Content creation is the biggest challenge in content marketing. That’s why over 60% of companies outsource their content creation.

But outsourcing your content writing to freelancers doesn’t mean you’re off the hook entirely. You still need to find, vet, and hire the right writers.

While creating a team of writers may seem like a daunting task, we’re here to take the sting out it by breaking down the key questions and considerations at each step from start to finish.

Let’s jump in.

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Step 1: Understand Your Priorities

The first step in hiring a freelance writer is knowing what you’re looking for. You’ll get better results in the long run if you know your goals before hiring.

At step 1, answer the following questions:

  • What type of content do you need? Ongoing blog posts, an in-depth white paper, website copy, or something else?
  • How much input will you need to give? For more complex topics, you’ll need to communicate more with the writer to ensure they understand your goals.
  • Do you need to use more than one writer? Using several writers means you can tap into a variety of writing styles and maximize your content output.

At this stage, you’ll also want to decide between hiring in-house writers or freelance writers.

Step 2: Set Your Budget

Once you have an idea of the type, complexity, and quantity of content needed, you can start to budget out how much to spend on each piece of content. Creating a content calendar can be helpful at this step because you can easily see the cadence of your content and make adjustments as needed.

Here are some ballpark figures to get you started:

  • Social media posts: $5 to $25.
  • Blog posts or website pages: $25 to $250.
  • Video scripts: $100 to $500.
  • Ebooks or white papers: $250 to $1,000.

Of course, prices will vary depending on a few things:

  • Writer experience.
  • Content length and complexity.
  • The level of keyword optimization.
  • How soon you set the deadline.
  • Whether it’s a one-off project or a long-term deal with the writer.

You pay for quality.

While $1,000 for a single white paper may sound like a significant investment, a well-written white paper can help generate your business a considerable amount of revenue.

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Step 3: Finding Freelance Writers

The next step to building a content team is finding freelance writers. Some of the most effective places for finding writers include:

  • Job boards (Indeed or Craigslist)
  • Social media (LinkedIn)
  • Content writing service (Constant Content)

Job Boards

Job boards are nice because you can describe what you’re looking for and let writers come to you. But that said, there are some drawbacks to this tactic. For one, top-quality writers don’t typically use these sites. While that may not be an issue for more straightforward content, if you’re looking for an expert writer then you’re not likely to find them on Craigslist.

Pros:

  • You may find a local writer that you can meet in person.
  • Posting jobs is relatively cheap or free.

Cons:

  • You have to evaluate the authenticity and quality of writers yourself.
  • Freelancers often attach additional costs to the final project.
  • High-quality writers are hard to find.
  • You have to do your plagiarism checks.

Social Media

Another easy way to find writers is by searching LinkedIn or Facebook for the job title “Freelance Writer”. Looking for writers on social media is helpful because you can easily click through to their profile which typically also includes a link to a portfolio of some kind as well.

The downside with social media is that it is very time consuming and there isn’t any quality screening. Anyone can make their LinkedIn title “Freelance Writer,” so you’re going to have to sort through some junk to find the gems.

Pros:

  • You can search for individual writers who specialize in your industry.
  • If you find a quality writer, you can develop a close working relationship.

Cons:

  • You have to judge the quality of writers yourself.
  • An individual may only write for specific industries.
  • Prices and content quality vary significantly.
  • You have to do your plagiarism checks.
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Content Writing Service

In most cases, your best option for finding freelance writers is with a content writing service.

The advantage of these websites is that you have access to browse thousands of freelance writers in a single place. Rather than hunting around on social media or waiting for writers to respond to an Indeed posting, with sites like Constant Content you can filter down thousands of writers using categories and keywords.

Ideally, you should also be able to hire and manage the writer directly within the platform, so you’re not trying to manage a team through spreadsheets and email chains.

Pros:

  • You have access to a wide selection of dedicated freelance writers.
  • You can read writer bios and receive samples of work beforehand.
  • The platform performs plagiarism and editorial checks.
  • You can communicate with writers through the agency.
  • You can receive multiple submissions from different writers and choose the best.
  • Payments are securely handled by the service provider.

Cons:

  • You need to know what kind of writers you’re looking for.
  • You have to submit clear briefs to writers.
  • You may have to pay a little more for high-quality content.
  • It may take longer to learn how the platform works.

Step 4: Evaluating Multiple Writers to Pick the Best Ones

Before committing to working long term with a writer, it’s a good idea to test out a writer with a paid job. You can evaluate their writing and communication skills, and it will give you a good insight into whether you’re going to work well together.

While what exactly you’re looking for will depend somewhat on the type of content and your industry, there are some overarching writing skills you can use to evaluate multiple writers.

1. Industry Expertise

There was a time when generic filler content was enough to get by, but those days are long gone. Your audience has higher standards now and so do search engine algorithms. Today, a good content marketing strategy means you’ll have to demonstrate thought leadership and expertise in your niche to get noticed. To do this, you’ll ideally want to find a writer with subject matter expertise in your industry.

It’s worth noting that not all industries require the same level of expertise. For example, companies in broad, well-known industries may want to hire a writer with a little less industry knowledge but more engaging writing.

2. Writing Experience

Let’s face it: the more a person does something, the better they get. Writing is no exception, so it’s important to look for a writer with proven experience. Checking out a few writing samples is a great way to get a feel for a writer’s skill level and attention to detail. Look at their grammar and word choice and consider the overall flow and readability.

You also want to check to see if the writer has experience with specific types of content you’d like them to write; sometimes a writer who can craft amazing blog posts may not have the same knack for writing landing pages.

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3. Research Skills

As there is a lot of misinformation out there, you need a writer that can distinguish between strong sources and less-than-reputable ones. Your content has a big impact on your business’s credibility and reputation, so you want to make sure that it’s always well-researched and accurate. Excellent research skills are critical in a content writer – in addition to cutting through the clutter to find reliable resources, they also need to choose the facts and figures that are most relevant to the topic.

4. Style and Adaptability

From writing style to shifting priorities, good writers need to be adaptable and easy to work with. For writing style, they need to be able to flex to fit your brand’s identity and fit the tone with a piece’s intended purpose. They also need to be willing and able to adapt to your team’s content generation process so you can trust that the content you receive is on time and of high quality.

Step 5: Managing Freelance Writers

Managing a team of writers doesn’t have to be all that complicated. Simply by communicating effectively and providing constructive feedback, you can avoid the majority of headache and hiccups that most content teams experience.

Communicate Clearly

The best way to build a robust writer-client relationship is through clear communication and respecting the writer’s needs. Key things to communicate include:

  • An outline of your business.
  • The goal of the project.
  • Your target audience.
  • The style and tone of writing required.
  • The structure and any formatting preferences.
  • Source material that needs to read beforehand or referenced in the content.
  • Content deadlines.
  • How you want to communicate with the writer.

Provide Feedback

It often requires some back and forth to achieve the best results, so don’t be afraid to ask for changes if a writer hasn’t followed your brief. And give the writer positive and constructive feedback; it will improve your working relationship and the quality of future content.

The Bottom Line

Between finding, vetting, and hiring freelance writers, building a content team can be daunting at first. But even if you have to test out a few writers before you find a good fit, making a solid team is well worth the effort.

Constant Content is a content creation service that specializes in creating high-quality, unique content for businesses. Our easy-to-use, collaborative platform and managed enterprise services allow us to help businesses of any size to scale and improve their content creation. Constant Content connects you with thousands of professional writers able to create articles, ebooks, product descriptions, and other assets to tell your brand story, drive SEO and win sales.