Sometimes freelance work comes from the last place you would expect it. And sometimes those who need it most are the least likely to seek help. As a freelance writer, I often bang my head against the wall when someone doesn’t see the value of seeking outside help. Maybe they think they can muddle along on their own. Maybe they think someone on staff can do the job at a passable level. Or maybe they think they can’t afford to hire a freelancer. I’m here to tell you, we can help!
Having written for a few different types of publications, I thought I’d pass along some tips to help in your search. Think of it as an early Christmas present. You’re welcome. When you are considering hiring a freelance writer:
- Ask for samples. This person should be able to provide you with several different pieces so that you can get a feeling of their style. This will also tell you how good they are at editing, spelling, and grammar. Make sure you know where the pieces were published.
- Be clear about your audience. Does the writer need to have knowledge about a certain topic or field? Are you looking for someone with that experience, or can they learn as they go?
- Be clear about the tone of voice. Do your readers only want nuts and bolts, no nonsense factual articles? Or are you addressing a more casual crowd who appreciates a little wit and a snarky tone over straight facts? This is a very important thing for a writer to know.
- Don’t be afraid to talk money right away. If you’re only looking for one or two pieces, you may have to spend a little more. If you’re looking for someone to write for you on a regular basis, you may be able to work out a mutually agreeable pay scale. I know I am more willing to make small concessions on a piece here or there if I know that client is planning on using my services again. And, truth be told, the more you pay me, the shorter the turn-around time. Yep, that’s a fact.
- Be prepared to explain what you want. There are many types of services that freelance writers offer; and many writers specialize in certain ones. But you will pay more if you are looking for a big job (like white papers) and you will likely find smaller jobs (like blog posts) very economical. You just need to look and know what you want.
Currently my biggest client is a boxing website. I do enjoy the pugilistic arts, but I’ll readily admit that sometimes I need to do a fair amount of homework. There’s a lot of prep work that goes into the interviews and the articles. But it pays off, and hopefully for my client as much as me. Happy reading, and as always, happy writing.
(Originally posted on LinkedIn 4 Dec 2014)