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How to Find a Technical Writer for Hire

In the past four years at Draft.dev, we’ve written over 3,800 technical blog posts and worked with over 300 technical writers. In the meantime, we’ve reviewed thousands of applications from technical writers and reached out to hundreds of others to help us create content for our clients.

Needless to say, we understand technical content at scale, and one of the most fundamental parts of our process is finding great technical writers for hire.

Now, most companies that want to start a technical blog just need a few writers to create a steady stream of content, but if you aren’t familiar with this process, it’s easier said than done. Very few software developers have the capacity and desire to write, and non-technical writers won’t be able to speak with the authenticity required when marketing to developers.

In this post, I’ll share our exact process for finding technical writers for hire at Draft.dev. It takes preparation and time but, hopefully, the insights here will help you find the right technical writer faster.

Note: If you get stuck looking for technical writers, set up a call. We’d be happy to help troubleshoot your issues or answer questions about how we work with clients.

How Not to Hire a Technical Writer

For the first three months, I wrote all the content for Draft.dev myself. As our client base grew, I knew I’d have to start bringing in other writers, but I had no idea where to find them.

So, I started by reaching out to people I had worked with in the past. This got us a couple of writers, but I quickly realized that I didn’t know that many software engineers who also wanted to write blog posts.

The next avenue I tried was Upwork. I’ve had fairly good results hiring other types of freelancers on Upwork, but I just couldn’t find writers who were technical enough on the platform. Our clients run into the same problem with various other gig economy-style services. While they might work great for some roles, the best technical bloggers just aren’t hanging out on Upwork to find work.

Another option that many of our clients have tried is asking their in-house engineers to write. While this can work, it’s really hard to get engineering time reserved for writing blog posts. You’re not likely to get consistent output unless you make technical writing a core part of someone’s job, but that’s usually quite a bit more expensive than hiring freelancers.

How We Find Technical Writers for Hire

Because we’ve been building a writer pool for over four years, we get hundreds of new applications organically every month. That said, in the early days, we did much more targeted outreach, so we were able to establish a repeatable process for bringing on new technical writers for hire.

Here’s how our process works, so you can adapt it to find your own freelance technical writing team:

1. Know What You Are Looking For

Many content managers lean too heavily on writers to pitch them topics for blog posts. This might work for huge companies with the domain authority to rank for nearly everything, but it’s not very strategic.

Instead, talk to customers, do keyword research, and create detailed briefs and outlines for each article before you start looking for a writer. This ensures that you can give your technical writer clear expectations from the moment they start working with you. Once they’ve proven themselves and understand more about your company, let them pitch ideas as well.

Next, use a hiring rubric for your technical writers. This sets clear standards and helps you objectively compare writers, rather than simply relying on gut feelings.

Hiring rubric for technical writers

Some writers are good at tutorials, others at high-level guides; some technical writers can create sample applications, others cannot. By setting clear expectations up front, you can avoid reaching out to writers who don’t have the skills or experience you need.

2. Search Dev.to, Medium, and GitHub

Once you know what you’re looking for, use Medium, Dev.to and Google searches to look for technical bloggers who are already writing about similar topics. Ideally, you’ll find a few who are strong writers, interested in the topics you need to cover, and have written about them in the past year.

If your product is open source, you can also look through your GitHub stargazers, watchers, or contributors. There’s a chance that a few have blogs linked from their GitHub profiles, so you can see what their writing is like before you reach out.

Add each writer who might be a good fit to your list and look for their contact information. I prefer to reach out only to writers who list an email address publicly, but tools like Clearbit, Hunter, and People Data Labs can all help you find contact information for just about anyone on the basis of very limited information.

3. Reach Out to Each Technical Writer

Armed with a list of potential writers and their contact information, you’re ready to start reaching out. Individualize each email, showing them that you read their work. Be genuine but complimentary.

Finally, be straightforward with your offer. Developers aren’t necessarily jazzed about cold email outreach, but we get a pretty good response rate by not being pushy. We also get straight to the point and respond quickly if they reply.

Here’s an email that got a reply recently:

Hey , I ran across your piece on <ARTICLE TOPIC> and had to reach out. You're a really solid writer, so I just wanted to see if you'd be interested in writing technical blog posts for pay? I'm a former CTO now running a technical writing company called Draft.dev. We send out a list of writing opportunities to developers on our list each week so I wanted to see if this might be something you’d want to try. Let me know what you think and keep up the good work!

I typically see a 5-20% response rate depending on how focused my outreach is and the topics we’re looking to find writers for.

4. Understand What Motivates Technical Writers

If you’re hoping to recruit experienced software engineers like we are, it’s really important to understand what motivates them.

For many—especially those with full-time jobs—money is not the biggest motivator. Sure, we pay our writers well, but most of them make more per hour at their day job.

What we can offer is a byline, editorial feedback, and wider distribution than most will get on their personal blog. Plus, the commitment is very casual—many of our writers just write once per month—which can be nice for generating some side income. All these things make writing for Draft.dev a rewarding experience for the right people.

PS: If you’re interested in becoming one of Draft.dev’s technical writers, apply here.

5. Build Inbound Interest

Finally, if you want to increase the amount of technical content you produce, you’ll eventually need to build inbound interest from writers. Here are a few ways to build awareness of your technical writing program and find more writers for hire:

  • Daniel Phiri and I maintain a list of community writing programs that you can add your site to for free
  • You can set up a writer referral program to incentivize writers to recruit their friends
  • Add a call-to-action on each of your blog posts under the writer’s byline
  • Attend meetups for developers and mention that you hire technical writers
  • Create technical writer-focused content on your engineering blog
  • Place ads in newsletters aimed at software developers

All these channels work, but depending on the volume of content you need, they may not be necessary. Many new technical content programs just need one or two freelance writers to get things started.

Paying Freelance Technical Writers

When I first started paying technical writers, I had no idea how tricky it could be. I assumed Paypal would be fine, but quickly realized that they don’t service many countries and that they impose large fees on writers.

So, before you start hiring freelance technical writers, consider the following challenges:

  • Currency exchanges for international writers
  • Compliance steps for freelance status based on location (think of California and their AB5 bill)
  • International taxes or laws preventing certain payment methods
  • Identity theft or fraud (especially if sending physical checks)

It’s also important to do some research to ensure you’re aware of legal requirements inside and outside of the United States. Let’s take a closer look at how you can start paying your writers and some of the tradeoffs to each method.


ACH is a digital network for low-value direct payment processing

Short for “automated clearing house,” ACH is a digital network for low-value direct payment processing. This program uses qualified banks and accounts to support both credit transfers and direct debits, making it easy to deposit money for your freelancer’s completed work.

ACH is a fully automatic payment system, meaning that it completely removes the need to manually handle deposits for individual invoices. This makes it an amazing option for businesses that plan on hiring multiple freelance writers. What’s more, it’s a much safer and more streamlined process than wire transfers, keeping better records of your money over time.


  • Low cost: Unlike Upwork, ACH transfers are extremely cost-effective. The vast majority of ACH transactions do not have processing fees or large costs associated with labor.
  • Speedy deposits: Some payment systems take several weeks to successfully transfer funds from one account to the next. ACH deposits take roughly one or two days to process, and are sometimes even accessible on the same day.


  • Location locked: ACH only works for US-based freelancers. If you are looking to hire a freelance technical writer living outside of the US, this system is simply not going to work for you.
  • Overdrafting: Because ACH transfers are completely hands-free, they can sometimes lead to overdrafts of accounts, miscommunication, and general concerns about billing. Other billing errors could force you to accumulate fees, or accidentally keep paying for services you are no longer receiving.

Wire Transfer

Wire transfers continue to be one of the most used payment systems for international billing. There are many reasons why they remain popular for technical writers, including ease of access and flat-out convenience. Unfortunately, wire transfers are also used in more nefarious transactions, including scams (remember the Nigerian Prince?). It’s best to know exactly where your money is going while using a wire transfer — or have a lot of good faith in the recipient.


  • Works internationally: Wire transfers allow you to send funds to anyone in any location. If you are planning on hiring a freelance technical writer anywhere outside of the US, you can easily bypass ACH limitations with a simple wire transfer.
  • Online convenience: Funds can be wired from your bank, grocery store, or even your home office. Chances are you won’t take more than a few minutes to get the job done.


  • Costs: Wire funds can quickly rack up additional costs, including transfers, international outbound, and domestic fees. These costs grow heftier the further away you plan to transfer money.
  • Legal issues: Unlike other types of freelancer payments, wire transfers won’t handle any legal or withholding concerns for you. This is up to your team to handle separately. What’s more, wire transfers are nonreversible. If something goes wrong, you’re on your own.


PayPal offers an easy interface and rapid transfers

Lots of freelance technical writers prefer getting their payments via PayPal thanks to an easy interface and rapid transfers. While the convenience is tempting, it might not be the best option for your team or current freelancer relationship.


  • Easy to use: It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out how PayPal works. Even if you do get a little tripped up, the company offers plenty of helpful content on how to send and receive funds.
  • Fast setup: Invoicing and payment plans are free to set up using an email and phone number, resulting in almost no paperwork or red tape.


  • Business account fees: PayPal isn’t completely free, though. Business accounts are charged a whopping 2.9% to receive money and transfers, as well as business invoices.
  • Account suspension: PayPal has full authority to suspend your account for any reason at any time. All funds in your account may be frozen for an undetermined number of days, and it can be frustrating trying to contact support.


Plane.com is great for paying freelancers

Finally, we use Plane at Draft.dev. Not only does it make paying freelancers around the world (we pay writers in 56 countries now) easy for employers, they don’t charge freelancers and make currency conversion seemless. Plane also handles compliance and legal concerns by giving you country-specific contracts and collecting W8/W9s from your freelancers.


  • Works in any country: We’ve paid writers all over the world, so as long as it’s legal to pay people in that country, Plane should support it.
  • Compliance and legal documents: In addition to letting you run payroll, Plane collects legal documents like contracts and tax forms.
  • Customer support: If anything goes wrong or a payment ever goes missing, Plane’s support is quick to respond and help out. This saves a ton of time when you’re paying lots of people every month.


  • Employer fees: While freelancers don’t pay to use Plane, the employer does pay a monthly fee per contractor or employee. For international contractors, this is currently $39 per month.

Drawbacks to Hiring Your Own Technical Writers

Now, even if you find a few great technical writers for hire, you still have a lot of work to do. You have to plan your topics, create due dates, and track each article as it’s assigned. You will also need to hire or work with an editor and technical reviewer.

While writing samples will help you avoid really bad technical writers, every article will need at least a light round of editing. You also have to watch out for plagiarism, AI-generated content, and the misuse of copyrighted images, as well as assess the technical quality of their work.

If you’re trying to find a technical writer for hire but you’re feeling stuck, reach out to us. With over 300 active writers at Draft.dev, we’re able to cover a wide range of technical topics for tutorials, blog posts, ebooks, and more. We can provide consistently high-quality content that is professionally edited and technically sound without the management overhead required to assemble your own team of freelancers.

Karl Hughes

By Karl Hughes

Karl is a former startup CTO and the founder of Draft.dev. He writes about technical blogging and content management.