If your company is already looking for freelance content-providers for your corporate blog, you probably already know where to look. Freelance-and-consultant websites like oDesk and Guru are full of available writers from all over the world who are looking for work. But as you probably know, hiring the best at a reasonable price can be difficult. Here are some tips.
- Quality Versus Price. Everyone dreams of finding an online-content writer who is completely fluent in Western English, understands the competitive landscape and works for a cheap price. Unfortunately, this is a rarity — and you need to make this initial decision: if your budget only allows for less than $30 or even $20 an hour for blog writers, then you or other staff will definitely need to spend more time editing the content — and probably communicating the business climate and job itself as well — so that it appears to have been written by a well versed, skilled native American, Brit, Canadian, and so on. If you want a professional writer who was born-and-raised in a Western country and needs little or no editing, you will likely need to pay between $30 and $50 an hour. If you have a small budget but lots of time, try to focus on foreign writers initially or writers that don’t have an extensive portfolio. If you have a larger budget and less time, look for native Westerners. (If you have a low budget and no time — well, good luck!)
- Get Applications, Portfolios, and Recommendations. Once you know which writers you will consider, start looking and receiving inquiries. After you cut the resumes down to a half-dozen or so, ask for writing samples and portfolios (if they were not included with the application). Specifically request any writings that pertain to the subject matter on which your corporate blog will focus. Get a wide variety of types of content — sales pitches, news updates, company stories, lighthearted material, and so on. After you have narrowed the possibilities further, check their references (or oDesk and Guru feedback ratings). Writers will sometimes give portfolios of work that needed to be highly edited before it was published, so be sure to ask the reference how much editing the writer required.
- Set the Work Process. After you have good writers at a comfortable price, the remaining task is to direct them: How often will they write? How long are the posts? How many posts per week? On what range of subjects? To whom will they send the posts? Will they be published directly without going through a review? How often will evaluations occur? How often will you need to coordinate over the phone, Skype, or instant messaging?