You’ve got a blog – so far, so good. And you’ve written six posts, but now the inevitable time crunch is happening.
A week goes by, and then another.
No blog post.
Two more weeks and despite your best intentions…still no blog post.
We see it all the time: orphaned blogs. They still command a place on your menu bar, but nobody’s home.
One solution is to hire a writer. Sounds simple, right?
You hire someone to write your posts for you. You sit back, the posts come in, you get more engagement and more business.
But, whoa there silver! There are a few things to consider before going down the freelancer highway and starting to read resumes. Let’s start with the most important question first.
Should you hire a writer?
As tempting as it might seem to hire a writer, you should first consider how important it is to use your own voice in your blog posts.
If you have a content blog sharing great advice, maybe it doesn’t matter so much who wrote it, as long as the content is unique and the writing is high quality. Two good examples of this are inkbotdesign.com or contentmarketinginstitute.com.
On the other hand, if you are the brand, then maybe having someone else write your blog is not the best idea. A freelance writer is unlikely to accurately mimic your style of writing or humour and certainly can’t match your knowledge.
It is possible to find a great match with freelancers, after all, ghostwriters have written many of the best-selling autobiographies. But it could mean higher costs and a longer search process.
The workaround is for your freelancer to write content pieces, not personality pieces. A good example of this is Jon Morrow, who writes brilliant posts about his take on blogging, life after his accident and “living in paradise.” Meanwhile, you’ll find many freelancers contributing great how-to content to Morrow’s SmartBlogger blog.
What to look for in a writer
Before you start posting your job or searching forums for writers, it’s important to know what you’re looking for.
Just like shopping for groceries, if you don’t start with a list it could be an expensive trip to the store.
Your list of requirements will be unique, based on the content expertise you are looking for, but here’s a good list to start with:
- Writing skills. As basic as it sounds, there’s nothing more frustrating than bad grammar from a “professional writer.” If you really want to test if applicants are detail oriented insert this instruction “Please mention ‘Blue Moon’ in your application.”
- Basic knowledge. As a minimum, your freelancer should have proven experience writing similar posts and a basic knowledge of the content area.
- Confident writing voice. It’s great to be accurate, but a big challenge for any blog is to be interesting enough to stop readers from clicking away.
- Commitment to quality. In your interview process, give some feedback. How your freelancer receives your advice is one of the best measures of how well they will work out.
How to get started
We published a detailed post about job posting boards, forums and even searching Twitter to find freelancers. If you’re ready to find that perfect writer, that’s a good place to start.
Adding to that post, there is, of course, the Mack truck of freelancing, Upwork. At BlogWorks, we use Upwork every month for market research, graphic design and other long-term and one-off jobs.
The tip we most often share is to use the applicant filters and to individually invite the freelancers you are most interested in working with (as opposed to letting Upwork send you applicants.)
Invite the right applicants to write
For example, if hiring a blog writer, I would follow this simple routine:
- Post the job. You can start with this being a one-off job and set the price level as “intermediate”
- When you move to “Invite freelancers”, immediately open “Filters” and start selecting the criteria you are looking for. You can even select your country of choice.
- Once you have selected your filter criteria, Upwork will start displaying the freelancers that fit your criteria. This is where you invite the best applicants to apply.
The most remarkable aspect of Upwork is the speed at which you can go from job posting to communicating with qualified applicants. And because you have posted a one time job (as opposed to an ongoing contract), your risk is pretty minimal.
Whether you hire a writer or commit to writing all of your posts, either way, committing to a consistent schedule of publishing is important. The worst option is to have an orphan blog on your site collecting dust.
Your readers want to learn from you and be inspired. Now, get publishing.