The number one question prospective clients ask about our marketing communications and media relations services is: Are your freelance writers experts in our field? Sometimes the answer is “no.” Should that be a deterrent? Absolutely not. Writers who are worth their weight in gold are skilled and talented professionals who have studied their craft and execute it well. They know how to ask questions, research, interview sources and acquire the information they need to produce content on any subject. Believe it or not, it’s much easier to teach a writer about your industry than it is to teach an industry expert how to write. With that in mind, here are four ways to determine if a freelance writer represents a good fit for your content development needs.
Choosing a Freelance Writer
- Conduct an in-depth interview with the writer. Ask the freelance writer to assess his or her strengths and weaknesses. Have the writer describe a challenging assignment and how he or she handled it. Find out what the writer thinks is important in establishing a working relationship with a client. Ask how the writer communicates with clients. Ask about meeting deadlines. Find out how a writer prepares for a new assignment.
- Ask for samples of the freelance writer’s work. Regardless of the topic, assess whether the content is readable and engaging. Does it flow well? Is there an attempt to limit the use of acronyms, buzz words and other clichés?
- Get references. Talk to the clients listed on the writer’s website or resume. Find out what they liked and didn’t like about working with the freelance writer. Ask what kind of support the writer needed from the client.
- Discuss fees openly. In order to avoid surprises and misunderstandings, it’s best to have an agreement in writing. Opt for writers who quote a flat fee for a project. When writers work on an hourly basis, it creates mistrust and projects can go over-budget. When writers base their fees on word count, clients pay for every article, preposition or other part of speech and not necessarily the quality of the content.
Is the Writer a Good Fit?
Remember, the value of a freelance writer comes from how well the writer meets your needs. This can include:
- The ability to get up to speed quickly
- Never missing a deadline
- Response to constructive feedback and requested content changes
- Accessibility, and,
- The writer’s interest in your success.
Selecting the right freelance writer for your content development needs is a critical decision. That’s why personality, experience and skills are so important.