According to the Content Marketing Institute, 61% of marketers are planning to increase their use of written digital content, which means producing articles, ebooks, blogs, white papers, and anything else you may need to promote your business, generate and nurture leads, and build brand awareness.
Where is all that content going to come from? If you already have an in-house team of writers, that’s great! But if you find yourself running short on writing resources, look into hiring a freelance writer.
What Is a Freelance Writer?
A freelance writer is an individual who writes or produces written content who is not an employee of your company. Most freelancers perform project-based work and charge by the project, the hour, or the word.
In other words, a freelancer is a contractor. As a reminder, the IRS differentiates contractors from employees for tax withholding purposes. When you hire a freelance writer, you are getting a contractor as long as you don’t dictate too much about how the job gets done.
- Don’t micromanage when or where the writer works or dictate the tools to use.
- Don’t provide too much instruction for achieving the project.
- Don’t measure “how” the work was done.
In other words, don’t treat the contractor too much like an employee. The IRS gets a little torqued about misclassifying workers.
The Benefits of Hiring a Freelancer
Hiring freelance writers provides several benefits.
- A flexible workforce
- No need to provide fringe benefits
- Long-term freelancers get to know your business almost as well as you do
An experienced freelance writer often has experience in multiple industries with a deep well of knowledge about one or two. Depending on the business you’re in, you can find someone who can hit the ground running with very little in the way of onboarding.
Retaining Talented Freelancers
Once you find someone who understands your business and consistently provides content that is true to your brand, correct in all its details, and converts leads, hang onto that person.
Just like you lose historical knowledge whenever an employee leaves, allowing a freelance who is doing a great job for you to disappear back into the pool would be a shame.
If you found someone you would like to use long-term, set up a retainer. Many freelancers already provide retainer services. It’s a great way for both sides to control monthly cashflow. You don’t need to look for someone new every time you have a content project. With a retainer, you receive priority attention from the writer, so you don’t need to be scheduled into a larger pile of work.
Paying a Freelancer
You get what you pay for. The freelancer is doing this for a living, just like your employees who work for you day in and day out. If you want top-notch work, be willing to pay for it.
Sure, you could put those assignments into a content mill website and get a writer for a couple of pennies per word, but you have little control over the quality until you have tried out a few. You may get lucky and find someone who does a great job for cheap, but don’t be surprised if your chosen writers leave the service to make more on their own.
Besides losing cheap labor that is good quickly, hiring writers charging such low rates often indicates a beginning writer or one doesn’t write well. Either way, you could end up paying more than you expect if you pay a cheap writer $20 for a brief post and then spend several hours editing it and making it ready for publication.
Isn’t your brand worth more to you than that?
Obviously, you know how much you can afford to pay. But here is a glance at the appropriate payment for an experienced freelance writer.
- Hourly rates – $50 to $100 per hour. If you need specific technical expertise, prepare to pay at least $100 or more.
- Per-word rates – $0.10 to $0.40 per word for general marketing content. For print and specialized content, plan to pay $0.50 to $1.00 per word.
- Project rates – typically based on a loose hourly rate, project rates are appropriate if you have a defined set of work to do. It can also include other tasks than writing, such as posting to your content management system or sourcing images.
One sign of an experienced writer is the experience to quote a reasonable rate and an estimate of time and cost.
A good freelancer provides value to your business without the hassle of employee administration. Just order your content and pay the invoice. At the end of the year, you can send a Form 1099-MISC to each writer for their taxes. They will love you for that!
As you brainstorm content ideas or if you have a large content project coming down the pike, consider hiring a freelance writer. In the long run, you will save money and receive quality work. You can also gain a long-term partner who can help you generate leads and expand your business.