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How To Hire a Freelance Writer

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I respond to many emails from employers, publishers and agencies looking to hire freelance writers (I generally direct them to the forums, by the way). I also recently hired a set of freelance writers to cover a large project from a publisher. Hiring the right freelance writers the first time will save everyone a headache. Here's how to do it.
Difficulty: Average
Time Required: 3 days to 1 week

Here's How:

  1. Start with people you know. If you don't know writers, specifically, consider asking your contacts such as communications experts, marketers, or professional groups.
  2. Allow them to convince you. A short letter outlining past experience and projects might enable you to judge how well a writer could synthesize information in short form, whereas a short phone call may help you understand a writer's methods and motivations. Of course, a resume listing past projects is always a popular choice in hiring.
  3. Follow up. If you don't already know your applicants through professional associations or social circles, then it is up to you to follow up. Pick up that magazine article, or contact the client they offer for a reference.
  4. Consider a probationary period. For example, you may set an initial milestone for a larger project, and see if your chosen candidate meets it. This means you will not necessarily be stuck with a bad fit for the entirety of a long project.
  5. Be clear. After you've chosen your writer, the best way to see yourself to the other side of the project is by being clear and direct.

Tips:

  1. Consider advertising on job boards that are directly aimed at writers. Many writers specifically use these, as opposed to Monster.com and etc, to find their gigs.
  2. Be realistic in your pay. Few writers will work for less than $20usd per hour, and most bill above that.

What You Need

  • Description of the job
  • Internet access
  • Idea of your perfect candidate

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