It can be a nerve-wracking task to choose a freelance writer for your web site. You are placing a great deal of trust in another person’s hands. Although you can protect yourself by reading the content before publishing it and checking it for plagiarism and duplicates, writers that produce poor content could waste a lot of your time and energy – something you wanted to avoid in the first place by hiring the writer. You will be hiring your own writers and using a system to evaluate them before putting them on the payroll is crucial to your business plan.
Of course, your other option would be to hire a company that provides content services. That will cost a bit more, but you will have a lot less work and stress ahead of you. If you do feel that it is in your best interest to hire in house freelance writers, then you could go about it with the following steps.
1. Accept Every Resume
You never know when a person with a resume unrelated to writing could shine above other writers with a great deal of experience in the market. Evaluate how their skills and work experience can make them a great asset to you. If they listed 6 years of experience in fast food, this shows dedication and, more often than not, the ability to accept criticism. You may want to give experienced writers the first look but never discredit someone just because they do not have the experience you would look for in a writer.
2. Perform an Interview
At first, the writer will likely be a sceptical about you as you are of him. Performing a phone interview or, even better if possible, a face to face interview can be crucial to developing a strong relationship with your writer. If they don’t have the time to attend an interview, they are not right for you anyway. If you do not have the time to interview new writers, you need to reevaluate your business plan.
3. Ignore Samples
Regardless of the location of a writer’s samples, ignore them. They are never indicative of a writer’s skills. You never know how long it took them to draft the sample in question or, worse, who actually wrote it. They could have outsourced it and put their own name on it just as easily as you could. If you need to wait several days for a writer to create a 500 word article, it may be best to look elsewhere.
4. Do a Test Run
As much as you might know how to choose a freelance writer for your web site, nothing is more apparent of a writer’s skills than a test run of the content that they will be writing. Offer the writers up front payment for their test and hope for the best. Some writers will cut and run and this is something that you need to accept. Nothing cements a writer’s faith in a web site owner faster than seeing money delivered to them for their work. This step also allows you to weed out the people that may not have been as honest as they should have been on their resume or may not have the strength to write in the way that you want them to.
5. Slowly Start Weeding Writers Out
Even if you only have 5 resumes on your desktop, don’t accept that you have to hire any of them. If none of them meet your individual needs, send them a polite email and tell them that they are not the best choice for your needs. If you have difficulty choosing between writers, try rating them based on a set of criteria including:
- Spelling and Grammar
- Tone and Voice
Don’t be afraid to send work back to the writers for revisions. They may not meet your required voice on their very first piece of content for you. However, they may blow you away with a well crafted revision. When choosing a freelance writer for your web site, remember that they will be evaluating you as much as you are evaluating them. Be honest about your needs and concerns and expect them to be honest about theirs.
Article contributed by Corry Cummings
Graham Jones is an Internet Psychologist who studies the way people use the online world, in particular how people engage with businesses. He uses this knowledge to help companies improve their online connections to their customers and potential customers and offers consultancy, workshops, masterclasses and webinars. He also speaks regularly at conferences and business events. Graham is an award-winning writer and the author of 32 books, several of which are about various aspects of the Internet. For more information connect with me on Google+