When Hiring Freelance Blog Content Writers, Check for Red Flags

Hiring the right person for any job is a challenge, as any business owner or professional practitioner will readily admit. Hiring a quality freelance writer to help expand your online marketing – well that can be a challenge and a half. That’s why Derek Singleton, a managing editor at SoftwareAdvice, came up with a checklist marketers can use to “make sure they hire the right candidate the first time around.”

As owner of content marketing company Say It For You, I was very interested to measure my own standards for writers against Singleton’s list. I learned that Software Advice is in the matchmaking business, helping people find the right software for their organization. I liked the fact that Singleton’s article does something I recommend to blog content writers – offer valuable information that may or may not be directly related to the product or service you’re marketing.

“Since freelancers are not actually a part of the day to day processes at your company,” Singleton explains, “it’s important to really get to know them upfront – specifically their writing experience and how well (and often) they communicate.  Red flags in these areas can signal the candidate may not be a good fit down the line.”

The Software Advice Cheat Sheet for Hiring Freelance Writers names four key qualities:

  • Able to write authoritatively
  • Adaptable
  • Internet-savvy
  • Familiar with business and marketing concepts

“Red flags” would tell you not to hire those writers who:

  • Use poor grammar in emails
  • Aren’t responsive
  • Present content that isn’t accurate or original

While I’d offer a heartfelt “Amen!” to every one of the points Singleton makes, I was particularly impressed with the question he poses to the business owners when they’re hiring freelancers: “Are you doing your part?” Writers can’t succeed, he explains, “unless you’ve clearly communicated the project requirements and created a feedback loop”.

The way I think of business owners and practitioners and their blog content writing is this:  Blogging bestows a “training benefit”.  When you blog, you’re verbalizing the positive aspects of your business or practice, putting your recent accomplishments into words, and reviewing the benefits of your own products and services.

So, are those “training benefits” lost to business owners or professionals who hire freelance blog content writers to be their “voice”? Really, the answer is “no”, at least not if things are done right, with your blogger becoming a true part of your marketing team. The very process of choosing themes, sharing strategies, and planning for content creation involves both the owner and the writer, creating a 2 + 2 =5 synergy effect.

Bottom line message from Say It For You to prospective clients is this: Sure, we can provide top-notch content writers with all the Key Qualities and none of the Red Flags. But please understand: out-sourcing your business blog is not a wake-me-up-when-it’s-over deal. Hiring right is just the beginning of the process – working together with your freelancer is what’s going to make the difference.

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