Do an Internet search on “hiring a freelance writer” or anything similar, and you will find millions of links to job boards, freelance writer sites, message boards and all sorts of other trails to lead you to various sources. You will find freelance writers, no doubt about that, but what kind of writer are they? Are they fluent in English (American English is very different than British English), do they do the work themselves or outsource it? Do they charge per piece or per word? What is their turnaround time? How do they handle revisions?
These are things you may not have considered, other than price.
Most people and companies that hire freelance writers have learned these lessons the hard way. So, in an effort to save you some money, as well as time, I am going to give you some pointers!
* When you contact a freelance writer for the first time, or post a project on a job board, give the details of what you are looking for! One writer may be terrific at SEO and keyword content, but if you want more of an opinion or humor piece this writer may not be ideal for you! If you give the details (topic, keywords, length) upfront, the writer will be able to assess your needs and quote you a price accordingly. I turn down projects on a regular basis – not because I like turning down money, but rather because if it is a topic totally foreign to me, or one I think will be better written by a specialist in that area, I will tell you. I would rather refer you to another writer and be remembered as the writer who was professional and you want to come back to do a different project with in the future, then take the project and do a horrible job, earn a lousy reputation and have a dissatisfied customer!
* How do you intend to pay your freelance writer? I, along with most freelancers, prefer Paypal. Many established, reputable writers will require a deposit. Don’t let this scare you. My deposit has been as low as $5 and as high as $2000. I am most likely to charge a deposit if I have not worked with you in the past, if it is a large project or if you failed to pay me for a previous job (in which case the total amount is due upfront). If you are a company which pays only by check, make sure you give the company contact information to the writer you choose to hire.
* Should you pay by the word or by the piece? It depends on the individual writer. I do both, depending on the client and my mood. Most of my work though, is by the word – and I charge between 10 cents and 30 cents per word. This is not uncommon for a quality freelance writer who is experienced, educated and takes pride in their work. If you have a budget, give a word limit (which you should anyways, otherwise you’ll either end up with a thesis or a five sentence article!)
* Why should you pay $50 for an article, when you can buy one for $1.50? Once you have purchased a $1.50 article, you will have your answer. Quite often, super low rates are a sign of overseas outsourcing (meaning your article will sound as though its been written by a foreigner and the grammar, while perhaps technically correct, feels “weird”) or it is a new freelance writer who has no clue what they are doing. I can say that, because I’ve been there. You want a writer who knows what they are doing, knows how to provide superior customer service and meet a deadline and knows how to write clearly.
* Ask about revisions! Many writers charge a fee for any revisions you request. I do not, unless you want a totally new piece written. But if the changes you want made are relatively simple, and are not going to take all day, they are included in my price.
* RIGHTS! Unless you SPECIFICALLY state in a contract that you as the buyer retain all copyright to the work, the writer is allowed to sell the work to someone else. If this is important to you, make sure you specify rights privileges in your contract!
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