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Five Things You Need to Know Before Hiring a Writer

December 31st, 2013 by

writers for hireWriters for hire make content marketing much simpler and easier, but how can you make sure you’re getting a quality writer for your content? With so many writers out there all claiming to be professional and talented, how can you determine who is actually good and who is pulling your leg? Following are a few key tips to learn in writer interviews and references to determine if a writer is good for you:

Who Are They Writing About and For?

Writers for hire need to know you and your subject. Any information that you feel is vital and important to pass on to your audience must be addressed, including studies you want included as references, hyperlinks to your website or products or similar items.

Does the writer you’re interviewing have experience writing about your needs? Not all writers are qualified to write about your topics. Do you have a specialized topic that needs to be discussed? Can the writer present information to the audience that is both entertaining and insightful in your industry? Read through some of the writers past work to figure out if they’re writing for your audience. 

Voice of the Work

In addition to the audience, the tone and voice that the work takes should also be considered. Do you want a familiar first-person confession, a conversational second-person voice or a professional third-person expert? There are places for all of these types of voices, depending on your preference and the purpose of the project.

Make these preferences explicit in instructions for your writers, but also see if they can produce work in the voice and tone you like. Some writers can produce stellar work in the second person, but lack the skill to write in the first or third person.

Deadlines

Set hard deadlines on all projects. If you need a simple blog post that doesn’t require research request it back in 2-3 days. If you need something complicated set the deadline for a week. No matter how long you set makes sure you ask their references about the writer’s timeliness. Great writing is useless if you don’t get it on time. Also, make sure to keep an open dialogue with the writer about deadlines, if they don’t think they can meet a deadline they should be comfortable notifying you and explain why. That way you can decide if you can extend the deadline or give the assignment to a different writer.

Length

Determine the length of your required posts. If you need 300-500 word blog posts then request that length for your writers. Make sure you have a writer that has experience writing material of that length. You don’t want a writer who will give you 1,000 words for a 500 word post and conversely you don’t want a writer producing 250 words for a 500 word post. Ask their references about a writers ability to follow directions concerning length and writing quality.

Formatting

Formatting is something we often don’t consider until a piece is completed, but has an important role to play depending on your purpose. Website content is often formatted using subheadings and bullet points to keep the reader engaged and to make the content easier to scan. Make sure your writer knows your formatting requests and is able to follow them perfectly.

You could hire a new writer without knowing these things, but that could result in a writer that is ill-equipped to produce content you need, a writer that is unaware of what you’re looking for in your work, or a writer that produces content that doesn’t follow your instructions. Be explicit in your instructions for writers for hire and make sure your writers can follow instructions.

Cathleen V is a freelance writer available on WriterAccess, a marketplace where clients and expert writers connect for assignments.

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