If you’ve ever been charged with hiring a freelance writer for a company project, you know that it’s not as easy as it sounds. Keeping in mind that budgets, assignments and deadlines vary widely, here are six things to look for when hiring the right writer:
1. Rave Reviews. Much like you might do when selecting a restaurant, hotel, movie, or vacation destination ask your friends and co-workers for suggestions and recommendations. Chances are, if they had great success, you will too. If for nothing else, it’s a solid place to start your search.
2. Experience. Look for a writer with proven experience. Ask to see samples that demonstrate the writer’s ability to tackle a wide variety of projects – from newsletter stories to brochures and advertisements, to scripts, website copy, blog posts, technical documentation and more. While sample types will differ from person to person, the idea is to look for someone who can write almost anything – and do it well.
3. Creativity. There’s more than one way to skin a cat – or so they say! The same holds true for writing assignments. Not all newsletters and company profiles are created equally. It’s a writer’s ability to capture and then deliver a company’s message in a way that’s uniquely creative that makes the difference. Look for someone with the ability to make even the driest of topics both interesting and fun.
4. An Independent Worker. Critical to the success of any project is a kick-off session. Done in person, over the phone, or electronically this is the time when clients provide clear direction and communicate expectations, and writers ask any and all questions necessary to hit the ground running. After that, a freelance writer should be able to work independently, providing client updates on an agreed-upon schedule.
5. Resourcefulness. There are few assignments that are delivered on a silver platter — complete with all the information necessary to begin writing. More often than not, they involve multiple interviews, a great deal of research and fact-checking, which requires a resourceful writer who knows how and where to find the right information. If interviews are needed, be sure to hire a person who is comfortable planning for and conducting them. Above all, make sure you select a true professional – someone you trust to interact with company management and outside experts.
6. Sense of Humor. It’s not absolutely necessary, but certainly helps! Try and build a good rapport with your writer. Find someone that’s both talented and fun. Generally, a good working relationship leads to great work.
Which of these do you feel is most important? What else do you look for?