Hiring Freelance Writers: Five Common Mistakes Companies Should Avoid

If you’re serious about content marketing, you’ve likely considered hiring freelance writers to help you accelerate your marketing success. According to a 2020 survey, marketing is the most popular profession for freelancers, with a whopping 32.1% of the overall figure.

If your company has only worked with in-house content creators before, you might worry that a freelance writer may not deliver high-quality content. But the truth is, freelance writers can be as experienced and insightful as any in-house writers.

While there are several reasons to hire freelance writers, you may discover challenges that ruin the onboarding process. If you don’t make your partnership transparent from the beginning, you may not get the best from your relationship.

In this post, we’ll discuss the common mistakes companies should avoid when hiring freelance writers for the first time. Let’s get started:

Hiring Freelancers with Unbelievably lower Hire Rates

Many companies hiring their first freelance writer might be tempted to go in search of cheap writers. There’s a difference between cost-effective and cheap. There are many cost-effective writers out there who can create incredible work for you. Unfortunately, most of them are not hanging out on cheap content mills.

Creating original, insightful, and engaging content requires adequate research, and that’s why content writers charge accordingly. If you find a freelancer who is willing to charge half the price of everyone else, please run!

The saying “you get what you pay for” also applies in the freelance writing industry. If you want to hire a low-rate freelancer, be prepared to spend more time reworking what they’ve written, if not rejecting it altogether.

Of course, I don’t mean you surpass your budget to hire a subject matter expert, but you must ensure you find a professional writer who is a right fit for your needs and has all the skills to produce the quality work you want, then see if their rates fit your budget.

Not Compiling a Comprehensive Contract

We’re connecting with this person for a one-time project. Why should we need a contract? That’s where most companies go wrong.

A contract is more important when you’re working with a freelancer for a one-time project than it is even for in-house writers. While an in-house writer may stick with you for some time, a freelance writer has no obligation to your work.

If you hire a freelance writer without a contract, you’re risking poor quality work, late submissions, payment issues, and cancellations without notice. Once you identify a prospective freelancer for hire, propose your work contract before proceeding to the next step.

The contract should be comprehensive and make sure you understand everything in it. The freelancer might ask to negotiate certain terms, such as when to invoice, how soon to collect a payment, or who to report to. Just make sure all the answers come from a direct contact in the company to avoid future misunderstandings.

Here are the key things a good freelance writer contract should include:

  • Details about the services the writer will provide
  • Deadline requirements and the consequences the writer will face if they don’t deliver on time (if any)
  • Payment policy, including details about advance payment if there’s any
  • Contact details for the writer to reach out if they need any clarifications while working on your project
  • Style and format of your content
  • Clauses about the originality of the content
  • The mode of payment

Make sure the writer reads and signs the contract before starting the project. Remember, you don’t know the person you’re working with, so this official contract will build trust between you and your writer.

Not Defining Responsibilities Clearly

Your freelancer doesn’t know your content expectations, so it’s important to give them clear guidelines and specifications. Define the scope of work and responsibilities to avoid frustrations when you get your work.

Below are some of the responsibilities to define beforehand to make your writer’s work easier:

  • Word count
  • The number of revisions to get
  • Keyword search and SEO
  • Infographic details (if any)

You can provide your writer with samples of content you’ve liked published on other companies’ sites. If you’re not sure what to expect from the writer, let them know in advance so you can plan together as a team.

Not Educating Your Writers on Your Product or Service

While experienced writers have strong research skills and it’s not your job to research for them, it’s in your best interest to provide your writers with all the information they need.

The writer’s work will help to market your brand. Therefore, if you don’t educate them on your products and services, they may not create amazing content for you.

Consider providing potential resources such as testimonials, whitepapers, case studies, and customer success stories, even if the writer doesn’t require them. You never know these resources might be the way to get their creative juices flowing.

Poor Communication

This is the worst mistake you can make when searching for a freelancer for hire. Don’t go mute on the writer after starting the project.

Make sure there’s a direct point of contact at your company to respond to them on time. Freelancers may ask a couple of questions, especially when they’re getting started. Thus, effective communication is vital.

Have a good feedback process. For instance, if you discontinue a relationship without giving feedback, you’ll have to start the process of hiring a writer over again.

It is also the best practice to keep on reaching out to the writer to find out about the progress of the work and if they need any support. By doing so, you keep them motivated and ensure there are no roadblocks in your writing project.

Building a long-term professional relationship is a lengthy process. So, give your writer genuine feedback they can use to improve and meet your expectations.

Conclusion

That concludes the list of the most common mistakes to avoid when hiring a freelance writer. The best advice: Take the time to do the hiring process diligently and pay attention to every detail. Once you find the right freelance writer, make sure to do regular check-ins and offer consistent feedback to build a lasting working relationship.

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