writer to ensure that you have a positive experience and will have quality results. To help you identify and find a great freelance writer for your business, I asked content marketing professionals and business leaders for their insights, and they identified six of the most important skills that anyone should look for when hiring a freelance writer.
1. Proven ability to produce results
Hiring a freelance writer is an important step in any business, and ideally you will want to select someone who has proven ability to produce results for the project you have in mind.
Magdalena Socha from PhotoAiD says, "Sure, you want a writer who can string together some sentences and make them sound good. But at the end of the day, what really matters is whether or not they can produce results. And the best way to gauge a writer's ability to produce results is to look at their track record."
This means taking the time to check out their past work and assessing how they go about researching and finding the right topic for their project - if everything checks out then you should have no worries!
There are many great writers, but few who are exceptional at every writing style - and it can be challenging for a writer to capture the brand voice and do it well.
Dennis Consorte is in charge of hiring freelance writers for Snackable Solutions, an online community for like-minded entrepreneurs to find solutions for common challenges faced by small business owners. One of the things he looks for during the hiring process is flexibility.
"I hire freelance writers who demonstrate an ability to adjust their content based on the feedback they receive. The goal is to produce content in the voice of the company or subject matter expert whose name appears on the work," says Consorte.
He also notes that getting the tone of voice right on the first try can be challenging for some writers - which is why they need to be able to adjust after receiving feedback.
"An inflexible writer may be resistant when major edits are requested, or have difficulty writing in the style requested. By contrast, a flexible writer will happily accept ongoing feedback, and their writing will continue to improve in the context of the project requirements," adds Consorte.
Freelance writing can be a great way to get your content out there and reach a wider audience. However, it's important to find a writer who is reliable, passionate about their work, and proactive in their approach, otherwise you may end up with a one-sided relationship where most creative ideas and inputs need to come from you.
Marc Roca from 4WD Life says "It’s crucial to ensure that the candidate you choose shows the inclination to take initiative and contribute sincerely to the project you’re collaborating on. This way, you’re more likely to work with someone who goes beyond just the bare minimum."
It’s crucial to ensure that the candidate you choose shows the inclination to take initiative and contribute sincerely to the project you’re collaborating on."
Marc Roca, 4WD Life
Because freelancers are often several steps away from deadlines due up the workflow chain, timeliness and communication are critical. You certainly don’t want to feel left in the dark about the status of your project, which is why you need a freelance writer who will keep an open line of communication with you, especially if they run into any hiccups that are going to cause delays.
And as Ivana Taylor from DIYMarketers points out, “While being good at what they do is certainly important, what good is a great deliverable if it doesn't show up on time?”
Quite possibly the most important thing on the list, is whether or not the writer you are working with maintains a high level of integrity in their work.
Jessica Tasios from Ora Dental notes that having a writer who does the research, and writes original content is a crucial skill that any freelance writer should have, but some people simply are out there to make a quick buck, and that can lead to poor or even plagiarized content - which definitely isn’t something any business owner wants.
“You want a writer who is a truth-teller and someone who will do the research as well as write original content. You want someone who will share facts even if it disputes an ongoing narrative. You want a writer who cares more about being honest in their work rather than how many articles they can pump out," says Tasios.
One of the most important factors to consider is if the writer has a positive attitude. No one wants to work with a writer who is negative or doesn’t seem to be invested in the work, it brings down the whole team vibe, and can also make for a pretty unproductive, or even toxic, working environment.
Courtney Folk is the co-founder of Renewal Logistics, an ecommerce fulfillment company, and she has found that when you hire a freelancer with a positive attitude who is willing to help your company succeed and grow, it can open new opportunities.
“Freelancers may come and go but if you nurture them and take their ideas into consideration, it allows them to feel included in your team,” says Folk.
Having a writer with a positive attitude is beneficial in so many ways, and it’s not just about writing well, it’s about having the willingness to put their best foot forward and being committed to helping the company grow.
When hiring a freelance writer, it's important to look for skills that match your business needs, but also you will want to be sure that you are working with a writer who is flexible, has good communication skills, and a proactive approach to the work.
But most of all, you want a writer who has a good moral compass, and also is genuinely interested in creating quality content that is going to help your business grow. And by keeping the tips in this article in mind next time you need to hire a freelance writer, you should be able to find someone who can contribute to your team and your business in a meaningful way.
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