I've worked with hundreds of professionals. Sadly, way too many have nightmare stories about freelance writers they've hired in the past.
Though every case is unique in certain aspects, I've noticed that there are some common themes, common mistakes these entrepreneurs tended to make during the hiring process.
Here are a few to consider so you don't find yourself victim to the same.
1. Not asking for references. If you want to know what it's like to work with a particular freelancer, ask one of their former clients. While it does take some time to actually contact a few of the individuals on the writer's reference list, it is time well spent if it increases the odds that you'll wind up hiring someone who actually abides by your budgets and deadlines. And if the freelancer isn't willing to provide references, this should be a red flag.
2. Not asking for a sample. Most professional writers have links to some of their published works on their website or are at least willing to provide them upon request. Either way, take the time to check out their writing style. The more it resembles what you're looking for, the more likely it is they are a good match for you and your company.
3. Not sharing enough project details. The best way to determine whether a writer is the best person for your project is to share as much detail about the project as you can. This includes providing information about the topic, writing type (such as blog or web content), approximate word count, whether additional research needs to be conducted, if interviews are needed, and the goal of the piece. (It should be noted that a reputable writer should be asking for this type of information, so if they're not, this is a red flag as well.)
4. Not asking about experience specific to your project. Ideally, the freelancer you're interviewing should have experience working within your desired parameters. If not, you run the risk that they won't be able to deliver what they say they can. That said, I have taken projects with no prior experience. But the client was notified of this beforehand and, oftentimes, I gave a discount because of it.
5. Not setting up a milestone-based payment schedule. One way to protect yourself financially when hiring a freelancer you've never worked with before (whether writing or otherwise) is to set up payment on a schedule. Create milestones that must be reached before you pay them, with the final payment made once the project is complete. This helps increase the odds that they'll stick around until the work is done.
6. Not looking for a writer who specializes in their field. In order for your freelancer to write effective content, they need some level of proficiency in your field. If they don't, they will have a harder time coming up with content that resonates with your readers. For instance, I have education and experience in topics related to natural health and wellness, mental health, nutrition and diet, and personal safety and self-defense. Therefore, I can use the appropriate terminology when writing these types of pieces.
7. Not following their gut. Have you ever had contact with someone you're looking to do business with, only to have your gut tell you that something is wrong and you really need to run the other way? Your brain can pick up on the tiniest of cues, even if it can't process them to the point where you can easily decipher them. So, even if your gut is the only thing telling you that the person isn't the writer for you, trust it. Keep interviewing writers until you find someone who is.
Finding the best content writer, ghostwriter, or freelance writer for your project may feel a bit overwhelming, but as long as you don't make these common mistakes, you'll be on the right path!
And if there is a chance that I may be that writer, feel free to reach out. I'd love to learn more about your content needs and together we can decide if I can help you meet them.