5 Questions to Ask a Freelance Writer

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So you’ve made the smart decision to hire a freelance writer to craft your website content, put together a marketing brochure, edit your e-newsletter, or create weekly blog posts for your business. You already know the best sites to find skilled, professional freelancers—or maybe you’ve already posted an online ad and received dozens of responses. But how can you determine which writer is the best one for your needs? Here are some of the most important “interview” questions to ask before giving a writer license to assemble your message:

  1. “Have you done this kind of writing before?” This question covers everything from the type of project—a blog post, article, press release, email, or what-have-you—to your niche or industry. If you’re hiring someone to prepare an e-book on Internet marketing, for instance, a professional wedding blogger probably won’t do your product much justice.
  2. “Can I see samples of your work?” Anyone can claim to have the writing chops to produce a masterpiece, but the only way to be certain of a provider’s skill is to review his or her portfolio, particularly samples in your genre.
  3. “What’s your availability?” Ask about the writer’s preferred communication style and timeliness of responses, and nail down a timetable for project completion.
  4. “What are your payment terms?” Does the provider charge a flat rate for the project, by the word, or an hourly rate? The majority of experienced writers will ask for an up-front deposit, followed by full payment upon delivery of the completed draft, but there are exceptions. Make sure you know in advance what you’re agreeing to pay and what that money will get you.
  5. “What’s your policy on revisions?” Some freelance writers will charge extra for time spent on edits, while others account for one or two rounds of revisions in their project quote.

Hiring a freelancer can certainly take the burden off you and your staff, but it’s critical to ask the right questions before kicking off a project. By doing due diligence, you’ll ensure that you outsource to someone with the skills, work ethic, and industry background to bring just the right words to your vision.

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