Freelance Writers: How to Evaluate Them

Freelance Writers: How to Evaluate Them

You already know the gig economy is booming. That’s why you’re confident you can hire freelance writers to outsource your content needs.

But you’ve heard the horror stories.

The times people dove into the depths of freelance writer marketplaces only to find low-quality work — the kind no one would read if you published it.

How do you avoid that kind of disaster? First, you find a platform you can trust. Then, you master the art of evaluating content writers (before spending any money).

There are 5 things you can use on the nDash platform to do just that.

Checking a Freelancer’s nDash Status

We know we’re facing an uphill battle when it comes to building trust.

People have been burned by content mills in the past. They’re skeptical that trying a different freelance writer marketplace would be any different.

evaluating freelance writers ndash status
From Dawn Kuczwara’s profile on nDash

That’s why we spend so much time pre-vetting writers for our platform.

The diamond next to a writer’s name on nDash matters.

It means that we’ve taken the time to make sure you can trust the writer’s profile. They are who they say they are. They really wrote the samples listed. And they’re able to write about the topics they mention.

This isn’t a guarantee that the writer is a perfect fit for every single client. (There’s no such thing.)

Rather, it’s a way to eliminate a few steps of the content writer evaluation process. Focus on finding the right freelancers for your specific project instead of worrying about whether you can even trust the profile in the first place.

Evaluating a Content Writer’s Bio 

The introductory bio might be the most underrated part of evaluating content writers.

When you decide to work with a freelance writer, you aren’t just shooting over a few lines about a blog post idea and hoping for the best.

If you want to get their best work, you need a more collaborative relationship. The combination of the writer’s bio and highlighted topic specialties can give you an idea of what that relationship will look like.

evaluate content writers ndash profile bio
From Patti Podnar’s profile on nDash

Pay close attention to the tone of a writer’s bio. If you’re looking for buttoned-up, ultra-professional work, it might not make sense to choose a writer whose bio is casual and humorous.

This isn’t a perfect approach, though.

Freelance writers are experts at adapting to brand voice and style guidelines. Just because the bio is written casually doesn’t mean they can’t write in a more buttoned-up tone.

However, the bio is a great filter for anyone that’s skeptical after being burned by bad assignments in the past. If you like the tone of the writer’s bio, their background sounds appealing, and their topic specialties match, you’ll have a solid candidate for your shortlist of freelancers to work with.

Freelance Writers: What to Look for in Their Samples

Okay, you’ve narrowed your search a bit. You found some vetted writers on the platform, and you like what you’re seeing in their bios.

Now you have to get more tactical. Can the writer execute your specific project well?

This is when you start sifting through writing samples.

assess freelance writer ndash writing samples
From Elijah Masek-Kelly’s profile on nDash

Writing samples shouldn’t just be tools to verify that a freelancer can string sentences together. You need to dig in and use those samples to truly understand if a writer will be a good fit.

What should you look for? A few things.

Writing Style

You don’t just need a great writer. You need a great writer for your brand. Samples will naturally reflect the brand voice and style that published them. However, writing voices don’t change between projects as much as people think.

If you consistently dislike the style of a writer’s samples, it’s probably best to look for a different option. Do they write in long sentences, where you prefer choppy copy? Do they insert em dashes every other paragraph, whereas you hate em dashes? Does their style not feel bold enough for your brand?

Technical Knowledge

One thing we hear the most from nDash customers: “do you have writers that are technical enough for our content?” If you’ve struggled with content mills, you know it can be tough to find writers that know enough about your technical topics to get the job done.

Samples are the best way to see if a writer can turn technical concepts into engaging blog posts. Need something specific? Ask the writer directly if you feel they’re a good fit.

Point of View

Whether it’s a byline or a ghostwritten article, every piece of content should have a point of view. Does the writer effectively present an opinion or viewpoint and make the case for it? Or is it a generic piece of writing that you could find on any website?

There’s a lot of grey area between these two points, and the samples will help you understand if the writer can create content that stands out for your brand.

Reviewing Writer Recommendations

Recommendations are inherently biased. You aren’t going to see a writer willingly post bad feedback on their profile. Understandably so.

But just because they’re biased doesn’t mean they’re useless. You just need to evaluate them based on relevance to your own content needs.

find recommendations ndash
From Paul Dughi’s profile on nDash

Maybe you’ve struggled with writer communication in the past and want someone you can trust will get the job done on time. Look for recommendations that reflect that.

Or, maybe you need someone who’s going to take initiative and create a piece of content that doesn’t just blend into the competition. In the example above, the writer is recommended as a strong researcher. That could help meet your needs.

As you look through recommendations, you don’t just have to take them at face value. Dig deeper. Check to see if the brands mentioned in the recommendations are similar to yours. Do they write about similar topics? You could do a quick scroll through the company’s blog to see if they publish the kind of content you’re hoping to create.

All of this will provide much-needed context to your writer search. Instead of just choosing a writer because someone called them “dependable” in one recommendation, you’ll have a collection of social proof to verify your decision to work with them.

Freelance Writers: Taking Their Rates Seriously 

We try to make the freelance writer/brand relationship as transparent as possible.

That’s why writers are able to set their own rates and negotiate with brands as necessary.

What does that mean for you?

It means that not every writer is going to fit your budget. But this won’t come down to guesswork.

review freelance writers rates ndash

Every nDash writer profile has a section that looks like this. If you’re on a strict budget for content, it will likely be your first filter.

But we see this all the time. A self-serve customer finds a writer that checks all the boxes—it’s just the price points that don’t match.

What do you do? There’s no harm in reaching out to the writer and seeing if they might be open to a lower price.

However, writers set their rates with purpose. Don’t be surprised when that “starting at” rate holds true.

When you don’t have flexibility in your budget, be sure to take the rates seriously and find someone that’s a match for your situation. That way, you spend less time communicating with the wrong freelancers and more time completing assignments.

Ready to Hire Freelance Writers?

Carefully evaluating these five points of any nDash writer profile will help you avoid the kind of disaster you might have experienced with freelancers in the past.

But we strive to make it even easier. Our goal is to help you build the perfect writing team for your specific content needs—no matter the scale or level of complexity.

We have a team that knows the nDash freelancer community inside and out, ready to match you with the right content writers within your budget. Just start an assignment as a Staff Pick, and we’ll get to work finding your writer.

Create your brand profile now and start evaluating content writers for your brand.