How to Find and Hire a Freelance Writer
There are a million and one reasons to hire a writer. Maybe English isn't your first language. Maybe you don't have time to write your blog articles or maybe you just want someone more skilled than yourself to write your newsletter or sales copy.
Whatever the reason, there are real live professional writers out there who will do a beautiful job on whatever you need to have written. I'm going to give you some tips on how to find and hire a writer.
First figure out what type of writing you need. Maybe you need different types of writing. Many writers specialize either in the type of writing they do or the industry they work for or both. Not all, but many. If you want someone to write sales copy for landing pages and funnels, for example, that's called a copywriter.
If you want someone to write your blog, that's called a long-form business writer. If you want someone to manage and create posts for your social media, that's a social media writer. Now at least you have a vague notion what type of writer you want.
Here are some different ways to go about finding a writer.
1. Place an ad. If you want to try this, have at it. Lose your mind. You could try placing a local ad on Craigslist, or an online ad on Hubstaff Talent, where there are lots of ads for freelancers. These are just two of many possibilities for where to place an ad. You will have to sort through many replies. Probably about 10% of the replies will be from people that are actually qualified to do the work.
2. You could post your specific job/task on one of the gig boards like Upwork. There are several websites like this that allow you to post an ad, and a trillion people will reply. You'll have to separate the wheat from the chaff, but it is possible to find a capable writer on there. The disadvantages of using a gig board are several: first, you may get many replies from people whose English is not...perfect. The work and payment must be conducted through the website. The advantages of using an online board like this are that there is some insurance built into using their platform if, for example, you're not satisfied with the work, and you'll have many many freelancers to choose from.
3. Ask a writer. Do you know any freelance writers? Ask them even if you know they don't do the type of writing that you're looking for. Most freelance writers (and artists and website builders) know other writers (and artists and website builders) because we work with them all the time. It's very likely that the writer you know can refer you to another writer.
4. Contact one of the professional writer organizations. Many of them have an internal job board, and if you ask nicely, they'll be happy to post your job so that it's visible only to their members. The advantage here is that these are professional writers who belong to an organization. Typically the writers have to demonstrate a certain history of work and published portfolio to become a member in the first place. So, by trying to find a writer through an organization, you will weed out a lot of wannabes.
5. If you want to work with someone local, then contact one of your local business network organizations. Many of them will have a writer as a member or they can point you in the right direction.
6. Ask another small or medium-sized business who writes their blog, assuming that you like it. Big companies typically have someone on staff doing it, but small and medium-sized businesses often have a freelancer or an agency doing it.
Once you have chosen one or two or three writers that you want to investigate further, ask them if they've ever done the type of work you want. Ask to see some of their past work. Writing samples should be readily available in an online portfolio or through the writer's website.
You can always give them one assignment to try them out, but be prepared to pay for it upon submission, whether you like it or not. Experienced professional writers are not going write for you for free or "on spec" while you make up your mind.
If you have decided on one, then it's normal to sign some kind of contract with him or her outlining what they're doing, how much they will be paid, when they will be paid, what rights they may or may not have to whatever they write and how to sever the contract. Non-disclosure agreements or "NDA's" are also common, and writers will be happy to sign them.
There's always a learning curve working with a new writer as the writer learns to give you exactly what you want.
You will, however, find life is much easier if you have a good writer you can count on, one that will give you what you want, in perfect condition, and on time, every time. Yes, those writers do exist.