Hiring a freelance copywriter can be a smart investment!
Hiring a good freelance copywriter can be a smart investment that will save your time, improve your site’s readability and boost organic search engine rankings. In this post I’ll show you how to find a good freelancer writer online, then manage your working relationship to ensure a pain-free, prosperous outcome for both parties.
First steps – setting your budget
Website content writers are actually pretty easy to find. Their rates are as diverse as their abilities, ranging from a few dollars per item, up to … well, how much can you afford to spend? As with most B2B services, the quality of the work that you can expect to receive is directly proportional to your cash investment.
A low budget will give you access to online copywriters on sites like Fiverr, Copify and Freelancer.com. There are good freelance writers working on these sites – but expect to spend a lot of time trying to find them. There are a whole lot of copywriters here offering low-quality content for a few dollars.
In the mid-budget range you’ll find independent writers with their own websites, along with a broad range of freelancers working sites like PeoplePerHour and Elance. Again, standards vary alarmingly, so it can be quite time-consuming to check each writer’s profile to ensure that you get the biggest bang for your bucks.
Top of the range are the larger agencies like StickyContent and BJL that cover everything, from product descriptions to full marketing strategies. We’re really looking at ‘corporate’ budgets here – these guys have a lot of overheads to take care of.
Choosing your freelance writer
With a rough idea of your budget and expectations, it’s time to go fishing for your freelancer! As with most purchases, customer feedback is a good place to start.
Client feedback is a standard feature on all of the freelancing websites, but it’s worth noting that the star ratings are sometimes a little generous. It’s down to basic psychology – nobody wants to downplay a freelancer’s efforts – unless they were really bad!
Most of the independent freelancers will have customer feedback on their websites. Just make sure that there’s lots of it, and that it’s fairly recent.
With the client feedback box ticked it’s time to check your potential writer’s portfolio. While a good freelancer should be able to adapt their style and tone to meet your needs, you really need a writer with some natural ability and authority. No portfolio? Just move on to the next candidate. There’s no excuse for not having an impressive portfolio to ‘wow’ potential clients!
Now it’s down to the fee … as we saw earlier, it’s basically a case of choosing the best freelancer that you can afford within the range of your budget. It’s quite unusual for independent freelancers to quote rates on their websites. With so many variables to consider, and the keen competition within the freelancing market, this is no big surprise. Before providing a quote, most professional freelancers will need to see some kind of project brief or scope of the work involved.
Your freelancer’s brief
Every successful project starts with an excellent brief, so it’s worth taking a little time to prepare a detailed package of instructions for your freelancer. As a minimum, it should explain what you need written, the expected length, tone and your target audience.
It’s also essential to be specific about your timescale. Most successful freelancers will have a busy schedule, so a clear deadline sidesteps a lot of potential problems.
If you’re commissioning a journalistic style piece with a detailed back story, it may involve extensive research, telephone or Skype interviews. This will increase your freelancer’s fee. For sales copy, your freelancer may ask for JPG’s and specifications of the products. Keep the fees low by providing as much up-front information as possible. Generally, the more information that you can provide, the sharper and more focused the article will be.
By providing a first-class brief you’ve proved your professionalism to your freelancer. It’s clear that you’re going to be a good client to work with, and that there may even be a possibility of more work in the future.
Getting more from your freelance copywriter
Once you get the quote it’s a great time to negotiate a few little extras. How about some free SEO keyword research? If your freelancer is promising to write an SEO friendly article or blog post then it must be based on some kind of research?
If you’re paying for product descriptions, how about getting SEO optimized titles and 5 ‘Feature’ bullet points thrown-in for the fee.
Some free promotion is always useful too – ask your freelancer to publicize the piece through their social media connections, after it’s published!
Keep your freelancer
Once you’ve found a good freelance copywriter it pays to keep in touch. Your freelancer will appreciate advance notice of your up-coming writing projects and may even offer a little discount to win the gig!