Are you confused about whom to hire to write your company’s BLOG or website? Are you struggling with writing your news releases or brochures? Have you posted an ad for a freelance writer, received many responses and have no idea how to how to choose the best candidates to interview? You are not alone. When you are looking for a free lance writer to join your team, it takes more than looking through stacks of resumes!
1. Ask to see samples of the writer’s work.
It is vital to look at the potential writer’s work. Be sure and check correct grammar and spelling. If you are corresponding via email, does the writer proof read the emails? Is the writing clear and concise? What about his or her writing style? Does it match your company’s style and culture? Does the writer have any experience in doing a similar project? All writers should have a portfolio of work that they can share with you. I recommend asking to see 5 to 10 sample pieces to give you a good idea of the writer’s style, capabilities and strengths.
2. Ask for testimonials and/or references.
Does the writer meet deadlines? Is the writer flexible? How does he or she operate in a team environment? Is he or she dependable? Was the work completed to satisfaction? How does she/he take editing requests? It is possible that writing samples provided are excellent and the writer is difficult and hard to deal with. I recommend contacting at least three references to ensure that the writer will complete your project needs within deadlines and works well with others.
3. Schedule uninterrupted time for an interview.
Since you and/or your team will be working closely with the writer, it is important to spend some time finding out if the potential writer is a “good fit” for the company. How are his or her communication skills? Is he/she a good listener? Does he/she she ask relevant and thoughtful questions about the project?
It is my experience that writing for others means that I must carefully listen to my clients’ input and make changes as requested. The writer must not take constructive criticism personally and be able to incorporate clients’ ideas and feedback.
4. Does the writer charge by the hour or the project?
Many writers charge by the hour and track every phone call, email and conversation. Other writers will quote on a project. There are pros and cons to both methods. It may be that a project is done quicker than estimated and therefore be less expensive in the long run to charge by the hour. On the other hand, it is quite possible that the project might take more research than originally thought and a project price saves money. Does the writer require payment up front or at the end of the project? Is there a discount for ongoing work?
I personally quote on the project by estimating how long it will take for research, writing and editing. I feel that it’s important to be available to communicate with my client as often as required without watching the clock. A high-quality writer will work with a client until the client is satisfied with the final product regardless of how long it takes.
5. The last and most important tip is for you to know what you want!
If you are not clear on what you need, it will be impossible for the writer to complete the project. It is best to prepare a detailed, creative brief to cement the project requirements and ensure that the writer understands the scope and needs of the project.
Here are some questions to ask when preparing a creative brief.
- Who is my target market?
- What action do I want the reader to take?
- How long should the project be? Word count? Paragraphs?
- What are the project’s objectives?
- When is the deadline?
These tips are not an exhaustive list of “how-to” hire a writer, but they are a great place to start!
Written by Cathy Moleschi
Langley Writing Services