It is hard to distinguish yourself in a world that prioritizes digital messaging. Creating unique and curated content is one of the best ways to engage with your audience and stand out. How can you consistently produce exceptional content? The answer lies in building a high-quality content team that includes freelance writers and guest contributors.
With an increased demand of 55.2% in Q3 of 2022 for blog writing, writers are leaving or supplementing their traditional publications to fill this need. But the question begs, how can I find someone who fits my brand well?
This piece will explore the art (and science) of assembling a well-vetted and effective freelance content team. We’ll also get down to the nitty-gritty of these talented individuals and how they are pivotal in elevating your content creation and marketing efforts, from industry experts and fresh perspectives to increased efficiency and scalability.
Let’s dive right in!
Benefits of Working with Freelance Writers and Guest Contributors
Before vetting your team, it’s important to understand why and where employing freelance writers makes the most sense.
Partnering with freelance writers and guest contributors can offer a myriad of benefits. These talented individuals bring unique skills, perspectives, and expertise to the table, which enriches your content and helps you target a more engaged audience. Check out the following benefits:
- Diverse Expertise: It’s no secret that your in-house team can’t do everything, primarily if you’re not focused on content curation. Freelance writers and guest posters know this and can transform it meaningfully for your audience.
- Flexibility and Scalability: Let’s face it, it’s not always feasible to build out a fully autonomous in-house team, or one at all. Freelance writers offer the flexibility of doing great work and can work around your schedule. Perhaps you only need content at certain times of the month or to complete one large project. Freelancers and guest posters offer that nuance and availability.
- Fresh Perspectives: In certain industries, and throughout some time passing, it can be difficult to understand if your content is still meaningful. After all, staring at your pages and wondering what you can do better with an industry bias can lower effectiveness. Freelance writers, especially those who have worked on various projects, can tell immediately. Maybe it was your content, after all, or maybe it was a different tone altogether.
- Time and Cost Efficiency: When building an in-house team, someone has to train them. Whether you need a freelance writer to supplement your existing team, fill a role, or even train an entire department, it can benefit your content, time, and bottom line.
Let’s look at some industries that commonly rely on their expertise and support.
Popular Freelance Writing Niche Support: Are We On the List?
Experienced freelance writers and guest posters can properly support and complement your in-house teams. Although this list is not exhaustive, you may require additional or technical support in the following industries:
- B2B Technology: Selling to businesses is already difficult, as they must often be convinced of your services. Throwing digital tools and technology into the mix complicates this objective. Freelance writers with a technical background can bridge the gap between intricate technology and a target audience hungry for understanding.
- Marketing: Content, content, and more content. With content marketing costing 62% less and generating 3x as many leads, in-house teams, and marketing agencies increasingly demand better, more optimized content.
- Finance: Although this niche can be divided into many segments, two primary things tie it all together – highly-regulated and technical knowledge. Freelance writers that have worked (and written) about the industry can help you navigate these intricacies, often for less than the cost of training your entire team on content and compliance.
- Health & Wellness: An evergreen niche that constantly evolved. Health and wellness develop with every new study and found. Freelance writers can help this industry by engaging with the audience in a proper tone and being aware of industry trends and developments.
- Education: Although education is often considered archaic, it has increasingly shifted to encompass many digital methods and tools for teachers, tutors, coaches, and mentors. This new demand for education and EdTech content has created a need for effective freelance writers.
The Importance of Freelance Vetting
Proper vetting ensures you collaborate with talented professionals who align with your brand’s voice, standards, and goals. By investing time and effort into the vetting process, you can find writers who consistently deliver exceptional content.
Vetting allows you to maintain quality control over your content. It ensures that the writers you bring possess the necessary skills, knowledge, and experience to meet your standards and produce engaging and well-crafted content.
Each brand has its own unique identity and messaging style. By thoroughly vetting freelance writers and guest contributors, you can find individuals who understand and align with your brand’s voice, values, and target audience. This alignment is crucial to maintain consistency and authenticity across your content creation strategy.
What Criteria Should We Assess?
It’s tempting to dive right into a writer’s portfolio and writing style, but there are a few things to consider before asking for samples of their work. For example, if you need technical writers aware of regulations, guidelines, and specialized knowledge – it may be more beneficial to know about their industry experience before their writing style. When reading their portfolio, look for clarity. Most writers with native proficiency and experience will have little to no grammar or syntax errors.
Content creation often requires thorough research, so evaluating their ability to gather accurate information from credible sources is important. Adherence to deadlines is crucial in the world of content creation. Ensure the writers you choose can consistently meet deadlines and manage their time effectively. Timely delivery is essential for maintaining a smooth content production process.
Methods for Assessing Writing Skills and Experience
Depending on your familiarity with the writer and unique situation, there are many ways to approach this. Some of these methods are redundant if the writer has personal or professional relationships with your team. Assuming you are starting from scratch, let’s explore the best methods:
Requesting writing samples is a common and reliable method for evaluating a writer’s skills. Ask for samples demonstrating their ability to write in different styles, tones, and formats relevant to your content needs. Reviewing these samples allows you to assess their writing quality, clarity, and proficiency.
A writer’s portfolio provides a comprehensive view of their past work. The portfolio itself can already be an indicator of its quality. For example, if they are dumping all of their work into an unorganized file, it can be a bad sign. A good writer will have 2-5 samples per niche or industry so you can gauge both their writing style and breadth of topics.
Writing Assessments and Trials
Like many other businesses, writers are often open to a trial assignment if you are still unsure of their work. You can negotiate a reduced rate with a promise to pay their asking rate if the content is engaging and has the effect on your readers that you desired over the long term.
Although this is innate, especially when looking for a service solution, don’t forget to ask for references directly from your network or the writer. If this writer doesn’t have an existing relationship with anyone in your circle, ask them for past references from their clients or freelance networks that they are part of. A freelance or guest poster with a community behind them will usually translate into a better fit for your brand.
Interviews and Conversations
Not sold on their portfolio or emails alone? Interview them! Especially if you are considering a long-term partnership, freelance writers and guest posters are no strangers to video or in-person meetings. Ask them about their writing passion, industry experience, and samples.
Finding and Vetting Freelance Writers: Best Places
Now that you understand the benefits of a great writer and know how to evaluate one, the question remains, “Where do I find them”? Below are some of the most effective places to achieve this:
- Freelance Platforms and Job Boards: Look through general and specific job boards for writers. If you are already using a hiring solution, you can post that you are hiring. Freelance platforms also let you select someone who can fit your team through filters and ratings.
- Ask for Referrals: Word-of-mouth is one of the most effective ways to demonstrate quality. If someone in your circle with a relevant niche has a great experience with a writer – chances are you may as well. Keep in mind that the industry is large, and there are a multitude of specializations.
- Message Blogs Within Your Niche: Creating Content within a Niche? Chances are, you have competitors. Turn your competitors into your allies by asking exploring guest-posting options. Many blogs invite other writers to develop content ideas and post directly on your page. This benefits you by getting professional content and benefits the writer with headline exposure in addition to your negotiated contract.
- Content Creation Networks: Content creation networks like nDash connect brands with a community of skilled freelance writers and guest contributors. The platform stands out by offering a unique approach to the vetting process. Each writer in the community has a detailed profile showcasing their expertise, writing samples, and client testimonials. This allows brands to review easily and vet writers based on their specific requirements more thoroughly than a job board or freelance site.
Wrapping it up: Vetting Elite Freelance Writers and Guest Contributors
Building a high-quality content team involves finding and vetting freelance writers and guest contributors who can contribute to your content creation efforts. Assessing their expertise, writing skills, research abilities, and adherence to deadlines are key factors in the vetting process.
There are various methods available for finding freelance writers, including freelance platforms, job boards, and seeking referrals. However, platforms like nDash offer a unique approach to the vetting process. With nDash’s community of writers, brands can access detailed writer profiles showcasing expertise, writing samples, and client testimonials. Vetting is timely and costly, and services like nDash’s managed platform can let you focus on what you do best: run your business.
About the Author
Mike C is a versatile writer specializing in finance and digital marketing content. Check out his nDash writing profile to learn more about his background can help level up your content strategy: Mike C.