If you're thinking about getting a freelancer onboard to help with your blogging or other writing tasks, here are a few tips for finding the right fit.
There are lots of benefits to using a freelancer when you need to fill a skills gap on your team. Whether you're a small business in need of some extra support or a larger company looking for temporary help on a project, a freelancer can be a great option.
Depending on the nature of the work, if you can have the tasks carried out remotely, your hiring options will expand exponentially. It’s great to meet in-person, but why limit your choices to people who live within commuting distance of your premises?
Getting comfortable with remote working – and all the technology that makes remote teams so much easier to manage these days – will mean the world is your oyster in terms of the talent and expertise on offer.
Eliminating travel and associated costs can also help to make freelance fees more affordable, as it reduces overheads.
However, choosing a freelance writer can seem daunting if you’ve never done it before. Having been a freelance writer and journalist for seven years, I’ve got a lot of experience of meeting with potential new clients and figuring out whether we’re a good match.
Checking out examples of their previous work will help you to identify writers who you feel will ‘get’ your business’s tone of voice.
It can also be a good idea to agree on a trial assignment or period initially, to check whether your working practices, communication styles and expectations gel.
Questions to ask when hiring a freelance writer
Here are the key questions I recommend asking yourself – and the candidates – when you set out to hire a freelance writer:
- What specific tasks do you want to outsource to a freelancer and which jobs will you keep in-house?
- How frequently do these tasks need to be done? What time commitment will be required?
- Do you want the freelancer to be available at specified times – certain days per week or hours per day, to take care of ad hoc projects – or do you want to set tasks that must be completed by pre-agreed deadlines?
- How quickly do assignments need to be turned around?
- How many hours or days will each task take, in reality?
- What are their rates? What payment model works best for both of you: an hourly rate, a project fee or an ongoing retainer?
- Will the freelancer require input from your business in order to complete their tasks? If so, how will you make sure they get what they need, on time?
- What are your preferred communication channels? How responsive do you need the writer to be?
- How will the editing/approval process work? How many edits can you request before incurring further fees?
- At what point in the process will the copy written by the freelancer become the property of your business?
- Do you want to use a non-disclosure agreement to protect any element of your business?
- How often will invoices be issued? What are the payment terms?
- How will any disputes or concerns be dealt with?
- Why, how and when can the agreement be terminated by either party?
- If you’re looking for an ongoing contract with a freelance writer, will it comply with IR35 rules? (You can find out more information here.)
This might seem like a long list of considerations, but most freelancers will use contracts that cover many of these points.
As with any new professional relationship, there may be a learning curve. However, asking the right questions at the start will help to avoid common pitfalls and misunderstandings – so you can focus on working with a great writer who will help you tell your story, your way.
Good luck with your search for your new freelance writer. Here’s to the start of a beautiful new friendship!