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It’s no secret that using high quality written blog content can improve your overarching marketing efforts. In fact, 76 percent of B2B content marketers plan to create more content than last year.
While creating exceptional written content seems simple in theory, consistent execution is where some content marketers run into trouble. Add in the pressure to create high-performing content faster and suddenly your processes (and schedule) become chaotic.
Learn how to find and hire experienced freelance writers to alleviate your burden, improve your blog content, execute your content strategy at scale, and help you remain focused on your day-to-day tasks.
1. Identify and reach strong writers.
When you see an excellent piece of writing, you know it. The words seem to speak directly to you, address your current pain points, or urge you to take action. You likely come across great blog content every few weeks as you browse the web.
If you’re looking for an outstanding freelance writer, start keeping track of the writing style, tone, publication and the author of content that you read and enjoy — particularly if the content is relevant to your industry or blog. A Google Doc or Evernote should suffice for ongoing notes.
In most blog content, there is an author byline with links to more of their writing, an informative bio, and social channels. Copy and paste this information into your notes. After compiling a list of six to10 viable freelance writers, your next task is to narrow the list by researching more about the author. Read their social channels, related content or portfolio, and any publications that they contribute content to.
Remember that these writers will help establish the voice of your brand — so be sure to perform thorough research to determine if they would be a good match to create your blog content. Pay special attention to any conflict of interests or links to competitors in their writing as this could be an issue further down the line.
After identifying a group of candidates, draft an outreach email, LinkedIn message, or prepare for a discovery phone call to increase your chances of hiring the best writer.
The key to your outreach is to concentrate on being transparent with your intentions while getting to the point quickly. For example:
Really enjoyed your article titled, “How Much Should Your Content Marketing Really Cost” in Entrepreneur. I am interested in hiring a writer for 2-3 articles a month. Would you be interested in a discovery phone call or sending me a quote for your services?
With this outreach strategy, you can find writers that already meet your writing standards and understand your industry. This can save you resources when it comes to vetting incoming applications, reading writing samples, training a new writer, and editorial time once you’ve received content.
2. Explore freelance writer job boards.
Another method for finding qualified freelance writers is by using job boards and specialty writing marketplaces. To increase the odds of finding a professional freelance writer, start your search at a “copywriter-centric” job board such as Copyblogger’s certified content marketers list, Freelancewritinggigs.com, WriterAccess, or a writing marketplace like ClearVoice, etc.
It’s important to note that these options widely differ from other more generic job boards such as Craigslist, Monster or Upwork and are stronger resources to handle your writing needs because they are specifically targeted to quality freelance writers.
Related: 6 Must-Dos When Hiring a Freelancer
Beyond freelance job boards, writer marketplaces are designed to provide a more managed experience and are more likely to reliably create your blog content at scale because they have access to thousands of excellent writers. In other words, they are experienced in finding you the best team of freelance writers to match your needs which help reduce your headaches and growing pains.
When selecting a job board, don’t forget to consider the strengths and weaknesses of your current content marketing efforts like strategy, distribution, management, and measurement. These considerations can help you find a writer that better compliments your content team.
For example, if your current team has strong strategic direction and well-managed processes in place, then you should search for a writer that also has expertise in content distribution to better round out your team.
Killing two or three birds with one stone makes everyone happier.
3. Leverage subject matter experts.
One challenge you’ll likely come across is finding a freelance writer that understands your industry and marketing nuances, at least at a level that you and your team is accustomed. This is particularly a challenge in more technical spaces such as healthcare, government, or legal.
Finding a freelance writer that is also a subject matter expert in your industry can end up being a more extensive search than finding your typical writer and simply may not be a viable option as you scale. Some writing marketplaces can efficiently connect you with qualified subject matter experts, so make sure that you identify a solution that matches your industry needs.
If you’re having difficulty hiring a subject matter expert or you’re tired of asking your in-house experts to write all of your blog content, consider using your team to oversee and train your writers over time.
In order to accomplish this, look for a freelance writer who is looking for an ongoing partnership. You’ll want to test your candidate to make sure that they are a strong listener, open to criticism and allows multiple written revisions on their work. Communication skills are also key traits.
After finding your candidate, start them with basic writing assignments to introduce them into your organization and industry. Then, have your subject matter experts begin introducing more difficult assignments and coaching along the way. You should know within the first few writing assignments if your freelance writer is a good match for your team.
While this training process can take more time to get your freelance writer up to snuff, it can save your organization resources and help you develop better onboarding processes for more writers in the long run.
4. Search your network, ask your connections.
This may sound like old-fashioned networking, but some of the best freelance writing candidates may already be within your network.As a first step, login to your LinkedIn profile and look for, “freelance copywriter” in the search bar. The search results will include any first or second-degree connections that you have with freelance copywriter skills.
Finding writers that are already in your network can add peace of mind before making a hire, because you can identify who they’ve worked with, ask your connections what it was like to work with them, and request references.
Consider connecting with fellow content marketers, community managers, and professional editors to expand your network. Next, openly ask for their opinions on working with freelancers, challenges that they’ve experience and whether they know of any high-quality blog content creators in your industry.
Additionally, don’t be afraid to ask other professionals while networking at conferences or speaking at events. You may be surprised at what you can find by being vocal about your writing needs and challenges.
As a final rule of thumb, you should always be diligent by researching your freelance writer’s content portfolio, asking for professional references, studying their LinkedIn profile and other social channels and reaching out to any mutual connections to help avoid any headaches in the future.