Fridays with Vicky 158
Last week I spent some time on my new case study site, the 5-hour website doing mostly keyword research and looking for freelance writers.
This is week 2 of this case study site, so it’s brand new.
The purpose of the case study is to walk you through the start-up phase, sharing some tips and ideas, how I set things up and down the road, I will be sharing traffic numbers, income, expenses and more detailed stats.
This site will be based on outsourced content, ranking naturally in the search engines. This means that there are two main factors that will be very important…
- Keyword research
- Finding great freelance writers
This week I spent some time doing keyword research. I also put up a job at Upwork looking for writers. I get a lot of questions about outsourcing and how to find good freelance writers so this post will be focusing on that.
Outsourcing – How to Find Freelance Writers
How do you find freelance writers? Where do you find them? What should a freelance writer job listing look like? How do you find cheap freelance writers? How do you find good quality writers?
These are questions that I often get, both here on my site and over at Wealthy Affiliate an online community for entrepreneurs that I spend a lot of time at.
Let’s answer these questions and take a closer look at, how to find good cheap freelance writers.
Where to Find Freelance Writers
iWriter, Fiverr and UpWork former oDesk are three places that I’ve used to hire freelance writers. Today I hire all my writers from UpWork. I will not go into great details to why I’m no longer using iWriter and Fiverr let’s just say that the quality was not there.
If you are interested in my Fiverr experience I wrote a post back in 2015, Why I will not use Fiverr as my writing service again.
At UpWork you can hire people from around the world to do pretty much anything and everything for your online business. Design work, content creation, keyword research, virtual assistants, customer service, marketing experts…
UpWork offers the platform to connect professional freelancers with businesses.
This has been my to-go-to place for freelance writers for years now.
But how do you find these great freelance writers?
How to Find Freelance Writers – What to Include in a Freelance Job Description
The first thing in the process of finding a good freelance writer is the job description. The more detailed you are the better chances of getting the right writer applying for the job.
Try to give as much information possible about the writing job and be as specific if you can.
Here are a few things that I include in my job descriptions:
- The niche that I need articles for.
- What type of articles I need, informational, review style…
- How many words I need per article.
- How many weekly articles I need.
- What I’m looking for as far as the content goes, engaging, friendly tone, informative, slightly keyword optimized…
- What I’m looking for in the writer, perfect English, original error-free content, be able to keep deadlines…
- Content has to be written by the hired writer (you’ll be surprised how often I’ve had writers outsource on their end)
- End the job description with a clear description of what to do. If you are interested in this job… 1. send a sample of your health-related writing, 2. add the sum of 3+2 in the header and 3. make an offer for the whole project 3 weekly articles. This will let you know if they read the full job description and if they follow instructions.
How to Pick Out the Great Writers of the Mass
You will most likely receive a lot of applicants for your job. It is not unusual to get 20+ people applying for a writing job. How do you pick out the right one?
- Read through their profile, does the writer have the right background for the job?
- Read previous reviews, from the writer’s work history.
- Read through their sample article if they submitted one.
In the first screening, I archive writers with poor English, that has no experience in the field that I’m looking for and freelance writers that are way off when it comes to price.
If I quote $25 for a job and they leave a bid of $250, we are too far apart to negotiate. Now if I quote $25 and they leave a bid for $50 we might be able to agree on something down the road.
Next, is to contact the candidates that seem like a good fit. When I contact them, I tell them more about the job, I mention the site they will be working with.
I ask how they could contribute to the site, what topics they feel they have great knowledge about that they would want to write about. I also ask for a specific article sample. If the job is for a health-related site, I want a health-related article if that has not been submitted already.
At this point I want to make sure that their English is great, you will find out in the email or chat conversation if it is.
I also want to make sure that the profile aligns with the writer. In most cases they do, but earlier this week I had a writer with a fabulous profile, to the point where I was like
“if you are a transplant surgeon, why would you write an article for $10 for my health-related site…”
It sounded too good to be true… and it was I found out after reading the samples… do your research…
At this point, you might have a couple of writers left that you feel would be a good fit for the job. Sometimes none of the applicants are right for the job, and that’s ok too. Don’t hire somebody just because… if it’s not the right fit, move on and put up a new job search.
Sometimes it actually takes a little digging, don’t settle for ok writers you want great writers!
If you do have a couple of writers that sounds like a good fit, have them do a test job. The only true way to know if the writer is right for the job is to have them write for you. See if they deliver what you are looking for after the description you give them.
Let them know that it’s a paid test job and if you work well together and if the content is what you want, that you will be continuing the job.
Last week I hired 5 new writers and gave them all a test job. 2 writers for this 5-hour case study site and 3 for my health-related site.
The one writer already missed the deadline. I’m flexible but if there is no communication and you know it’s a test job… well, there will be no more work for her.
I’m still waiting to receive the articles from the other four writers. If they all create great content, super, then I will hire all of them on a weekly basis. But from previous experience, I would guess that one or two of them will continue working with me.
Update – one of the writers doing reviews, had poor research and inaccurate information. I did not hire him long term.
What Instructions to Give Your Freelance Writer
When you give your writer the instructions for the first articles, again, be as specific as you can. Until they know what you want and expect in the article be very detailed. Don’t just send them a keyword and expect them to know what you want.
In the beginning, working with my writer I’m very detailed. I will even give them the subtitles of the article. I know what I want for my site, I know what content converts and most writers will be happy to have detailed guidelines to work with.
A few things I always include in the first article/s:
- Length of the post, 1000+ words for example.
- A reminder of what I want from the writer, friendly tone, engaging…
- Type of article, review style for example.
- Keyword and where I want that keyword included… usually title, first and last paragraph.
- What to include in the article, subtitles. Review style article might include, intro, benefits, features, pros, and cons.
- If it’s a review article I make sure my writers know to make sure they stay with the facts, be honest and true, no selling but rather outline the pros and cons.
How to Double Check That the Content Is Good
When I get the article I double check a few things.
- I make sure that the writing style fits in with the site and what I’m looking for.
- I make sure that the article is well written.
- I make sure the writer uses correct grammar and spelling, using a grammar checker.
- I make sure it’s engaging and everything I asked for.
- I make sure the word count is there.
- I make sure it’s not duplicate content, using a duplicate checker.
If the writer delivers great content, then we’ll continue working together on a weekly basis. I have writers that have been with me for a couple of years. We both know exactly what to expect and communication is great.
When you find a good writer hold on to them and treat them well!! Listen to what they need and how they can contribute. They might have some interesting ideas that could benefit your site.
There are great writers out there, sometimes you just have to do some digging to find the golden nuggets.
I’ve also had to fire some writers after working with them for some time…
6 Things That Made Me Fire Writers
- Content did not live up to the agreed terms, it was just not well written.
- The content wasn’t written by the hired writer, they outsourced on their end.
- Deadlines were not kept in combination with lack of communication.
- The writer wrote a longer piece of content, wanting me to pay more than double the agreed amount… I’m all for negotiating IF it’s done BEFORE the content is written and sent to me. Don’t come after the fact and demand a different payment.
- Duplicate copied content.
- Affiliate links included in the content.
You’ll be surprised how creative some are lol.
To sum things up…
5 Things That Helps Me Find Good Writers… and Keep Them
Here are 5 quick tips to think of when working with freelance writers.
- Be clear and specific – I have a very clear description of what I want in my freelance writing. The more details the better chance of finding a writer that will fit your needs.
- Test job – I give the writers that sound good after my first screening and questions a test job and only hire writers long term that write great content, writers that I work well with.
- Have an ongoing agreement – I hire long term, 3 – 5 articles weekly, on an ongoing basis. When you find a good writer hold on to them.
- Open communication – as long as my hired freelancer communicates with me I’m very flexible with deadlines and other things coming up. Life happens, sometimes the job cannot be done with the set deadline, that is totally fine as long as I get the heads up and my freelancer communicates with me.
- Bonuses – are appreciated. I have been lucky to find some great writers for a great price. That allows me to ones in a while give out a little extra pay in the form of bonuses.
There we have it, how to find good freelance writers and how to keep them. I would love to hear your thoughts on freelance writers. Do you use them? Where do you hire them? How do you find great writers? Feel free to share in the comment section below..
In the beginning of this post, I mentioned the importance of keyword research. If you need help getting started with keyword research, I have a post about that,
Keyword research for content marketing. This post describes keywords in detail, I go through:
- Why you should use keywords
- How to use keywords for content marketing
- Where to find ideas for keywords
- Keyword research using Jaaxy my preferred keyword tool
- How to use the keywords in your content
- How to track your content and keywords
The post is pretty detailed and you can read it here:
Time Spent this Week: 5 Hours
Total Hours Spent: 13 Hours
Main tasks this week:
- Keyword research
- Posted job on Upwork, looking for writers
- I connected google analytics to the site
- I submitted my first post a “top 5” sample post.
Great Related Reads:
Good luck hiring your writer, keep me updated of how things goes,