Writing a business blog is important for many reasons. For one, it helps with SEO and increasing your rank on search engines. For another, it helps to position you as an expert in your industry. But if you don’t have the time to write for your blog, or writing simply isn’t one of your skills, then it’s time to recruit a freelance writer as a part of your content creation team. However, you don’t want to waste money by hiring a writer that doesn’t produce good content for your blog. Here are a few questions to ask while recruiting a writer.
1. Can you show me some examples of your work?
The most important thing about hiring a new writer is that they have examples of quality writing. They don’t necessarily need to have written for your industry before. As long as you can see that they are a good writer, they can do the research for any topic you give them.
2. What industries have you written for?
Although any writers you hire don’t always need experience in your industry, it could still be helpful to know they’ve got some knowledge about what they’re writing about.
3. How do you work?
This is a good question to ask to ensure you’re hiring a professional. Someone who doesn’t actually write for a living might not have as smooth of a process as a professional. This also helps you to understand what it takes to write an article and know what goes into the work before the writer meets his deadline.
4. How do you charge?
Some writers charge per word, others charge per hour, and a few others will even charge for the scope of the project. Ask the writer you’re considering hiring how they charge. If they do charge per hour or by the scope of the project, make sure that you find out exactly what the project and their work entails. How much are you spending on research, how much for the length of your article, for photos and SEO optimization.
5. What is your turnaround time?
Many freelancers work with several publications at once so that they have a steadily revolving workflow. Ask the writer where you would fit in and how long it would take them to write each article you request.
6. How many revisions are included?
When you purchase an article, especially the first couple of times, it’s comforting to know that you’re receiving a first draft and can make revisions if needed without having to pay more for them. After you’ve worked with them awhile and they understand your taste, it’s likely that you’ll need to request more drafts less and less. But it’s important to know upfront if this is included or will be an additional cost.
7. What information do you need from me?
Your writer will, of course, need some information from you to get started. At the very least, they’ll need your business website, industry, and blog topic. However they’ll likely want to set up a call to learn more about your content needs and might have a questionnaire for you to fill out with more information. Depending on how in-depth the content needs to be, you may need to offer up a good bit of industry knowledge or legwork. Remember that this is a two-way street. Although you’re paying the writer to handle your blog content, it’s still your business and they need to be able to contact you to ensure they’re on the right track.
8. Do you ghostwrite?
Many writers want to keep their name on their articles for exposure, but some will ghostwrite articles for you (sometimes at an extra charge). If you’d prefer not to have someone else’s name on your content, then make sure this is an issue that you bring up well ahead of time.
9. How do you prefer to be paid?
Payment should absolutely be discussed ahead of time. Some writers like to be paid via PayPal while others prefer check. Some will allow 30 days to remit payment while others will wait 60. Depending on the scope of the project, some may request a deposit upfront. Ensure that you have had this discussion before hiring a writer so that you are both on the same page.
10. Who owns the content?
This is another important topic to bring up with your writer. Any content that is on your website and that you paid for should be owned by you, even if you give the writer a byline. Sometimes freelancers will still include the work they’ve written for you in their portfolio. If you are uncomfortable with this, make sure you let them know ahead of time.
Hiring a writer helps to take a lot of work off of you, but you need to make sure that you do enough research and ask enough questions that you and your writer(s) don’t have issues in the future.