Over the last few months, I have received numerous emails asking about writers and where to find them. Writers can often be a headache for people to outsource and can sometimes eat up a lot of time. Our team likes to hire and fire fast and not spend much time on a writer if they don’t produce something great the first time.
Hiring a writer is more than just paying for a service; it’s an investment in both your company and yourself. It ensures your company is properly represented and saving yourself hours of time that can be better spent focusing on any of the countless other tasks that come with running an online business.
There are also many different writers out there, too. There are writers who specialize in different fields, such as SEO, copywriting, dissertation ghostwriters, essay writers, writers to maximize business plans, content writers, white paper writers, resume writers… the list is almost endless and all of which can be found on freelance sites.
First, if you are looking for a writer for hire, you need to think about exactly what you want.
Before you can actually go about hiring a writer, you’ll need to decide whether you want to hire one as a part of your staff, work with a freelancer or an agency. All options have their own benefits and drawbacks.
Working with a freelance writer is a more streamlined process and oftentimes more cost-effective. Interviewing can be tedious and time-consuming. Instead of meeting with multiple people, you can place an ad online and make a decision based on the submissions of writing samples you receive (risky but fast).
Whereas hired writers are either salaried or hourly, freelancers are usually paid per project. If you find a writer who you’d like to work with more consistently, you can offer to pay a retainer fee to reserve a determined amount of time for your projects.
Compared to the possibly-costly process of firing an employee, ending a relationship with a freelancer is much easier. All you have to do is send an email letting them know you’re no longer interested in working together (sometimes you can get someone who sends a million emails asking why they were fired and for another chance – as I have experienced!)
Hiring a writer as part of your staff isn’t without its perks. Even with email, Skype, and other modern technologies, nothing compares to communicating face-to-face. Sometimes, explaining exactly what you want is easier in person.
Working with a content management team such as Content Refined, offers the ability to be hands off and hire a skilled team who just produces quality content. Plus, many content management teams also offer scheduling and marketing services.
Most content management teams have a team of writers so you can rest assured knowing there will always be someone available to take on your project. If you’re dissatisfied with the quality or style of the assignment, you can simply ask for a different writer’s spin on it.
Like with freelancers, payment is usually per assignment and based on the services provided. However, you’ll likely end up paying more when working with content management teams, which makes sense since a team is bound to have more expenses than an individual. However, with additional services like promoting content across various social media platforms, your money will be put to good use.
Now that we’ve gone over why hiring a professional writer is essential, let’s take a look at the 5 best places to hire writers.
“To connect businesses with great talent to work without limits.”
This is the biggest and best platform that we hire a lot of our team from.
Upwork is a website that connects freelancers with those who are looking to hire them. This does not only have to be article writing it can be a wide range of different tasks from hiring a VA to getting someone to build you a website.
With over 1 billion users active on a daily basis, Facebook is undoubtedly one of the best ways to find a professional writer. Unlike Upwork—which only provides you with the information submitted by the freelancer—Facebook gives you far more insight into who you’re dealing with as a person.
Experienced freelancers may even have reviews on their wall and clients on their friend’s list. We have only recently started to use Facebook for hiring, but the outcome has been fantastic so far. They are a bit more pricy then the other places listed here but can sometimes be worth it.
By utilizing its search function, you can easily connect with thousands of people—both individually and in groups. For example, this group https://www.facebook.com/groups/copyjobs/ features over 13,000 members who are all skilled copywriters.
Because business dealings managed via Facebook are usually done in private, it’s hard to discern how payments are usually handled, we usually use Paypal for our transactions with them.
The greatest pro of finding writers on Facebook is its massive user base. The biggest downside is its publicity and the risk of scorned clients or freelancers posting negativity on your wall.
Fiverr (Not recommended) is almost the antithesis of Upwork. Instead of posting jobs, those looking to hire a freelancer, select a category, then a sub-category of work and choose the freelancer they feel best fits their needs from the listings. We find that the pool isn’t as large as Upwork but there are still some good quality writers if you give it enough time.
Rather than applying to different jobs, freelancers on Fiverr post a listing that specifies what type of work they’re willing to do, their skills, and their rate. Each listing comes with three options: basic, standard, and premium—each with its own rate and services offered.
The going rate for 1000 words seems to be anywhere between $10 and $25, depending on the seller.
The biggest advantage of using Fiverr is being able to compare and contrasts the many different sellers to be able to find the one that’s ideal for you.
The biggest downside to using Fiverr is the inability to post jobs with specific requirements and I find the pool isn’t as big as other platforms.
Onlinejobs.ph is a website that allows you to outsource work that you have to skilled individuals in the Philippines. I haven’t used this one but I have heard some great things about it.
When looking for someone to hire, you can either post a job and wait until someone applies or search through the site’s resume database using keywords.
Once you’ve found someone you’re interested in working with, you’re ready for the next step: Ironing out the details like payment (which is handled via PayPal) and expectations.
The greatest part of using onlinejobs.ph is its TimeProof tool: Software that records any activity, takes screenshots of the freelancer’s screen, and then sends them off to the employer automatically.
As with all outsourcing, you run the risk of working with someone who isn’t too familiar with your language, which may end up leading to issues. In my opinion, this is the biggest disadvantage.
Before working on onlinejobs.ph, it’s important to remember to read up on the conversion between your nation’s currency and the Filipino peso.
Guru.com seems similar to Fiverr in how employers sift through freelancer listings and profiles in order to find someone that can provide what they need. Like Upwork, the website manages payment by serving as a middleman. Unlike Upwork, where the website’s team ultimately decides if the work has been fulfilled satisfactorily, Guru claims that the employer ultimately decides whether the provided work is worthy of payment.
Leaving the terms of payment up to the employer is simultaneously Guru’s biggest pro (for the employer) and con (for the freelancer).
Out of the 5 websites listed above, I’d have to say Upwork is the best for finding writers. Even though Facebook has a massive user base, the straightforward and streamlined bidding process for Upwork makes it easy to find someone to work with.
If you have any questions or know of any other places, I would love to hear about it! Please mention any other writing resources below and what it’s advantages/disadvantages are (self promotional posts are allowed within reason 🙂 )
5 Tips for Managing Writers
Now that you know 5 locations to hire writers here are 5 tips on how to manager the writers you have hired.
Building up any website takes a lot of working with writers to get the most useful quality articles possible. Across all my money sites, I work with a team of writers to keep the content new every week and to keep the organic traffic numbers growing.
As you can imagine, that’s a lot of writers to manage. So this week I thought I’d share the best ways to hire and maintain a team of solid writers, keep them organized, and keep on track with what everyone is doing.
In addition to these practises I have developed over the years many of these lessons have been learned via ContentRefined.com where we have produced over 1,000,000 words/month for clients!
1. Hiring Writers
I’ve talked about this before, but hiring freelance writers shouldn’t be taken lightly. You want a native English speaking, strong and competent writer with solid experience. I always ask them to do a test assignment before bringing them onto the team. Here’s an example job posting from UpWork.
To check for grammar, I always ask the applicant to fix a couple of grammatically incorrect statements. That’s a quick way to check whether they’re legit English speakers or not. If they provide some examples of their work, that’s a good way to quickly check them out as well. But the best way is to assign them a test article to really see their chops.
2. The 10% Rule
I stole this rule from Jack Welch, former GE CEO, about maintaining the best teams. In a nutshell, he says that you should fire the bottom 10% of your staff every year. I apply this (in a way) to writing teams to make sure that they’re always stacked with the best writers. Say you have 10 writers on a content team. Every month or so, I cut out the 1 bottom performer and replace them with someone new. Constantly refreshing teams like this has worked well for making sure that writers are on their game and not getting lazy.
3. No Second Chances
Another tip with freelance writers: don’t give second chances. It’s happened a few too many times where I’ll give somebody the benefit of the doubt for a mistake or a late assignment, and sure enough they go out and repeat that bad behaviour every time. When you depend on sticking to a schedule and you really need writers to be on the ball, you can’t let anything slide. If they screw up, move on and hire someone new. You don’t have to be rude about it. Just let them know the problem(s) and why you can’t continue to work with them. It’s not personal; it’s business.
4. Keeping Organized: Spreadsheets!
A master spreadsheet that shows the status of team members has been the most effective strategy for keeping track of everybody. I check in with a spreadsheet like this one pretty much every day to review the work in progress. If I’ve assigned something and haven’t heard back from the writer for a day or two, I’ll follow up. If there’s still no response, those articles need to be reassigned. This simple spreadsheet will save you the huge headache of confusing emails and trying to mentally keep track of everybody. Just be sure to actually update it and don’t let things slip by, because that will make things confusing really quickly. Especially if you’re dealing with 10 or more writers, and various writing teams across different businesses, you want to make sure everything is well-organized.
I also always have an editor go through every article or piece of web copy that I have written. It’s great to have a second set of eyes on any text to help with spelling, grammar, flow, and readability. It’s usually this editor who I also get to run every piece of text through Copyscape to check for plagiarism. So in this master spreadsheet, you can keep track of what’s on your editor’s plate at the moment too.
5. Consistent Payments
Some freelancers will want to stick with UpWork for payments for security, but more often than not our writers ask for PayPal. It avoids the UpWork fees. No matter which way your writers want to go for payments, I recommend that you stick to a consistent pay schedule. Every week at the same time of day is ideal. Let your writers know when they can expect to be paid, and keep track of the work they’ve completed on a week by week basis. Here’s an example of what that payment tracking spreadsheet can look like. In this example, payments would ideally be made on Sundays, because the weekly tracking goes from Monday to Sunday. So writers know that if they hand something in on a Monday, they won’t be paid until that coming Sunday.
Final Thoughts: Keep Your Writers Happy
Consistent work, positive reinforcement, and clear communication are probably the three main things that have helped me keep some awesome writers around for a long time. When you’re working with someone primarily through email, it helps to have a friendly tone and to be as clear as possible with direction. Mutual respect and trust is the goal.
What have you found to be the most effective way of managing writers or content teams? Are there any tools you use that I should be checking out? Let me know in the comments!