How to Vet Freelance Writers: 12 Questions To Ask Before You Hire
Planning to hire a freelance writer for your blog or website? Great, because freelance writing services can be a great way to get high-quality, original content without breaking the bank. But before you do, there are a few things you need to keep in mind.
First, you'll want to make sure the writer is qualified and has the skills necessary to write quality content. Second, you'll need to make sure their writing style meshes with your own. And finally, you'll need to ensure that they're a good fit for your brand and culture.
But, how do you go about vetting potential freelance writers? Well, there is no one-size-fits-all solution, but here are a few questions you can ask to help you make the best decision. After all, Seth Godin was right for quoting:
“Why waste a sentence saying nothing?”
1. What Type Of Writing Do You Specialize In?Not all freelance writers can bring everything you need to the table. Therefore, it is very important to find out what type of writing the person you're considering specializes in. Do they write mostly blog posts? Are they experienced in creating web copy? Or, are they better suited for creating more technical content?
Some might even be excellent while writing for one niche while having no experience writing for another niche. So, it is essential to ask this question and get a sense of the writer's strengths and weaknesses. This will help you determine if they are a good fit for the type of content you need to create.
2. Do You Have Any Writing Samples I Can Review Before Hiring You?The best way to know if someone is a good writer is to check their writing samples. This will give you a good idea of their style, tone, and quality of writing.
If the writer doesn't have any published work samples, ask them to write a short piece on a topic of your choice. This will help you determine if they are capable of producing quality content that meets your expectations.
3. Have You Written For Businesses Like Ours Before?It is always helpful to hire a writer who has some experience writing for businesses like yours. This way, they will already have an understanding of the type of content you need and the style that will work best for your audience.
If the writer doesn't have any direct experience, see if they have written anything related to your industry or niche. For example, if you're in the tech industry, a writer who covers consumer electronics could still be a good fit.
4. Are You Familiar With The Style Guide For My Company/Brand/Industry?Every company has their own style guide that outlines the specific tone and voice they want their content to have. It is important to make sure the writer you're considering is familiar with your company's guidelines.
If they're not, see if they are willing to read and follow your style guide. This will help ensure that all of your content maintains a consistent look and feel.
5. What Is Your Availability Like?You'd want to ask questions like, "Can you start working on this project as soon as possible, or do you have a few weeks' turnaround time?" or "What is your availability like? I need someone who can work on this project three days a week?"
Knowing the writer's availability is essential for your own calendar and budgeting. You don't want to hire someone who is already booked solid or isn't available when you need them.
6. How Much Do You Charge Per Hour, And What's Your Minimum Project Size?When it comes to pricing, there is no one-size-fits-all solution. Some writers charge by the hour while others charge a flat rate for the project. There are pros and cons to both pricing models.
So, you'll need to decide what is best for your budget and project needs. Once you've decided on a price model, make sure to ask the writer what their minimum project budget is. This will help you avoid any sticker shock when they send you their invoice.
FYI, according to PeakFreelance, 13% of freelance writers would charge under $99 and the majority (which is 27%) would charge $250-$399 for a 1500 word blog post.
7. Do You Have A Clear Understanding Of The Message I'm Trying To Deliver?Before you hire a freelance writer, it is essential that you communicate your goals and objectives for the project. You need to make sure the writer understands what you're hoping to achieve with the content.
If they don't, ask them to read through your website or blog and get a better understanding of your brand. This will help them create content that is on-brand and aligned with your marketing goals.
8. Do You Have Any Questions For Me?After you've asked all of the relevant questions, it's time to see if the writer has any questions for you. This is a good way to gauge their level of interest and engagement in the project.
If they don't have any questions, it could be a red flag that they're not as invested in the project as you are. However, if they have a lot of questions, it could mean they're trying to understand the scope of the project before making a commitment.
9. What's Your Cancellation Policy?No one likes to think about canceling a project, but it is important to know the writer's policy upfront just in case. Make sure to ask about their cancellation policy before hiring them. This way, you'll know what to expect if you need to cancel the project for any reason.
10. Do You Offer Any Guarantees?Some writers offer money-back guarantees or other types of guarantees. This shows that they are confident in their ability to deliver quality work. If a writer doesn't offer any guarantees, that's not necessarily a bad thing, but it is something to keep in mind.
11. How Do You Handle Revisions And Feedback From Clients?When working with a freelance writer, it is important to establish some ground rules upfront about revisions. After all, no one is perfect and there will likely be times when you need to make changes to the content before it is published.
Therefore, you'll want to know how the writer feels about revisions and feedback. Do they charge extra for revisions? Are they open to making changes based on your input? Answering these questions will help you avoid any misunderstandings or frustrations down the road.
12. Do You Offer Any Discounts For Long-Term Projects?If you have a long-term project in mind, it is worth asking the writer if they offer any discounts. Many writers are willing to negotiate their rates for longer projects.
This will help you save money in the long run and gives you some flexibility with your budget.
Jay Baer of Convince & Convert told Clear Voice that he likes to add two more to the mix:
- What happens if I don’t like the work you deliver?
- What can I give you to make this job easier and give it the greatest possible chance of success?
Now that you know what to ask, it's time to start your search for the perfect freelance writer!