Freelance Writer Hiring Checklist

If you run a quick internet search for “freelance writers”, you will be amazed (and overwhelmed) by the sheer number of responses that crop up. Every netizen out there claims to be a “writer”, and a professional, talented one nonetheless, who can meet deadlines, work to specifications, churn a 100 articles a day, boost search engine rankings, write perfect plagiarism-free copy, deliver high quality content in record time, blah, blah, blah and some more. From the ever-growing pool of freelance writers online, how do you separate the wheat from the chaff? Hiring a freelance writer (the right one) is the first, and most important step towards achieving your business goals and one wrong decision will lead to a series of disappointments and bitter experiences. Quickly run this checklist in your mind  the next time you set out to hire a freelance content writer.

Too cheap to be true? Freelance content writers who are experienced, professional and confident of their abilities will never short sell their writing services. A quote that looks too good to be true, probably is and should set your alarm bells ringing. Writers who agree to work for a pittance are most likely unskilled, inexperienced, or out of work (you don’t want to hire them either way).

Where did you find them? Most professional writers usually have a website, blog or online portfolio where they showcase their samples and client lists whereas those who are dabbling with the option of making money from home usually scrounge “job websites” for work. Although this is not a blanket statement, it does apply to most writers (and non-writers).

What is their body of work? Before you hire a freelance writer, check out their body of work. Which clients have they worked for? Do they have any published articles to their credit? Ask for samples similar or related to your requirement or request for a test article on a topic of your choice. The latter is a safer option since it minimizes the risk of a writer presenting someone else’s writing as his own. However, make sure that the test article is short, especially if you are not paying for it. Samples will also give you a fair idea of the writer’s style and subject matter expertise, especially if you need articles/content on a niche topic.

Accolades or Brickbats? Sometimes, samples and clippings may not be enough to judge whether a writer is a good fit for your project. Check out their client testimonials and don’t hesitate to contact one or more clients in the list for verification or information. A writer who is stellar with words may be lousy with deadlines or vice versa  – do your homework before trusting a writer with your project.

Is This The “One”? Just like there are different doctors for women, cancer patients, children and the mentally ill, there are different writers for blog posts, sales copy, white papers, e-books and website content. Most professional writers are versatile but it wouldn’t hurt to check whether you have the right guy for your freelance writing job.

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