3 Questions to Ask Before You Hire a Writer

Looking to hire a writer for your health and wellness website? I have some advice.

You have come to the realization you need some help with content creation for your website. Your blog has been dormant for months, website visits are down, and product sales have been a little stagnant. 

Or maybe writing blog posts is just not your idea of a good time and you are totally lacking fresh ideas. 

You have decided to hire a writer to help. But, how do you hire a professional writer? How do you determine who is qualified? 

You could post a job listing on one of the many freelance job boards, but then you have to sort through hundreds of possible applicants. Hiring a freelancer via a job board might be a total waste of time because many are not really qualified. 

All you want is a good writer to improve your website’s SEO and help your customers get to know you better. How do you find that person? 

How to Hire a Freelance Writer

how to hire a writer

The first step to finding a content writer that works with your business is to start a list of potential writers you want to research. Consider asking a friend for a referral or doing a simple Google search of “your industry writer”. This should give you a few different options to evaluate. 

Start by checking the writer’s website to get a feel for their content. A good writer will have a strong portfolio page with samples of previous work. Read through a few of the samples they provide to get an idea of their writing style.

If you like what you see, reach out. Most writers have a sales process and are happy to hop on a call to answer any questions you have about their services.

How to Interview a Freelance Writer

There are many questions you may want to ask your writer once you get on the phone, but I recommend you do a little bit of prep work ahead of time. Here are a few questions you should ask yourself before hopping on the call:

  • What type of content are you looking for? Writers focus on different types of writing. Do you want sales-focused conversion copywriting? Blog posts? Marketing materials, like white papers? The more specific you can be on the call, the easier it will be for both of you.
  • How involved should the writer be? Do you want a writer who understands your business, helps with marketing plans, and becomes part of your team? Or do you just want someone to write, with little involvement?
  • What is your budget? Although writers charge differently, have a general idea of your budget. You can check out this survey by Clear Voice to get an idea for rates and how they correlate with the writer’s experience level. I will say when it comes to freelance writing you get what you pay for.

Interview Questions for a Freelance Writer

Once you get the writer on the phone. Here are some questions to ask a potential candidate to see if they will be a good fit for you and your needs. Here are a few you should consider:

What is your previous experience in writing for my particular type of business?

Ideally, the freelancer should have some degree of demonstrated writing experience. Maybe it’s a personal blog they have been maintaining regularly with a decent following. Or maybe they have previously been published on similar websites. They should be able to provide multiple writing samples, as well as references from people they have previously written for.

For me, one of my first writing clients was an up and coming supplement company. At the time, I honestly didn’t know much about the supplement industry. I also was new to writing. 

Luckily, they took a chance on me as a writer and nutrition consultant. I learned so much from them on how to start a vitamin business from the ground up. This experience is something I have been able to translate to many other clients in the vitamin and supplement industry since then.

Additionally, since the field of nutrition is so vast, dietitians and other nutrition professionals tend to specialize in a particular area. Some are specialists in sports nutrition, while others focus on diabetes or weight management. Be sure to ask what they consider their specific expertise before you hire a nutrition writer to see if there is a match between your goals and theirs.

What is your turnaround time on articles and projects?

Most good freelance writers are juggling multiple projects at once. Therefore, it’s important to get a clear timeline based on how long each article or assignment will take. I would recommend doing a small  (paid) “trial” article at first, to see how well you work together and if the writer is able to meet the agreed upon deadline. This way there is no major time or investment lost if it isn’t a good fit.

On the other hand, it’s important to be realistic about your expectations. I have had potential clients reach out to me who expect a 24-hour turn around on projects. This is an unrealistic expectation and quality work takes time. If you need a quick turnaround time, consider hiring a full time writer for your team.

What is your revision process?

Most professional writers, especially when working with a new client, are used to doing revisions. It’s hard to get everything 100% correct when you are just getting to know each other.  Writers are not also mind-readers.

But, if they have been writing for a while, they should mention ahead of time the number of revisions they are willing to do. I find that 2-3 revisions is usually fair. This forces you (the client) to really take the time to check out the work and provide feedback. 

Also, the revisions and feedback should be completed in a timely manner. All of this needs to be agreed upon ahead of time.

Hiring a Great Writer

Once you have the answers to your questions, and you have selected your writer, always work with a contract. This protects the writer and the client and spells out all the details of the project. Be sure to include due dates, payment timelines, and any other important details to ensure a successful project. 

Then get to writing!

I hope these quick tips helped in understanding the steps to hire a writer for your blog, website, or business. 

Want more info on working with me and my team of expert RD writers? Contact me here to discuss any of your nutrition writing needs!