Finding quality writers is not easy. As with hiring any employee
or contractor, be sure to get the facts first.
1. What am I looking for?
Before you begin your search for a writer, make sure to outline
your needs. Do you need a marketing writer that does brochures?
A technical writer who knows Visual Basic?
2. How do you charge?
Many freelancers work on a per-project basis and require
one-third to one-half of the fee upfront. Others work on an
hourly, per-day or per-week basis. Make sure you get the details
before you hire the writer.
3. When will payment be due?
It is a good idea to check with the writer about payment
scheduling. Freelance writers are often sole proprietors and
reluctant to extend credit to new clients. If your accounting
department has a history of late payments, you will lose a
talented writer quickly.
4. How will you communicate and deliver?
Be prepared for a virtual relationship with your writer. These
days, more and more writers are working via email and instant
messaging. In fact, you may not deal with the writer face to
face at all! Most writers also work by phone, fax and overnight
Since it is not often profitable to meet in person, writers may
not be willing to come to your office. However, they should be
flexible enough to attend meetings if it is necessary for the
project. If you require it, be ready to be charged for the
5. What type of writing do you do?
Ask to see samples of the writer's work. While most professional
writers are talented, they may not have the experience needed to
complete the project you need.
If you are confident in the writer's abilities and are willing
to give them a shot at your project anyway, be sure to get
references. Past clients will be able to confirm that the writer
is professional, prompt, and courteous, keeping in close touch
with the client throughout the project.
6. What is your turnaround time?
Let's face it, deadlines rule. If writers cannot meet your
deadline or fit you in, they are probably too busy to handle
your project with care. True, you may have to wait for a
qualified writer who is in demand - and it will be worth it if
you have a flexible deadline. But if you are on a time limit and
the writer cannot meet it, do not expect a miracle.
7. Who will be doing the writing?
Busy, successful writers often outsource writing projects to
other writers. Any businessperson who does this will be sure to
send the work to someone he or she trusts to do the work to your
specifications. However, if you are used to working with one
particular writer you may not want your job farmed out. Think
about it before you decide.
8. What is included in the price?
Revisions? How many? Will the writer expect to get reimbursed
for travel time or long distance phone calls for research? Will
s/he charge for meeting in person?
9. What other services do you provide?
Sometimes writers offer graphic design services as well as
freelance writing. If this is the case, they might be focused on
more than writing your piece - they also have to worry about
design, layout and production. If you want a top-notch
copywriter, stick with someone who concentrates on writing.
If, however, the writer is teamed up with other professionals or
can refer you to designers or printers, feel free to take
advantage of this service.
10. I have another project for you. Will you accept?
If you like the writer's work, by all means, hire her/him again!
It is good to establish long term relationships with writers for
*Reliability and dependability are hard to come by. If you find
somebody that works well with you, that you can count on to be
professional and meet your deadlines, it is wise to hire that
*Style. A writer, or any contracted vendor, will get to know
your company and its products over time. The better they know
you and your needs, the better able they are to help you.
*Consistency. If you are using the same person to write all your
materials, you will send a consistent message throughout your
internal and external communications. Your corporate image will
flourish as a result.
Ask these questions and you are sure to find a talented, hard
working, creative and dependable freelance writer with whom you
can build a lucrative relationship.
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