How to Hire a Writer

Posted on

Does your growing business need a writer? From creating marketing collateral to developing internal training materials, a copywriter can produce all the written content your business needs to succeed. While there are numerous qualified writers on Indeed who can help your company, it’s important to find a writer who can work well with your company and effectively express your company’s voice.

Writers needed ad

How to hire writers for niche sites [Step-by-Step Description of My Method]

I currently work with almost 20 freelance writers, producing about 100 posts per months across my content sites. I’ve already shared my workflow here, including how I get the kind of content I need for my sites. In this post, I’m going to share how I recruit new writers to the team – including all of my ad and email templates.

In a nutshell, once a quarter I publish an ad looking for writers, collecting applications via a Google Form. Along with my team (VA and editor), we test all relevant applicants and then bring the ones who are good enough into the regular team.

To be honest, it can be quite a tedious process. However, so far, this proves to be the best way for me to get high-quality content at the best possible price. And I’ve managed to create a workflow for this process which involves mostly my Chief VA and editor, so I essentially outsource the majority of this process.

Why hire a writer?

Whether hiring for full time or on a freelance basis, hiring a writer can affect your existing staff and your bottom line. However, know that a writer can help your overall business by:

• Creating and refining the voice of your company or brand by developing messaging for your marketing department
• Developing detailed and intelligent written resources, manuals and instructions for your customer base
• Maintaining technical proficiency in your brand messaging

Deciding between a full-time vs freelance writer

When you have consistent, ongoing writing needs in your marketing department or other departments, hiring a full-time writer is an option. A staff writer can start a new writing project immediately, and that person understands your company’s branding and goals to make the writing effective. You also get a consistent voice since it’s the same person creating all the writing.

If you only occasionally need writing projects completed, a freelance writer gives you more flexibility. You can assign specific projects on an as-needed basis without the expense of hiring a full-time writer. Freelance writers can also help your in-house writing team during a big project when you temporarily need extra assistance. You can also hire a freelance writer with experience in a particular type of writing if you only need that expertise for a short-term project.

Develop a Fair Tryout

After you’ve screened the qualified candidates and narrowed the list to your top ones, it is time for a tryout. Interviews are great, but tryouts are the best way to measure fit when you want to hire a writer.

The critical decision you need to make is whether you’re going to pay the candidate for a tryout or not. A good rule for me is that I pay for tryouts that could produce content that I will later publish. My standard paid tryout is to ask the writer to develop three story ideas for the brand. Then, I pick the story idea I like the most (or assign them a story that I think will be a good test of their abilities) and pay them the standard rate for the article.

This approach works best if you’re producing a lot of content and have the resources to pay candidates. It gives you an excellent sense of how much work it will take for a writer to produce a story from ideation to completion.

If your brand doesn’t have the budget for that, it’s better to focus on asking the candidates to come up with story ideas and recommendations for improving your content marketing program. In this case, my standard practice is to ask a writer for three story ideas and provide a 250- to 500-word critique of the brand’s blog. That’s not a huge ask and doesn’t make candidates feel like they’re being taken advantage of.

Tryouts do require you to provide useful feedback on whatever the candidates produce. Having robust contributor guidelines can make the tryout process easier. Regardless of whether you hire a writer, having a detailed and thoughtful tryout process is good employer branding.

It’s a great time to hire a writer. Growth-focused managing editors can use the labor market to their advantage to upgrade their team and raise the quality of their content by finding and hiring excellent writers by using strong job descriptions, probing questions and fair tryouts.

Tom Anderson

It’s time to start hiring

After reading this article, you might be thinking that hiring a freelancer sounds like more trouble than it’s worth. But that couldn’t be further from the truth — outsourcing your content writing is crucial. Unless you have a big in-house team that’s dedicated to writing, editing, researching, optimizing, and publishing a large variety of content, it’s going to be the best option for your business.

Have you hired writers for your website? How did you find them? What advice would you give to others looking to do the same? Share your thoughts and tips in the comments below.