5 Steps to Hire A Freelance Writer on Upwork
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1. Outline Your Needs and Priorities
The biggest mistake you can make as a client is being vague about your expectations.
The first thing you need to do before you post an ad on Upwork is to get clear on what you are looking for.
Here are a few questions that you should be asking yourself:
- What type of project do you need to have completed?
- Are you offering recurring projects or is it one-time?
- How fast do you want the project to be finished?
- Are going to be hands-on or do you expect the writer to self-manage?
- Are you looking for a ghostwriter or are you crediting the writer?
- What niche is your blog in and does the writer have experience in that field?
- Does the project require a lot of research time?
These are all questions you need to think about as you write your ad.
Writing a specific ad helps you to eliminate applicants who do not meet your expectations or who are not right for the job.
Remember, there are thousands of applicants on a site like Upwork.
The clearer you are with your expectations, the better results you’ll get.
2. Set an Appropriate Budget
The reality is, you have to be willing to pay the right price for quality work.
You should look at the going rates on Upwork for similar projects and establish a reasonable rate.
You have to be willing to pay the market rate for your work, otherwise, you’re going to have a hard time finding a great writer.
I’ve seen writers who charge incredibly low rates, and in all honesty, their work reflects that. I strongly advise you not to hire the cheapest writer you can find.
If you find that the rates are out of your budget, re-assess the job, simplify the project, and hire someone who can do the job correctly.
Just remember, high paying jobs attract more applicants.
That means you’ll have to sort through a lot of under-qualified people in order to find the right person.
In the end, this process is worth it if your goal is to receive excellent work.
3. Choose Between Applicants
Speaking of sorting through under-qualified applicants, let’s go over the hiring process.
Once you post your ad, hopefully, you start getting a decent selection of applicants to choose from.
Naturally, some of these applicants will be better for the job than others.
Make sure to consider the preferred qualifications that you set as you consider each applicant.
Now, at some time or another, you’re bound to run into a common problem.
What do you do when you have two potential candidates?
The easiest way to narrow down your applicant pool is by reading their writing samples.
Check for grammar, spelling, and if their writing matches the tone you’re looking for.
It’s up to you to decide if the writing is good or not.
If writing is not your strength, just remember to look for two things in a writing sample:
- Did you learn anything from the writing?
- Was the writing easy to follow?
If the answer is yes to these questions, then you can safely say the writing is good.
You can also consider experience, education level, and relevant skills to help you choose a freelance writer.
4. Establish a Good Client-Writer Relationship
I’m assuming you may want to hire a freelance writer multiple times down the line.
If that’s true, it’s even more important to establish a healthy relationship with your freelance writer.
Most writers have a network of other writers that they know. If you earn a bad reputation as a client, you can kiss freelance work goodbye.
Even if you only intend on hiring a freelance writer one time, it’s common practice to follow some basic client etiquette.
Here’s what you should know:
- Always pay on time: the quickest way to get blacklisted as a client is to be shady about payments. Pay your freelance writers according to the agreement, and pay on time.
- Keep your communication clear: Avoid going back and forth on your expectations. This is why it’s important to establish your goals and priorities from the jump.
- Read the contract: Sites like Upwork usually provide a contract so you don’t have to worry about coming up with one. You should still read through it and make sure to follow its guidelines.
5. Managing Your Freelance Writers
Finding someone to take care of your writing is a huge relief, but it comes with a whole new set of responsibilities.
Once you have a freelance writer in your employ, you’ll have to do your fair share of management.
To make this simple, keep these tips in mind:
- Give consistent feedback: In other words, don’t flip flop on your expectations. Be consistent in what you like and don’t like. This makes it much easier for the writer to tailor their writing to your style.
- Avoid micromanaging: While it’s super important to have a detailed job description, you don’t want to go overboard. Avoid having a ton of unnecessary or rigid rules. Give enough guidance so that the writer can self-manage without you looking over their shoulder.
- Set appropriate deadlines: You need to have excellent time management skills to work with a freelance writer. Remember, you’re not the only client this writer has. They need to have a set of deadlines to work with so that they can effectively manage their calendar. For you, that means giving the writer a set of tasks with plenty of time to spare. Last-minute requests should be avoided.
Ad Template for Hiring a Freelance Copywriter
Headline: [Write an engaging and specific headline. Remember, this is what attracts the attention of the freelancers. Make sure your headline is clear and concise.]
Job Description: [The job description needs to be specific. In order to find the best person for the job, you should include each aspect of the project, what you expect from the results, and the types of skills that would be beneficial to have. The goal here is for applicants to self-screen, so only qualified applicants apply.]
Project Length: [Specify the length of the project. Let applicants know if this a one-time job, or if it will be ongoing for a specific amount of time. You should also give an estimate of how many hours you expect the project to take.]
Preferred Qualifications: [Use bullet points to highlight what you are seeking in an applicant]
- Example: Bachelor’s Degree in English, Journalism, or a related field
- Example: Prior freelance writing experience
- Example: Familiar with word processing software
- Example: Ability to self-manage
Application Instructions: [Provide any specific instructions you require here. For example, you may request access to a resume and portfolio. You may also request a job reference. To weed out applicants who do not read the ad, you can request a specific, short writing sample as a part of the application.]
Pricing and Rates: [Be clear about your rates. Let applicants know if you are paying hourly, per word, per assignment, or monthly. You will also want to specify if payments are made upon delivery, or if there will be a delay period.]