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How to Hire a Freelance Marketing Writer

Freelance marketing writers provide all the benefits of a content strategy without the costs of hiring permanent staff. This article will explain where to find strong writers and how to verify they’re appropriate for your business.

What Freelance Marketing Writers Do

Freelance marketers are the driving power of communicating your USP. They know how to write about your product in a way that boosts comprehension and drives sales. These writers are typically professionals on SEO writing, keyword research, and SERP marketing.

Marketing writers focus on deriving action from their writing. They typically have a different objective and writing style than blog writers, and use research and content strategy to plan their pieces. While blog writers are usually skilled in one type of copy, marketing writers have experience writing for many mediums (emails, tutorials, case studies, etc).

Freelance marketing writers can be important assets for businesses of all sizes. We’re going to take a closer look at working with a freelance marketing writer, including:

  • Their advantages and disadvantages
  • Steps for hiring a freelance marketing writer
  • Where to find writers when you need them
  • How to be sure they’ll be the right fit

Freelance Or In-House Marketing Writers?

Choosing between in-house or freelance is a critical decision for your company. It’s important to understand the positives and negatives of these different styles before you make a final decision.

Two main reasons that businesses work with freelance writers are cost-effectiveness and flexibility. Marketing writers, usually sourced on a contractual or temporary basis, produce content with no strings attached. These writers do not need the additional benefits, training time, or supplies that permanent staff require.

Keep in mind that contractual arrangements also come with some negatives. Freelance writers can opt to stop at any time, leaving you stranded. They might also miss important deadlines or communications due to illnesses, emergencies, or taking on too much work. All of these can complicate your timelines and schedule, slowing the release of your marketing writing.

Advantages Of A Freelance Writer

  • Control the amount of work and money given
  • Avoid costly in-house training or benefits
  • Terminate the relationship at any time

Disadvantages Of A Freelance Writer

  • You don’t control the freelancer’s other clients
  • Freelancers are not always available during your business hours
  • Missed deadlines may set your content schedule back

In contrast to freelancers, a staff marketing writer may be a good option for businesses requiring large output. In-house writers dedicate full eight-hour days to just your company (and no one else’s). Since their focus lies on just one company, they are able to create higher quality content from a better understanding of your business.

In-house writers may not always be the best option for you, particularly as it is by far the most expensive route to take. If you don’t need to produce a large amount of content, it can be difficult to justify a full-time salary, benefits package, and training program. If you choose to use existing staff instead, you may spread your teams thin. Existing staff members may not have experience writing for SEO, and struggle as a result.

Advantages Of An In-House Marketing Writer

  • Available during business hours
  • Familiar with your business/product
  • Only works with your company

Disadvantages Of An In-House Marketing Writer

  • Requires a benefits package
  • Difficult to justify costs for output
  • Not always possible to use existing staff

Steps For Hiring A Freelance Marketing Writer

If hiring a freelance marketing writer is the best decision for you, you’ll need to onboard them with as little friction as possible. Follow these five steps:

1. Outline Duties

Define what you need from your writers. Will they have set hours that are dedicated to you each month? What are their deliverables? Have this written up and be sure to note it on any job listings. The more information you provide, the better chance you’ll have of finding a good fit.

2. Be Specific

Your marketing writers aren’t soothsayers: they can’t read your mind. Be clear about what you want them to write, and the types of content they will be delivering. Do you need emails, sales pages, blogs, or marketing materials? Maybe it’s a combination of all four. Outline these well.

3. Knowledge Level

Decide how much knowledge your freelance writer needs to have about your business processes or tools. Do they need specific technical or soft skills? Having a good feel for required knowledge levels will considerably narrow your writer search.

4. Experience Level

Understand how involved your work needs to be. Do your freelancers need to be experienced, or could they pass at a junior level? Again, this is something to include in your job postings.

5. Have A Clear Budget

Nobody likes surprises. Be upfront about how much you’re willing to pay your freelance talent, and be sure to list it in your job posting as well. This protects you from finding a great candidate that ends up balking at your payment offers.

6. The Hiring Rubric

Knowing exactly how, why, and what you need from freelance marketing writers will speed up the hiring process. Consider creating a freelance hiring rubric that lists performance requirements, skills, and results in a clear format. The Draft.dev team uses hiring rubrics to ensure our talent always contributes high-quality content.

Where To Find A Writer

Knowing where to look for your freelance marketing writer is a critical part of the sourcing process. Unfortunately, it may also be one of the hardest.

Start by checking your immediate network first. Ask friends, colleagues, or associates for direct applications and referrals. Have they worked with writers in the past? Where did they search?

If you’re looking for marketing writers with specific niche experience, you’ll want to search the places and platforms where they usually find work. Remember: the more specific your industry is, the harder it will be to find corresponding writers.

Here are some platforms for finding marketing writers:

  • LinkedIn: While not very original, LinkedIn is a great place to source writers in a variety of industries. LinkedIn Premium offers more contact opportunities, messaging services, and vetting tools that are not available on the base platform. While the free version of LinkedIn is worth using, you won’t have as much functionality without paying the price.
  • Upwork: Finding quick, generalized marketing writers is very straightforward on a platform like Upwork. Keep in mind that this platform is known for charging steep fees. In addition, these writers are not always the best source of technical content.
  • Draft.dev: The team at Draft.dev vets technical marketing writers for software engineers, startups, and other technical niches. These writers have deep expertise in their industry, which results in quality content other writers simply can’t produce.

If all else fails, creating job postings on sites like Indeed or Monster may be enough to garner some highly qualified applications. Remember that larger platforms lead to more applications. You’ll need to spend more time reviewing each one, and it’s likely that not all will be qualified or relevant for the role.

The Hiring Process

Once you’ve found the right candidates, you’ll need to carefully vet each one to look for a fit. If you don’t have room in your budget for multiple writers, you’ll want to pick one with the right skills and flexibility for the job.

  • Reach out to your leads about the possibility of an interview. Not only will this give you a sense of them as a person, but it will give you a chance to explain your business as well. Freelancers still need to be team players, and if they aren’t willing to meet via audio or video call, they might not be what you’re looking for.
  • Start the relationship off with a paid trial article or task. You don’t need to offer full price on this starter piece, but it helps clear the air between you and your candidate. It also familiarizes them with the ‘trees’ in your ‘content marketing forest.
  • Just like your job posting, be clear about your expectations. Ask them about their timeline on deliverables, revisions, and other responsibilities. If they can’t commit to the timeframe you need right now, not hiring them will save many headaches in the future.
  • Ask your candidate directly about their preferences. How do they work best? Weekly check-ins, content reviews, or monthly discussions are all great ways to keep on track.
  • Freelance writers often set their own rates. Be prepared to negotiate if their costs are outside your current scope. If your favorite freelancer’s rate is higher than expected, ask yourself if you would be willing to up the budget.

The marketing writer you choose will either make or break your content strategy. Be sure to spend the time upfront to find the best possible match.

Where To Go From Here

Marketing writers can kickstart your business into high gear. By composing emails, social media copy, advertisements, or sales pages, these writers demonstrate your business’ expertise.

Your needs will dictate whether a freelance or in-house team member is right for you. Onboarding the right person from the right place will take time, but work wonders down the road. If your hiring process is fine-tuned accordingly, you can start creating marketing content within weeks.

If neither in-house writers nor freelance marketing writers are right for you, retaining an agency could be a good fit. Agencies make a great alternative for companies that have the budget and want the additional capacity that agencies provide over an individual freelancer. Draft.dev sources writers with deep expertise in their industry, vetted and reviewed to create technical content such as tutorials, blog posts, lead magnets, and more. Book a call to find out what we can do for you.

Meagan Shelley

By Meagan Shelley

Meagan is a professional writer in VA that specializes in content marketing, research, and SEO. If she's not helping people craft their own stories, she's working on some of her own. When she takes time to step away from the laptop, she enjoys hiking, farmer's markets, and occasional thru-hikes.