How to Hire a Freelance Author
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A common question that many of my readers ask is, “How do you go about finding a good article writer?” Because I have built hundreds of niche sites, I have outsourced a TON of content. I've used several different writing services and freelance websites to find authors; and so I feel like I have sufficient experience to answer this question.
When I first started out building websites, I wrote all of the content myself. And if you write well, I still think you should do it yourself. However, I got to the point where my dreams of building larger quantities of sites outpaced my ability to write articles; so I decided it was time to outsource some of the work.
What follows here are some of the tips I've learned over the past few years on how to hire a freelance author.
Where to Search for Authors
I've hired authors using several different websites or services. Here are just a few places that you can hire freelance author to write articles for your niche sites (and more):
- Freelancer.com (Better for hiring graphics or programming than for authors)
- HireWriters.com (I've just recently started testing).
- This is just a start
To be honest, its not so much about where you hire an author, but the task is finding a good author and giving good instructions.
How to Find Someone for Your Niche
For my public niche site project, I used Elance.com to find a great author. Here's how I did it.
First, when I published the job, I asked specifically for someone with experience in the camping or survival niche. You can do the same for your niche. If you want someone who has been a flight attendant before…ask for it! You will be surprised at how many qualified candidates you get.
Even if you don't find someone that is a perfect fit (maybe they work for a company that hire's flight attendants and they are not really a flight attendant), but if you can find someone with close experience to what you are looking for, this is a great start.
So, that's step one, don't be afraid to ask for your ideal author! However, much more important than the author's background is whether or not they can write.
How to Find Someone that Can Actually Write
The ideal situation is if you can find someone that both has experience in your niche and writes well. But if I had to pick one, I'd pick the good author over past work experience. Luckily for my survival knife niche site, I was able to find an author that met both criteria.
Here are the steps I follow to hire a good author:
- Look at the work history and reviews of the author. An author with lots of positive reviews is definitely a good sign. So, if you can hire someone that has received raving reviews, its certainly less risky. However, just because an author doesn't have many reviews, doesn't mean that aren't worth hiring either. They could just be new to the website or to freelance writing. In this case, you can look at their resume (if provided), or contact them directly to get a feel for how they would be to work with.
- Review their past work. Most authors will have samples of their writing. I have excluded MANY authors from my search by simply reading one of their articles. If it sounds like garbage…don't hire.
- Contact the author directly with follow up questions; and make sure they are responsive. You can learn a lot about an author by sending them a private message and asking them a specific question. I usually ask something about the job and make sure they understand it fully. If they don't respond, they are out. If they are not responsive, you don't want them. Or if they don't respond in a comprehensive manner, then that could certainly be a red flag as well.
- Give Detailed Instructions. Once you've hired an author, its up to you to make sure they understand exactly what you are looking for. In addition to just the keywords to use, you want to tell them what you want to see and what you don't want to see. Should they review a product? Should the review be positive only…or “honest”? I usually tell my authors to be as specific as possible – include statistics like model number, prices, size, ratings, and much more.
How Much to Pay?
I usually pay based on the length of the article. So, for a 1000 word article; you might pay $5 on the very low end (I would never hire an author that is this cheap) to $80 on the high end. Most of the articles that I have written in the 1,000 word range from about $15 to $25. So, a 500 word article would be about half that price.
These are just rough estimates and can vary depending on the project and experience of the author.
Overall, outsourcing content is an excellent way to scale your business, and I've done it for a long time. Hopefully by following some of the principles I've laid out here, you will be able to hire a great freelance author for you next project.
If you have any comments or questions, I would love to hear them below!
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